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Stats MS for the more 'mature' student

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Hi all, just a quick question regarding status of older students - I am/ will be one when/if I get into an MS program.

I'm female, and will be closer to 40 than 30 when I apply. My main concern is what my employment chances will be like after graduation. I know that this field tends to be populated by those in their 20's and I'm concerned that I may face discrimination, either by being rejected from potential MS programs, or more importantly, rejected by employers because of my age.

Does anyone here have any experience/evidence to the contrary? I am a good candidate with a current 4.0 GPA in all U.S. courses I've taken (both grad and undergrad). I'm a perm resident, and got undergrad and grad degrees in the U.K - but those were in social sciences. I have no experience in the field, and have basically been a stay at home mom for the past few years while studying part-time.

I'm taking calculus right now, will be taking linear alg, real analysis, programming in c++ differential equations, probability theory, regression analysis etc.

Am I disillusioned that I might be able to make a career out of stats??

Any info much appreciated.

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It's illegal for universities to consider applicant age as a factor in making admissions decisions, and institutions generally take this pretty seriously, so I wouldn't worry too much about your age preventing you from getting into a program.


And while it would be hard to prove age discrimination if a company (say) chose not to interview, I think that your age is relatively unlikely to play heavily into your job prospects. It's not like you're approaching retirement age, and few companies view MS-level stat analyst positions as "jobs for life" anyhow. You might even bring skills to the table (writing/communication ability, interpersonal skills, etc.) which are in short supply among younger graduates. 

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Aside from a school or employer blatantly discriminating (which in the US they can't legally do) I think your age will be a problem if you let it be a problem.  Yes there will be younger graduates everywhere for you to work alongside, compete with, learn from, instruct, etc.  If you lead with you're "I'm older and I *insert annoying assumption here*" then it won't win you any points with anyone you need to work with. 


When I was fresh out of undergrad I had no problem working with older graduates/workers/etc.  In fact I hoped to learn from them which is exactly what happened most of the time.  There were a few who basically had the attitude of their age making them somehow better than me, more professional than me, or more deserving of promotions/raises.  This led to a lot of stress and irritation for everyone and management had to make some uncomfortable decisions.  Some of those decisions benefited me and some didn't. 


Now that I'm in grad school and still in the working world I'm seeing a wider variety when it comes to age of new graduates/employees.  I like it, I find that employers like it, and everyone can learn from everyone else if they come in with an open mind.  If you're confident in your abilities and education then you'll be just fine.

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Thanks for your responses.

I know that discrimination is illegal; that doesn't mean it doesn't happen though. I'm choosing this field mainly because I enjoy it, and feel that my personality suits the work, but also because I see it as an area that has a diverse range of job oppportunities that will allow my age to play less of a role when/if employers are looking at my application.


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I am older than you are, and I started in my program 2 years ago. I definitely worry about my age affecting my chances at being hired when I'm done. For now, however, I am enjoying being back in school and learning lots of neat stuff :-)


No one seems to have a problem with my age in my program, although one of my interviewers for a different program (that did not accept me) told me that what I was trying to do "made no sense," and seemed to think the idea of my getting a job when (and if) I finished a PhD was ludicrous.


So be prepared for those who will try to dissuade you and ignore them. I have found many more people are willing to be helpful. I may not get a job when I'm done, but I am living in the present for now.

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So far I've had some great responses from programs, they've been very encouraging...I'm going to try to get some info from prospective employers and see what their thoughts are...can't hurt to do it!

Glad to know there are others out there in a similar situation.

Thanks for your response.

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