Jump to content
NavyMom

Older students?

Recommended Posts

I am only 22, but my mother (almost 41) and I are applying to do PhD work at the same time. (Totally different fields... and she is a professor. already, so she doesn't really have to "apply" apply) But she does have to go back and take regular college calculus first and I keep getting questions from her lol. My brother is still in high school and is on the football team, so she is definitely feeling the semi-struggle of taking classes and still having to parent and drive him to all his practices. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/5/2015 at 1:48 AM, shadowclaw said:

Instead, I'm going to be 34 when I get my PhD, assuming nothing goes awry. There's going to be a small window open for having kids after that, and I worry. I got married about a year and a half ago, and shortly after the wedding, I told my dad that I was applying to PhD programs. He told me my eggs were getting old. That really bothered me, and it's been bothering me more and more lately. I've thought about the possibility of having a kid towards the end of my PhD program, but I don't know how feasible that would be with me in grad school and my husband working full time. If I wasn't 3000 miles away from my parents and siblings, they would help me out. My sister also took a long time to get her B.S. After she got divorced when her daughter was very young, she decided to go to school, and my parents and I played a huge role in helping to raise my niece while my sister got her nursing degree. Considering that my parents are retiring soon and my sister doesn't work anymore, they are in the perfect position to help me. But they're too far away. 

I'm feeling awkward, too. hahaha  I'm 32 and just applying to a PhD now.  I have a lot of friends who are on their tail end of PhDs and some who are more settled in jobs.  I also know a couple people with grown kids and established careers that are jumping back into a PhD, but I feel like they have a bit more stability in their lives...  I have had really good, really interesting jobs and international experiences which I wouldn't trade at all, but it does feel like it's a bit of strange time to start a PhD.  

About the family thing -- I've been really surprised at how much more family-friendly programs are becoming.  We don't have any kids but we're thinking about starting a family while I'm in the program.   A good friend of mine struggled with infertility (which  I'm discovering is super common) towards the tail end of PhD program said and her advice, for what it's worth was, "If you don't think you're ready, then that's one thing, and you should listen to it.  But, if you really want to start a family now do it, and work with the program to find accommodations because there are a lot of ways to manage it.  Sometimes you wait and wait for the best time but there really is no best time and you find it's too late."   Lots of people disagree with this, and that's totally fine.  It's such a personal decision.  But of all the conversations I've had that piece of advice resonated the most... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Found this thread AND AM SO RELIEVED TO BE AMONG MY PEOPLE. 

I'm 29, and have in fact been previously in a PhD program when I was 22 and had a really rough time because of multiple factors: my advisor being a non-communicative, freaky dude, my research ideas not really being developed and my lack of desire to be there. Now, after working a few years at a nonprofit, I'm returning back to the fold to get that damn degree and get out more research and it's been awkward to say the least. 

I have a significant other and we are both thinking about where to move together, but I like @shadowclaw have gotten a lot of pressure from family to "settle down" and get kids IMMEDIATELY instead of going to school or maintaining a job. It's stressful to say the least. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes @bluefoxblue it's definitely good to find a place to air out these thoughts/concerns!  I've been out of school for nearly nine years.  whaat??  I feel super self conscious about it and a bit doubtful of my idea to jump back into the grad school fold, but on the other hand I feel like the experiences will be relevant and help me manage my time better and it's something I've always wanted to do.  I feel like when I got married there were so many voices of doubt when my husband and I decided to go abroad instead of settle down and start a family that one thing we've learned is to trust ourselves more with decision making instead of doubting ourselves so much.  Everyone's got a path, and only we can choose our own .... 

Edited by ts1493

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello @radhikapc,

Age can be an issue, but I don't think you have to worry too much. I am older than you and just got accepted into the CS program at UW. I think you will find it is not a negative factor at all. Some people I spoke to before applying to grad school tried to discourage me (friends, admins I spoke with when looking for information prior to applying), but I ignored anyone who was negative and went ahead anyway, figuring I would work on anything I could improve, but my age was my age, and if I didn't try for what I wanted, I'd be guaranteed to go nowhere (hope that made sense). In my experience, my age hasn't been an issue in any classes I've taken, in getting LORs, or in having my applications taken seriously (and getting accepted!). The total GRE might not really be enough to go on -- your program may want a specific Q score, for example. So you might want to look into that, since prepping for the GRE (if you need to get a higher subsection score, for example) IS something you can work on. It is definitely worth going to the department you are interested in and seeing if you can talk to someone -- I have typically been given useful advice on how to make my application stronger by doing this.

