Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

EE degree at 41

  1. Jul 13, 2008 #1


    User Avatar

    I was just looking around for a forum to get some opinions and found you all.

    Is it feasible for a 41 year old to go to school for an EE degree.


    - HS diploma
    - A+ and Net+ certs
    - been working with computers since 1981 but havn't learned any current programming languages since vbasic (1990 or so)
    - pretty intelligent and wouldn't have any problem learning
    - a litte shy/worried about being the old dude among all the 20 somethings.

    opinions welcomed and needed,

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2008 #2

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I don't think age matters, but your family and career situation will certainly affect your choices of what kind of a program you can do. Do you have the flexibility to attend daytime classes, for example? Are you financially able to take on the tuition bills or loan payments afterwards?

    I am finishing my degree this Fall and I am your age. I've gotten along pretty well with classmates who are about half my age. They are actually very friendly and accepting, and I've enjoyed getting to know them. Some of them have even invited me out to parties and ballgames. :smile:

    One of the advantages you'll find as an older student is that you have refined organizational and study skills that your classmates are still acquiring. Teachers have also told me that they like having older students in the class because they are often more engaged in the material and ask a lot of questions.

    If you can figure out a way to do it, I think you'll really gain a lot from the experience.
  4. Jul 13, 2008 #3
    Go for it. Don't hesitate or ponder, just do it.
  5. Jul 13, 2008 #4
    I saw alot of older people in classrooms. My prof said the oldest person that was in his class once was an 85 year old grand-grandma.
  6. Jul 13, 2008 #5
    I second cabraham's sentiments and encourage you to go for it. I'm about your age and starting this fall on a masters degree in physics. I already have a BSEE. I've taken a few undergrad classes to ramp up and found that I've had an easier time so far than I thought thanks to the "refined study skills" noted above by Math Is Hard.

    I know 2 people in their late 50s/early 60s that are pursuing degrees.

    The downside for me is the time away from family (as mentioned above) and juggling school with a full-time job.

    Good luck!
  7. Jul 14, 2008 #6
    If you can manage it financially and time-wise go for it. I had a 40-something year old guy in my intro group. He was cool, and as a former technician was able to soup-up our mousetrap car. I've had a lot of senior citizens in my math and physics courses. It's nice to have diversity in the classroom.
  8. Jul 14, 2008 #7
    I turned 53 on May 6 2008. I am a grad student working on the doctorate. In 2006 at 51, I decided to do it and appied for admission. I was accepted, and I started last year in 2007. It is really tough as I still work full time. But it's well worth it. I'm better at my job after just a year of studying. The grad program has really whipped me into shape.

    Although the students are generally young enough to be my kids, that isn't an issue. People older than me return to school. Don't let age get in the way. I thought that I wouldn't "fit in" at first. But, they admire me for making the effort at this stage in life.

    I wish I did this sooner, but now is still better than never. It only helps me. If all goes as planned, my tentative grad date is May 2010. That date will arrive anyway, whether I study or not, so I might as well go for it. Do likewise.
  9. Jul 14, 2008 #8


    User Avatar

    Thanks everyone for your replies. I appreciate it and they have helped make my decision easier.

    Good luck,
  10. Jul 17, 2008 #9
    I also have a new reply for you.

    School is said to be for anybody, but you as a person who is engaged and ready to learn is takes naturally more advantage of school than a regular student. Also my advice to you is to do it disregarding the bad comments you might hear from people, like "Old dogs don't learn new tricks" that is completely wrong we are not dogs. Also you shouldn't be shy since college is where people get to meet together and you will be in an engineering field hopefully! people there are mostly serious, I mean the ones that are focusing on engineering.

    Last advice, go for it!!! People make investments at age 65 now a days why can you make a bold move and perhaps be one of those talented investors at your age. YOu are still full of life learn how to love math.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook