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Advice for a returning student

by MEStudent
Tags: advice, returning, student
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Dec21-09, 03:34 PM
P: 1

I am seeking advice as I continue my education towards a bacholers degree in Mechanical Engineering. I am a returning student at the "old" age of 26 and since my studies before returning to school were in communications, mostly only electives, humanities, and a few core credits are going towards my ME degree. So I have about 3 1/2 to 4 years left before graduation. It's that long, because as a returning student I haven't actively practiced mathematics for several years, so I am starting with college algebra and taking pre-calc, and pre-chem as well, which are not on the degree's course requirements. It adds time and money, but I want a solid foundation, not just a passing grade.

So, here's my concern and why I posted this here, rather than in the academic section. I am concerned about being 30 when I graduate and being competitive for a job with the younger candidates. I have no applicable job experience, just regular jobs, and in addition I have been a stay-at-home dad for the last couple years, and will probably continue to be for the next year or two. As I approach graduation I plan to take any internships I can to gain valuable experience. So my question is, what things can I do throughout my education, inside or outside of school to make myself a more desireable candidate to employers? And secondly, would it be advised in my situation to continue right through to a masters degree? I suppose some of these concerns may be premature. I'll admit to some of these concerns coming from my first semester back being older than most seniors! However, I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. Sorry for any errors, my toddler picked off half the keys on the keyboard! Thanks everybody!

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Andy Resnick
Dec21-09, 05:53 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 5,542
Honestly, I wouldn't stress about your age. If anything, you may find that you are one of the better students due to your 'life experience' contributing to a certain ability to focus.

I have lots of 'nontraditional' students in my class. Almost without exception, they are more diligent, more focused, and more eager simply because they *chose* to go back to school, rather than just go to school because they didn't have any better ideas.

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