School is for the young! Or at least it’s easy to believe that it is. K-12 consumed your childhood and teenage years. College likely cradled you into your 20s. If you’re in your 30s or beyond, you may feel that the time for school, particularly grad school, has passed. But we have great news for you–it hasn’t. You’re never too old for school, especially graduate school. In fact, on average, graduate students are 33 years old. 1 in 5 is older than 40. As long as you want to go and are confident in the degree you’ll earn will advance your career, grad school is a good choice. Regardless of your age.
Older grad school applicants just need to keep a few things in mind.
GRE vs. GPA
Did you know that your GRE score may matter more than your GPA? If school is 10+ years in your past, your college grades may not carry as much weight. Your most recent records from the GRE measure your academic readiness more accurately than old grades.
You can also freshen your transcript by taking graduate-level classes at a local university. Many schools will allow you to do so without matriculating in a degree program. Keep in mind, the school likely won’t count the courses toward a degree. The graduate program you apply to may not count the class(es), either. Still, you’ll be able to point to recent academic work in actual graduate-level classes.
Multi-Leveled Financial Commitment
Alongside the cost of actually attending grad school, there’s something else to consider. Going to grad school full-time may also mean working and earning less. Although over half of graduate students keep jobs while in school, these students likely aren’t working full-time. What about those that are? They’re probably not going to school full-time. Working less tends to mean earning less, so make sure your finances are in order. You’ll want to be able to focus on your education without stressing too much about money.
Age Could Give You an Edge
Being an older student can make you a stronger applicant, in some cases. Older students tend to have a richer personal and professional background than their more youthful counterparts. Don’t downplay your life experiences! Use them to your advantage when applying.