Best of luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, radhikapc said:

Hi All,

I am 35 and a mother. I have applied to the MS program in HCI at CMU and am awaiting for the result. Do you think age is a negative factor in getting an admit ? I have around 12 years experience in Technical Writing. I scored a 317 in GRE.

What is the possibility of getting an admit at CMU ?

 

Thank you

 

I'm not sure of your chances getting into your particular program  only because I'm not that familiar. However don't be discouraged if you get a rejection keep going. Due to my circumstances I could only apply to three schools in my area and one of them I got a rejection from I was so upset but the rejection showed me that I really wanted it and I had to keep going. I'm 36 with three  kids.  I started my program almost two years ago after a 14 year hiatus. School for me now is very different than my undergrad days. I am loving it and have recently decided to pursue my PhD after I complete my Masters. You will find this community to be very helpful.  Best of luck to you. 

Edited by Threeboysmom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Previous I had a sting from my first job which I actually liked because it's related to what I love. After that I was feeling a little down for a while and felt lost in life. But now I realized it was just a terrible place to work at and there's no reason for me to feel bad about leaving. Now I need to change my reality and start a new job where I am appreciated and needed. So I made steps to invest in my education and start taking things seriously. I wasn't a responsible and serious person in my 20's, and I didn't try hard enough for anything in my life. Maybe that's why I was set up for failure and bad luck. 

It's time to change my luck and work hard for what I want in life. I want to be happy again. ^_^

I'm turning 31 this year and I just received an offer for a M.A. program starting in September in the UK. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread is awesome. I'm 36, a father of two, and applying for a PhD after quitting my (good) job a few years ago and earning two master's degrees (full-time). I've had fun in school, especially as I found that I have a lot of life experience that many of my colleagues lacked and how often I've been able to connect with professors on more of a peer-level. 

I quit my job and started this whole crazy grad-school thing because, well, we all (my family) felt that I had to. Not going into details, I had a really cool niche job, one that I can go back to at almost anytime - but no matter what, I just wasn't feeling fulfilled in it. After talking with friends and family, consulting with some friends who are professors at other schools about whether or not I'm crazy/foolish, and listening to my mentors, we quit jobs, sold the house, and moved across the county for Masters #1, and haven't looked back since.

That said, I'm not counting on definitely getting into a PhD program, so I have a solid set of plan "b" options that I'm excited about. Also, I have at least two friends who earned their PhDs after 50 (not exactly my plan) and have had an impossible task finding jobs due to age discrimination, as such, I have definitely considered several "plan c" ideas for if I do get a PhD and don't actually become a professor. 

Full disclosure: the hardest part of this whole adventure has been the loss of one of our two incomes. My wife has a great job that she loves and supports us with, but since I  only bring in a paltry sum as a TA, life has in no way been easy financially.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, drivingthoughts said:

 I've had fun in school, especially as I found that I have a lot of life experience that many of my colleagues lacked and how often I've been able to connect with professors on more of a peer-level. 

I have found this to be true also - the life experience makes a big difference in how we approach the entire going back to school issue. 

I am a bit older than you and one thing that I have noticed is that there is a better connection with my older children, since many of my class colleagues are about their age. My daughter is also in grad school (same university, totally different program), so we are able to talk about things that we never had in common before.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

I'm an older student as well. I just turned 32 and have applied to eight graduate programs. After this spring semester, I'll have finally earned a bachelor's degree. I've got four different schools on my record, which I didn't really mention in my statements of purpose for the applications. Most of the schools have already sent out invite requests and acceptances, so I'm a bit worried that I won't get accepted anywhere in this cycle. Particularly, I'm concerned that I didn't adequately address my academic history in my statements of purpose. I didn't really mention it at all.

