How old were you when you started your graduate school program?

  1. I need some advice. I graduated from a university in June 2007. I have been applying to graduate programs for the past six months (i.e. studying for the GREs, taking the GREs, harassing past professors for letters of recommendations, filling out a million and one applications, etc.). I am applying to graduate school because I feel it is the next logical step for me, but as I am filling out these applications, I feel more and more confused about the area of concentration I want to focus on. Should I hold off until I am 100% sure? Also, I am curious as to the age you boys and girls were when you started your graduate programs. I will be 23-years-old. Everyone is telling me I am still young, but I cannot help but feel as if I am getting old.
  2. LOL! I was 33. Finished at 36 You are never too old to better your education.
    I had 65 + year old students in classes with me.
  3. If you're not totally sure what you want to do, it will show in your application. I work as a writing tutor at my school and spend a lot of time with students who are writing their essays and personal statements for grad school, and I can always tell when they think that this is just the "next step." Schools want to take students who are totally in love with their chosen field of study and can demonstrate their passion through their application, and when a student has trepidations, it's clearly noticeable.

    My advice is to take a year or two off, get a job if you can, and return to school when you feel it's right. You might even find a job that will pay for your masters if you're lucky.
  4. If you're not really sure, it will show in your application. BUT it may not matter, depending on the school/program -- ie matters a lot for business school, matters not as much for law school. Do you have strong recommendation? For PhD programs, those are arguably the most important piece in your application.
  5. One of my goals was to get a Master's degree before I turned thirty. I enrolled in the degree program at 28, and I earned my MEd just a couple months shy of my 30th birthday. I always wanted to have a PhD by the time I turn thirty-five, but as I'm already 31 and haven't even started a doctoral program, I don't think I have much of a chance at doing that. Sometimes I think I'm too old to work on a PhD. Being one of those "lifelong students" never appealed to me.

    However, I console myself with the fact that my kid brother will be MY AGE before he finishes law school. I considered going to law school myself, while I was working on my MEd. I think I was 28 or 29 when a classmate (a practicing attorney) pulled me aside after class, told me how eloquently I spoke in class, how intelligent and professional I appeared to be, and how I should think about law school because there are so few black female lawyers. He gave me some brochures and everything. I looked at him and said, "Law school? At my age?" When I told him I was in my late twenties, he said, "I didn't go to law school until I retired from the army. I was thirty seven!" Apparently he was in his early to mid forties when we had our conversation, and he told me that thirty was certainly not too old to go to law school. I'm still considering it, but when I hear my brother talk about his loan debt, I doubt myself. Oh, and I also doubt myself when I realize that I'll be THIRTY FIVE OR THIRTY SIX when I finish.

    I hate to ramble, but as much as I love school and the collegiate atmosphere (this is one of the reasons I desired to work in higher education) I would feel very bad going back to school at my age, even for a PhD, which will take longer for me to earn than a JD, although the JD would be a lot more lucrative. My BF supported me while I earned my Master's degree, and I would feel incredibly guilty going back to school and contributing even less than I do now to the household income while he goes to work every day. When it all comes down to it, I think I need to take my behind to a job every day. And I can't seem to shake this way of thinking. If I worked on my PhD, I could do it and still live where I do now, in the same city and everything, but if I worked on a JD I would have to move. LOL. So now that I think about it, he wouldn't mind if I got my JD, probably, because we're have to split up anyway! He'd be, "Oh, go for it. Yeah, I'll even help you move!"

    If I had started my Master's degree at 23, I could have had it by the time I turned 25! And then I would have JUMPED into getting my doctorate or law degree, because I'd be the age I am now when I finished, approximately 31. Twenty-three is YOUNG in the grand scheme of things. I say go for your advanced/professional's a great time at 23. If you can afford to finance multiple degrees, go to school for what you think you want to do, so that if you decide something else later, you can get a degree for that also. If you only want to finance one degree program, decide what you want to do before you commit yourself to a course of study.

    Good luck!
  6. I was 22. What is most important is not the age, but how you feel. If you are unsure of the direction, maybe you do need to take some time to reflect on yourself and your future. It will become a bit clearer for you over time. Good Luck.
  7. I was 22 when I started my grad program, and now I'm beginning to question whether or not it was the right choice. I had taken a year off between college and grad to work as a dance teacher. I loved every single moment of it and when I went back to school, I felt really empty. Now I'm faced with the question of do I stick it out another 14 months or call it quits?

    My advice is if you have doubts, look into every alternative possible!!!!!! Is there something that you love to do? What's the one thing that gets you out of bed each day? Because I guarantee it won't be the thesis paper waiting to get written. We're both around the same age and although it seems "grown up", we're so young!! We've both got time to figure out life. Don't rush, but also know you can always walk away if it's not right.

    I hope that was somewhat helpful.

  8. I'm 26 and still working on it. I hope to be done by the time I'm 30 :push:
  9. I got a master's degree in epidemiology from 22-24, then went to med school from 24-28, and am finishing a 6 year surgical residency this year (age 34). I will then be doing a 2 year fellowship.

    Yes, it is time to get a "real" job, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices to get what you want. I agree with the previous poster who said that you need to have a good idea of your plans--graduate school can seem nebulous and neverending, so you need to have firm goals for yourself.

    I worked full time+ (3 jobs) for 2 years while getting an M.S. It really helped me to develop the maturity to get through graduate and medical school; I think sometimes people get on a track and just keep going because they haven't been exposed to other options. I also know plenty of people who got a later start than I did. There's always time--don't get discouraged.:smile:
  10. I was 22 when I started. On the positive side, I was in the habit of studying and going to school, since I started my program pretty quickly after I graduated, and I was still young enough to work full time and go to school full time without becoming exhausted. However, in retrospect, I wish I would have taken some time off and really decided what it is I wanted to do. I have never used my master's degree, other than to get ahead in my current job. I don't even work in that field.
  11. good luck with everything.
  12. I will be 30 when I start :noworry: If I choose to take that route...

    23 is definitely not old...
  13. I was 28! A LOT of people recommend taking off a year in between!!!
  14. Thank you for your responses, Vegas Long Legs, heartnaspade, sonya, caxe, Kellybag, eponine03, claireZk, urologist, and lelgin :flowers:.

    I know it is silly to factor my age into these decisions but as I see everyone around me being relatively certain of their life goals, I feel as I am skipping behind them. I should have applied during my last year as an undergraduate, but I kept procrastinating because there were so many options and I did not know which one to choose. I spoke with my professors and they advised me to think about it thoroughly because the area I get my masters in is the area I will be working in for a good part of my life. Now, as my application deadlines are quickly approaching, I am growing weary. I am so confused, but thank you for your inputs. I appreciate them so much.

    P.S. Like you, urologist, I am planning on getting my masters degree in epidemiology :smile:.
  15. I was 29. Took a break, worked for a few years before finally deciding that I loved academia/research and you HAD to have a Ph.D for that.

    I'm glad I took the time to decide. I've seen lots of people go into graduate programs without thinking much about the end result, take out big loans sometimes, and in the process lose time, money and focus.