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Age as negative factor in top math grad school admission?

  1. Nov 23, 2013 #1
    Hi, I am a math major in South Korea.

    Recently, one of my friends came to me with a rumor that age of the applicant is a critical factor in admission to top math grad school like princeton, harvard, etc.....

    What worries me is that due to the country's "mandatory military service law ", I cannot apply to any foreign grad schools until I am 26 (27 when I start grad school) , and my friend said that this is too old to be admitted.

    I was wondering if any kind person could help me by telling me wheter or not what my friend said is true, and is 26 too old to be counted as a negative factor when applying to these "top" schools.(most important question :) )

    Thanks in advance
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2013 #2
    What's with the empty lines?
  4. Nov 23, 2013 #3
    Crake2// I put them so that people could read better...
  5. Nov 23, 2013 #4


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    It doesn't. It makes it look weird and annoying.

    Edit: the unnecessary line spacing was removed. If you wish to make your post easier to read, pay closer attention to paragraph breaks and sentence structure, not line spacing.

  6. Nov 23, 2013 #5
    I know for a fact that older (late 20s to middle aged) people enroll in graduate studies in math and physics. Robin Hanson got a PhD in his thirties from CalTech (physics).

    Somewhere on another site is a long thread about mathematicians who succeeded later in life, many of whom didn't begin studies until later.
  7. Nov 23, 2013 #6
    After googling, I think you are referring to Robin Hanson at GMU, who has a phd in social science. This is a very different field/market then physics (most poli-sci/economics phds land a faculty position immediately post-phd. Most physics phds never land a faculty position, and those that do go through at least one postdoc, often more). I imagine you'll see many more older students in social science phd programs, because the path to a career is much safer and shorter.
  8. Nov 23, 2013 #7
    Gah, you're right, his undergrad degree was in physics. He wrote in a blog post somewhere about going back to CalTech for a PhD and I assumed. I assumed! :(
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