To elaborate, I started college in 2002 and dropped out after three full semesters. I had a hiatus for a year, before going to a community college and getting an associates degree. I then worked for about five years at the same company. While there, I registered for a single class at a third university to help with the job. The company went bankrupt back in 2011. I was unemployed for about six months and during that time I decided to go back and finish my bachelor's degree, to help in getting another job. I eventually did find another job, but it was managing a fast food restaurant.

I still wanted to finish the degree, though, and it'd have to be done online, so I registered for a few classes at yet another community college with the intent to start a fully online program at a local state school. Long story short, I found a better job with regular hours M-F, just down the road from the very first school I attended. My boss there told me he'd be flexible with my school schedule if I wanted to actually attend classes in person, since some of my work would need to be done over the weekend. At that point, I decided to go back to the first school and pursue a completely different degree, which required catching up on math courses I hadn't taken yet.

Four years later, I'm just about done with the degree. Along the way, I've been involved with research, including a summer internship and two conference poster presentations. I've also started a club based on what I'm applying to graduate school for, where we hosted a talk by a former manager of a prestigious NASA mission and have done some outreach. I mentioned all of this in my SoP.

Do any of you have similar academic histories? If so, how did you address yours in your SoPs, and when contacting potential advisors? I sent my CV (which includes the date I got my associates degree) and research interests to a few professors before sending in my applications. A few of the responses I got back mentioned things in the CV that weren't included in the email, so I know the professors at least skimmed the CV. How big a deal is all of this? Am I just overreacting, considering I've only seen one rejection thus far?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, magnetite said:

Do any of you have similar academic histories? If so, how did you address yours in your SoPs, and when contacting potential advisors? I sent my CV (which includes the date I got my associates degree) and research interests to a few professors before sending in my applications. A few of the responses I got back mentioned things in the CV that weren't included in the email, so I know the professors at least skimmed the CV. How big a deal is all of this? Am I just overreacting, considering I've only seen one rejection thus far?

Started college in 1979, switched majors in 1980

Switched schools and majors in 1982 and 1984

Switched majors again in 1985 and 1986 -- at this point I decided to just go to school in order to learn enough to get better and better jobs

Life intervened, got married, kids, and a new career which was going well until 2002 when my position got shipped overseas

I started working at Rutgers in 2003, I was intending on taking advantage of tuition benefits and going back to finish my undergrad as soon as possible, but life intervened again (another child) and I did not start again until 2007

When I was finally finishing my undergrad in 2014, I applied to a grad program.

In my original personal statement I specifically addressed my prior academic history, and spun it in my favor. At this point I was going back to school for ME -- because I wanted to do it, and not for any potential employment opportunity that would result from the graduate degree. I also stated that I would also be interested in continuing on to a possible PhD after the masters (my application will be going out later this year for the 2017 academic year).

Overall, I don't think my varied academic history hurt me in any way while applying to a grad program, in fact, the diversity may have helped me.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any older students trying to find work over the summer and finding there are few internships geared towards grad students - that most say undergrads? I'm trying to find some kind of work over the summer and just don't know how I'm going to be able to make it.  Not that I'd be thrilled to be making $12 an hour, but need to find something, and I'm disappointed with the lack of career resource the school has.  They have a few career fairs, but worrying about finding work AND school at the same time is upsetting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, justanotherlostgrrl said:

few internships geared towards grad students

indeed, I have made the same unfortunate discovery. as well as the fact that most are unfunded or underfunded, which of course is no news. although this might explain why it's mostly for undergrads: many so-called internships are just a way to get free labor to do basic tasks, so it's not really for grad students.

is it necessary for your to be paid over the summer? if not, consider volunteering your services as a designer for charities, or even take on some borderline-related work. summers can be a great way to diversify your profile. otherwise, as a creative person, if you get a part-time position unrelated to your field, you would have the rest of the week to make stuff for your portfolio and/or look for clients.

furthermore, consider doing information interviews with professionals related to your field. who knows, perhaps they're looking for a temp for the summer vacation of a designer. or just would create an internship just for you. this may sound like a time-consuming thing to do, but it doesn't have to be: if instead of a coffee break with a friend you go for a coffee with a professional, it will be both useful and entertaining.

