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Grad School at age 43


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I have a BSBA in Hospitaliy Management from a Liberal Arts School

worked in the restaurant field for 15 years, then left. Started a

construcion company, which had a 15 year run.

I alwyas have wanted to pursue a Masters and PhD. In fact. I stated

the Masters at Virgina Tech. in hospitlity. I ended up with drawing three weeks into the first semester

due to personal reasons.

Now I have realized teaching at the University level is where my passion

and heart are.

My questions:

Is it common for a person my age to start Grad. School

What to do about LoRs..who to ask


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What field are you considering? It's not unusual for graduate students to be considerably older: 3 members of my cohort are over 35. Assuming that your field of study isn't closely related to your previous careers, I think that you might want to consider an MA first. As for LoR's, is it possible to take classes (even as an audit/informally) at a local college? Graduate-level classes are ideal, but I think even an undergraduate class might work. If the schools around you have strict policies, it's sometimes also easier to take courses as a non-enrolled student during the summer. In addition to helping you secure more recent LoR's, it will give you a chance to produce a writing sample (if that's required for your programs) and play with ideas to discuss in your SoP.

Good luck.

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Don't be discouraged by age. I'm 40, and even going back to finish a BA in recent years there were plenty older than I. Grad school cuts even heavier our way.

it seems many Us want at least 1 LoR from a prof, but others can be from professionals/community leaders etc. - just choose some who know you know how to work on and complete projects.

If your undergrad school isn't far, go in person and meet up with old profs (the web can help you determine who is still around, of course). You'd be surprised at how much they might remember about you. Failing that, a single refresher course, as the other said, even at the CC level will prove helpful. As an older student, the CC instructors will appreciate someone who actually pays attention, does the work and speaks up in class.

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I'm a bit younger than you (37) but didn't have nearly as much work experience as you, and none whatsoever in my undergrad major. I think your copious work experience will be a strong suit for you. For LORs I agree that you should take at least one class before applying, but I would also say that you should get at least one person from a former job who can speak to your strengths in management.

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Is it common for a person my age to start Grad. School

What to do about LoRs..who to ask

Hi Rex,

I'm 44, I've been out of college for half a life time and just started my Masters last week in a different field than my work history. Like you, I also have asaspirationso pursue my PhD. I got my 3 LORs from: a manager at my current firm who's area of expexpertise similar to my areas of study, a former business associate of mine, and a long time friend who is an academic. I felt a combination of refelection on work ethic, suitability for the field and a general knowledge of my intellectual ability was a good combo for someone like me (or you) who have been out of school and in the professional world.

In my Statement of Purpose I drew a connection between what I've been doing and my interests in the field.

Honestly, for me the hardest part was preparting for the quant of the GRE after not seeing a math problem since senior year in high school.

Hope that helps a little.


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