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35 to old for Graduate School?

  1. May 3, 2012 #1
    Hello all, I am a 33 year old pre-junior mechanical engineering major. This is my second degree and I am doing extremely well. Current GPA 3.88. Coming into the program I figured I would get my bachelors and that would be it, but since I have been doing so well and truly appreciate the learning process I feel like I want to keep going and get my Master's. Does anyone think I am too old? It seems like a young guys sport, but I seem to out perform most of the young guys in the program. I know this is a personal decision, but any input from people is always helpful when making big decisions.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2012 #2
    Same exact boat as you. I'm not too old. I feel that I regularly outperform my younger peers, a fact likely attributed to work ethic, genuine interest in the subject, and knowing what life is like without a good job.
  4. May 3, 2012 #3
    What are your goals? I don't know what doors open for you with a masters that aren't with a bachelors, but if you're interested in it and can make a few bucks more and are in that "school" zone where classes aren't a drag, then go for it. The whole "young man's sport" thing I think is totally wrong. It'd go way better for everyone if you couldn't start grad school until 32 or so for the reason's QuarkCharmer said.
  5. May 3, 2012 #4
    QuarkCharmer thanks for the positive feedback. Einstein Mcfly, I was thinking more so promotions down the road, and personal accomplishment. Like you said I am in the school zone right now and don't see myself stopping getting comfortable, then starting up again.
  6. May 3, 2012 #5
    Well said. Though I'm just a year into my undergraduate studies at 27, I feel the same way. I feel much sharper now at 27 than I ever did at 18. One thing is for certain...my work ethic at this age is far, far higher than it was at 18! Working dead-end jobs for a decade can really be an enlightening experience.
  7. May 4, 2012 #6
    Hi, a friend of mine finishes her PhD being fourty, having family, two adult sons etc. She started about 4 years ago and now she's very well established in theoretical physics and has nice friendship with the 'big' people of her science. She's working very hard, she's a good mother, a very popular teacher. The difference to the youngsters is simple: she knows what she wants (unlike me), she is a hard worker (harder than anyone else I know).

    As prof. Cassaza writes in "A mathematician's survival guide" - Mathematics is ageless. And: Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

    So thumbs up!
  8. May 4, 2012 #7
    You ABSOLUTELY are not too old to get a Master's degree. When I was in graduate school there were a number of people there your age and older. It's not a young guy's sport at all, it's just that people who do it tend to be young because it is so hard to leave a comfortable job and life to go back to school.

    I think it is a great idea to go for a Master's because, for better or for worse, the Master's degree is fast becoming the entry-level professional degree in a lot of engineering subfields.

    Good luck!

  9. May 4, 2012 #8
    Thanks Carl, and others for the boost of confidence. I am definitely going to do it. I am thinking about specializing in either Thermal Fluids, or Control Theory. Any advice on either?

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