I would recommend doing a brainstorming session: list all the possible ways to get leads you know of or can quickly google, list your necessary condition for summer (e.g. do you need that money or not) and pick the most time-efficient combination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/20/2016 at 10:51 PM, random_grad said:

indeed, I have made the same unfortunate discovery. as well as the fact that most are unfunded or underfunded, which of course is no news. although this might explain why it's mostly for undergrads: many so-called internships are just a way to get free labor to do basic tasks, so it's not really for grad students.

is it necessary for your to be paid over the summer? if not, consider volunteering your services as a designer for charities, or even take on some borderline-related work. summers can be a great way to diversify your profile. otherwise, as a creative person, if you get a part-time position unrelated to your field, you would have the rest of the week to make stuff for your portfolio and/or look for clients.

furthermore, consider doing information interviews with professionals related to your field. who knows, perhaps they're looking for a temp for the summer vacation of a designer. or just would create an internship just for you. this may sound like a time-consuming thing to do, but it doesn't have to be: if instead of a coffee break with a friend you go for a coffee with a professional, it will be both useful and entertaining.

I would recommend doing a brainstorming session: list all the possible ways to get leads you know of or can quickly google, list your necessary condition for summer (e.g. do you need that money or not) and pick the most time-efficient combination.

appreciate the advice.  I will need every cent I can get, and am panicking on how to make it all work.  The information interviewing is something I'll need to do.  Right now I feel overwhelmed with schoolwork and a job hunt, and trying not to sound desperate about the money situation when interviewing - and also trying to recharge my internal batteries.  As an introvert, this has been a real struggle for me, and feel like I would be surviving this far better if I wasn't so shy and needing to recharge.  I have to have faith it'll all work it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm an older student as well. I'm 35, will be married 16 years this June, and have two children ages 7 and 5. I am graduating with my B.S. in May and have applied to a few graduate programs. It has not been an easy journey. What has kept me going is that my children are getting to witness me do all of it and I hope it encourages them to always pursue their dreams even when it is tempting to give up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/18/2016 at 1:25 PM, magnetite said:

Hi all,

I'm an older student as well. I just turned 32 and have applied to eight graduate programs. After this spring semester, I'll have finally earned a bachelor's degree. I've got four different schools on my record, which I didn't really mention in my statements of purpose for the applications. Most of the schools have already sent out invite requests and acceptances, so I'm a bit worried that I won't get accepted anywhere in this cycle. Particularly, I'm concerned that I didn't adequately address my academic history in my statements of purpose. I didn't really mention it at all.

To elaborate, I started college in 2002 and dropped out after three full semesters. I had a hiatus for a year, before going to a community college and getting an associates degree. I then worked for about five years at the same company. While there, I registered for a single class at a third university to help with the job. The company went bankrupt back in 2011. I was unemployed for about six months and during that time I decided to go back and finish my bachelor's degree, to help in getting another job. I eventually did find another job, but it was managing a fast food restaurant.

I still wanted to finish the degree, though, and it'd have to be done online, so I registered for a few classes at yet another community college with the intent to start a fully online program at a local state school. Long story short, I found a better job with regular hours M-F, just down the road from the very first school I attended. My boss there told me he'd be flexible with my school schedule if I wanted to actually attend classes in person, since some of my work would need to be done over the weekend. At that point, I decided to go back to the first school and pursue a completely different degree, which required catching up on math courses I hadn't taken yet.

Four years later, I'm just about done with the degree. Along the way, I've been involved with research, including a summer internship and two conference poster presentations. I've also started a club based on what I'm applying to graduate school for, where we hosted a talk by a former manager of a prestigious NASA mission and have done some outreach. I mentioned all of this in my SoP.

