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Ph.D. in your 30s?


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Old 2nd November 2011, 10:04 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by ladyravenloft View Post
I am 39 and just started in March on my Bachelor's degree in Human Services (focusing on gerontology). When I'm done in a couple of years I will start my Masters. This is my first time being able to attend university, and in several of my classes I've actually been the youngest! You're never too old for an education.
That's great - enjoy
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Old 7th November 2011, 2:46 AM   #32
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all PhD students i've ever met have been in their thirties, forties, fifties and sixties. literally have never met one still in their twenties (but i'm sure they're out there; just never ran into one). in fact most advisors will only take on candidates who can exhibit the necessary level of experience and maturity, meaning professionals who have been in the field for at least a few years- ie., people in their 30s+.

for someone in their early to mid twenties, already at the PhD level, i would pressume they might be gifted in some way. or just really rich
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Old 7th November 2011, 5:25 AM   #33
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It's like this.

It depends on your life experience before applying. If you have been in the military learning things that will be applicable to your studies you are at an advantage. If you have been earning a Masters degree before entering the PhD program, you are at an advantage. (Especially if it's a research based masters).

If you come into a PhD program after having been in the workforce, not doing anything applicable to your choose doctoral studies it can be tough sledding.

Good luck.
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Old 7th November 2011, 11:22 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by runner View Post
all PhD students i've ever met have been in their thirties, forties, fifties and sixties. literally have never met one still in their twenties (but i'm sure they're out there; just never ran into one). in fact most advisors will only take on candidates who can exhibit the necessary level of experience and maturity, meaning professionals who have been in the field for at least a few years- ie., people in their 30s+.

for someone in their early to mid twenties, already at the PhD level, i would pressume they might be gifted in some way. or just really rich
I'm 23 in a program. I'm not rich.. so I'll take this as a compliment. :-)
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Old 7th November 2011, 11:21 PM   #35
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OP, I'm not in my 30s but have a few classmates who are in their 30s. They had gotten their BS, maybe an MS too, and then worked until they realized they needed/wanted a PhD degree to advance. They applied, got their offers, had to quit their jobs (spouses too) to move across the country and become a 1-income family. So one con mentioned was the lack of income during the 4-7 year ordeal. (Our program avg is 6 years.) Two of them had kids during the program! One pro is the time flexibility they have for their families.

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Originally Posted by runner View Post
all PhD students i've ever met have been in their thirties, forties, fifties and sixties. literally have never met one still in their twenties (but i'm sure they're out there; just never ran into one). in fact most advisors will only take on candidates who can exhibit the necessary level of experience and maturity, meaning professionals who have been in the field for at least a few years- ie., people in their 30s+.

for someone in their early to mid twenties, already at the PhD level, i would pressume they might be gifted in some way. or just really rich
Maybe it depends on the field? I'll finish at 25 but that isn't too common though. Over half the people in my entering class started right after their BS. Don't need to be rich, its free in a lot of the sciences...
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Old 8th November 2011, 1:26 AM   #36
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Maybe it depends on the field? I'll finish at 25 but that isn't too common though. Over half the people in my entering class started right after their BS. Don't need to be rich, its free in a lot of the sciences...
for sure it depends on the field; and how well-endowed your institution is. but no it isn't free, nothing is. but if it was for you then i pressume you were awarded funding, and they don't give those out to just any idiot. so you and the other poster here can pat yourselves on the back
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Old 8th November 2011, 3:22 AM   #37
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I don't think being in your 30's makes you too old for enrolling in a PhD program at all. In fact, I think it's a great age to enter a PhD program because you're responsible enough to handle it. Grad school is always different from college. I don't know much about PhD's since I never really got to mingle with them, but I'm 28 and straight out of grad school myself (and have no plans on going back to school soon).

I notice that my younger classmates in grad school (the 22 year-olds) were still in party mode and they didn't do too well in school. I enrolled at 26 after 3 years of irrelevant work experience at assistant jobs and I was dead serious (ironically I work in retail again--which is what I did in high school).

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Originally Posted by sm1tten View Post
It was incredibly difficult to keep my "non-university" life going while I was in the PhD program. I was in a very rigorous program and I found that most of the little free time I had was spent with my cohort.
So what does one do in a PhD program, I'm curious?
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Old 8th December 2011, 10:39 PM   #38
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GreenCove, like you, I thought I was fairly old when I received my PhD. Ultimately, I broke my reluctance over returning to school with the following logic: How old will you be when you complete your PhD? "42," you say.

And how old will you be at that time if you don't get your PhD? Again, the answer is "42."

At issue, then, is whether you would rather be 42 with a PhD degree or 42 without it.
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Old 11th December 2011, 12:29 AM   #39
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I started my PhD program when I was 30. Finished at 34. Got my first faculty position at 35. I am 38 now. I moved from south america to the US to do my PhD and ended up staying.
One of my current graduate student is 38 the other one is 35, two others are in their 20s. The two students in their 30s are much more mature, organized,etc. They've had "real jobs" and they are better at time managements. The two younger students started their PhD after their undergrads and they are very smart and hard working, but somewhat "naive" in the way they conduct their program. It will probably take them longer or after the PhD they will need further training (post doc) to be ready to have their own lab.

If you are committed to do your PhD and you have a career plan (you do the PhD with a reason and goal in mind) you will do well.
And no matter what your plans and goals are, make sure to have fun while trying to fulfill them.
Good luck!
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