Do any of you have similar academic histories? If so, how did you address yours in your SoPs, and when contacting potential advisors? I sent my CV (which includes the date I got my associates degree) and research interests to a few professors before sending in my applications. A few of the responses I got back mentioned things in the CV that weren't included in the email, so I know the professors at least skimmed the CV. How big a deal is all of this? Am I just overreacting, considering I've only seen one rejection thus far?

My story is not unlike yours. I had been going to college on-again-off-again ever since the late 1980s. I finally buckled down and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in 2013. Immediately after I went straight into a PhD program in a social sciences field, but after one year I quit seeing that it was a bad fit. I then decided to switch tracks back to my original interest (which is a STEM discipline). However, I was nowhere near adequately prepared for entry into a PhD program so I enrolled in a 2-year Masters program to bring myself up to speed. Now I am finishing up the 2nd year and expect to graduate this spring. For this current application cycle I have applied to a number of PhD programs (in my new field) and have been accepted by 2 institutions so far.

To answer your question, when writing my Statement of Purpose I only explicitly mentioned things from my academic history that I felt were relevant for the admissions committee to make their decision. For example, I discussed the fact that I was previously a PhD student in another field and am now a Masters student, because that was necessary for me to explain how I developed my interest in pursuing a PhD in my current field. Things such as taking me over 20 years to get my Bachelor's degree, the fact that I had attended x number of schools, the long breaks of inactivity, etc. were really irrelevant in my case, so I didn't mention them. (Besides they would see that in my transcripts and CV anyway.) However, I did apply to several of the University of California campuses and they require a Personal History statement (in addition to a Statement of Purpose) for graduate admissions. This Personal History statement can considered something like a diversity statement in which you are free to discuss how you overcame difficulties, issues that promote or engage diversity and equity, etc. So in each of my UC applications, yes, I did mention the long academic road I took to get where I am now. By the way, the acceptances that I got were both from UC schools. So who knows? Maybe mentioning those things may have helped, but my feeling is not really. I think it's more important to convince them that you're an interesting and well-qualified applicant.

Just hang in there buddy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/25/2016 at 0:01 AM, marycaryne said:

I'm an older student as well. I'm 35, will be married 16 years this June, and have two children ages 7 and 5. I am graduating with my B.S. in May and have applied to a few graduate programs. It has not been an easy journey. What has kept me going is that my children are getting to witness me do all of it and I hope it encourages them to always pursue their dreams even when it is tempting to give up.

I think you pretty much summed up my thoughts. I'll be 33 when I begin graduate school, and I have similar motivating factors.

I hope everything goes well for you. :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm trying to be Zen and just concentrate on my own thing, but it's becoming difficult, and my patience is wearing thin thanks to doing school and a job hunt at the same time.  I have one class where one of the students feels he's in a separate class with the professor, and will interrupt the professor while teaching to say such fascinating bits like, "wow, huh... so I never thought of that before" extremely loudly.  He talks over the teacher constantly - today I told him, 'be quiet, I can't hear the instructions and I'd like to hear this, please' - and that shut him up quickly.  The other big trend I'm noticing is people who don't read the assignments, don't know when they're done, and actively work to just do their own assignment even when the professor has describe what's required.  Both of these examples are from people who are in their 20s, and in one case I have to work with the people (the 'what, we have an assignment' thing) and I've never felt as old as I do now in this school.  I'm going to stick with this degree because I don't have a choice, but I'm really questioning why I'm doing this program at all - why I though grad school would be right.  I'm feeling too old and tired for this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in my mid 30s and haven't found my age to be an impediment at all for studying or socializing. Things and circumstances are what you make of them.  If you have the mindset that you won't fit in because you are older then you are already setting yourself up for failure.  Regardless of what your personal life is like, you have quite a bit in common with your peers, even the 22 year old ones.  Don't try to be their parent, don't try to be their mentor; just try to be a friend or a peer, if that is what you want.  Of course, you are not required to interact with your peers in any way outside scholarly requirements, but what a waste of a few years of your life that would be!  Misery loves company, after all!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Chiqui74 said:

I'm in my mid 30s and haven't found my age to be an impediment at all for studying or socializing. Things and circumstances are what you make of them.  If you have the mindset that you won't fit in because you are older then you are already setting yourself up for failure.  Regardless of what your personal life is like, you have quite a bit in common with your peers, even the 22 year old ones.  Don't try to be their parent, don't try to be their mentor; just try to be a friend or a peer, if that is what you want.  Of course, you are not required to interact with your peers in any way outside scholarly requirements, but what a waste of a few years of your life that would be!  Misery loves company, after all!

In regards to strictly school, I would agree (for the most part). However, outside of that, my life as a 35 year old married mother of two is VERY different from someone in their early 20s who may only be in the dating scene. Our personal lives do not relate and that's just reality. I don't view it as an impediment, I don't try to be a parent or mentor. I am friendly and I am not miserable about it. At the same time, I also don't pretend we are on the same level in life. We're not. That said, sometimes that difference can prove to be a frustration in certain situations. Doesn't mean the person is miserable, just that sometimes a situation could use a good venting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course you are not on the same level, but family/personal life is not THE only life.  I am a parent too so I get it, but when I'm socializing with my peers, my family life is not present.  Perhaps it is different for those who (like me) are full time graduate students with no other jobs.  I don't see this any differently than if I was in a traditional office job with younger co-workers.  I don't know.  I just think that people sometimes let their differences rule their interactions with others instead of trying to find common ground and then see themselves as not fitting in.

Edited by Chiqui74

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Chiqui74 said:

Of course you are not on the same level, but family/personal life is not THE only life.  I am a parent too so I get it, but when I'm socializing with my peers, my family life is not present.  Perhaps it is different for those who (like me) are full time graduate students with no other jobs.  I don't see this any differently than if I was in a traditional office job with younger co-workers.  I don't know.  I just think that people sometimes let their differences rule their interactions with others instead of trying to find common ground and then see themselves as not fitting in.

I didn't say that my family life is the only life, although as a mother, it does have a higher priority in my life than making sure I hit the bars with those 15 years younger than me. Know what I mean? I'm not saying I don't associate with them anymore, or that we don't have common ground, or that I let it rule my interactions, or that I can't enjoy social time with anyone younger than me. I've worked with people younger than me and treat people equally, but also keep it professional at work which is different than socialization. I'm just saying my priorities and responsibilities (outside of school and work) are very different than someone over a decade younger. Basically, for myself, I just don't pretend I'm in my early 20s when I'm in my mid 30s, and do not live the same life as the someone in his early 20s. I've outgrown that age both physically and mentally. I just don't think that people should be told they're setting themselves up for failure when they realize that in many cases, there is a world of difference between being 22 and being 35.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello All,

I am 49 and will be applying to DrPH programs this fall after being out of school for 17 years! I have really enjoyed reading this thread and looking at the problems faced by students at different stages of "older".

I have some advice for he posters who were starting Phd programs in their 30s and wondering how they would start a family at the same time. I had two kids while on working on both of my master's degrees in my early 30's. I worked until I went in to labor, took 2 weeks off and then I actually brought the baby to school for a few weeks. Seems weird but babies that little just sleep and feed anyway. Some of my profs were not even aware that I had a baby with me. Both universities had child care centers that gave students first priority. The teachers in the child care center were my greatest support, I would not have graduated if not for them.  Once you get used to the sleep deprivation it is easier than you think - much easier than having a newborn while working - your schedule is much more flexible. My only regret is that I did not have time to bond with my cohort or my professors. 

I am having trouble preparing my application. I am taking online classes to freshen up my transcript but am worried about how LORs from online professors will be viewed. I am in the foreign service, living overseas so I can't do anything in person. Did anyone on this thread use LORs from online classes?

And the GRE - how much time did everyone give to studying for this? The last I took it, you just bought the study guide and took the test. Now there is quite an industry dedicated to beating the test.

Did anyone else apply without research experience and get in? I am a clinician, have no research experience and really no way to get any.

Thanks and best of luck to everyone here!

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@melissa.cox10 A lot of what you mention in your post brought back memories. Many years ago I started school with a 21 month old and a 3 month old. I was able to bring the infant to classes that first semester as she just slept and fed (and was a quiet baby in general). A few years later, I had child #3, and took time off school, but that just delayed me by one year (due to how classes were scheduled only once a year). I would highly recommend taking a face-to-face class if you can somehow manage it. If not, the name recognition of the online program might matter (I am speculating). Something like Harvard Extension would probably get more positive attention than  an online calculus class you're taking to refresh math skills through a community college. I am not sure where your online classes fall on this spectrum. You have a harder task in getting professors to know who you are and to feel personally invested in your success. Is there some way you can meet with them via online conferencing to ask for advice applying to grad school. Then, depending on the response you get, decide whether or not an LOR from a given professor would be likely to help your case or, even, potentially hurt it.

I didn't study for the GRE. I bought some review books, but found that is you are already at >80%, the books are not focused on bringing you up >90%. So, I figured I might need to take a professional review course. I also wanted an accurate baseline score, to know where I was starting from, so I took the real GRE early as a "practice run," with a plan to sign up with a review course if my scores were not adequate, and then retake. I did fine, so I never did bother studying more or retaking. I will be entering a program in the fall in a field in which I have not done any research, but I think this is unusual and I think it would be seen as more of a negative if I didn't have some relevant work experience (still not research, but it gives me a perspective most applicants wouldn't have).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, melissa.cox10 said:

Hello All,

I am 49 and will be applying to DrPH programs this fall after being out of school for 17 years! I have really enjoyed reading this thread and looking at the problems faced by students at different stages of "older".

I have some advice for he posters who were starting Phd programs in their 30s and wondering how they would start a family at the same time. I had two kids while on working on both of my master's degrees in my early 30's. I worked until I went in to labor, took 2 weeks off and then I actually brought the baby to school for a few weeks. Seems weird but babies that little just sleep and feed anyway. Some of my profs were not even aware that I had a baby with me. Both universities had child care centers that gave students first priority. The teachers in the child care center were my greatest support, I would not have graduated if not for them.  Once you get used to the sleep deprivation it is easier than you think - much easier than having a newborn while working - your schedule is much more flexible. My only regret is that I did not have time to bond with my cohort or my professors. 

I am having trouble preparing my application. I am taking online classes to freshen up my transcript but am worried about how LORs from online professors will be viewed. I am in the foreign service, living overseas so I can't do anything in person. Did anyone on this thread use LORs from online classes?

And the GRE - how much time did everyone give to studying for this? The last I took it, you just bought the study guide and took the test. Now there is quite an industry dedicated to beating the test.

Did anyone else apply without research experience and get in? I am a clinician, have no research experience and really no way to get any.

Thanks and best of luck to everyone here!

 

 

 

I am finishing up my degree online. For a myriad of reasons, traditional classes just were not possible for my undergrad. So my LORs were from my online professors. I stuck with ones that I had for at least a few classes. Since I have been doing fashion merchandising, that wasn't very difficult since the program is relatively small. I also had an LOR from my academic advisor, as well as a professional one from my job since I had already been working as a merchandiser. How LORs from online profs are viewed by other schools, I don't know. I would hope not terribly, as more and more schools are offering online programs. Heck, even Harvard offers online courses. So I would hope that the stereotype that online education isn't good enough is dissipating. However, I would say there are still some online schools/programs that might not carry the same weight as a brick and mortar school.

As far as the GRE goes, I studied on and off for about a year. Not dedicated studying, but doing flashcards on my phone when bored, or on a break at work etc. About 6 months prior to the test, I got serious about studying and I also took several practice tests. All the practice tests put me higher than what I actually did on the real test...so I don't know. However, my program focuses primarily on the written portion. That isn't something practice tests grade on, but I did make note of all the tips and did practice on those just so I had a better idea of how to manage my time when doing that portion. I got a 5.5 on the real test.

As far as research experience goes, the only research I have done is for schoolwork. Otherwise I don't have any. However, in merchandising, programs typically look for more experience than research. I had worked as a personal stylist for a few years, have been a visual merchandiser for coming up on two years this summer.

I received a rejection from one school this past Friday and am waiting to hear back from three others. We shall see how this goes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.