To Old to Go Back to School?

I’ll chime in to say that you’re about the right age to go to school. I went back at 32 to finish my bachelor’s, and that extra bit of maturity made all the difference in the world. It’s amazing how much better you do when you actually attend class and take notes.

The only thing I was worried about was feeling self conscious because I might be so much older than everyone else. After a while, you and everyone else stops thinking about it.

I work in a college bookstore.

We have a customer who is at least 75, if not 85, fairly frail, and he’s getting his masters in teaching and leadership.

27? Are you joking?

I’ve had plenty of students older than you. I’ve had students in their 60s who were on their way to their bachelor’s degrees.

I lived with a guy who I met in one of my undergrad philosophy classes. He was 32 when I met him. No, I’m not making this up.

Don’t sweat it.

You’re much, much too old.

No, just kidding. When I was in college one of my classmates left school when she was younger because she thought it was wrong to stay there and take the place of a boy who might otherwise be drafted and sent to die on a field half a world away. By the time the war ended she had started having a family and didn’t end up back at school for quite some time, but she did graduate in the early '90’s.

Oh, the war in question was WWII – she’d been out just shy of 50 years when she returned to school, graduating in her late '60’s.

Heck, if you go to college and then straight through to law school you’d still be younger than at least half my law school class.


I sure hope not: I’m 33 and contemplating going back to school to get out of my current field (rocket scientist) and into something that I’ll find more interesting and won’t result in apocalyptic destruction of the planet. :wink: There are some definite disadvantages (though, since I self-financed my first run at school the “you have to pay your way this time” doesn’t really apply to me) but we also have the advantage of greater maturity (well, in my case that’s a maybe) and an impetus to keep at it.

I’ve known people who’ve gone back to school, either for an advanced degree or in a new degree program, in their forties and fifties. You won’t have the same experience as an 18 year old, of course, but you probably wouldn’t want it, anyway.

Good luck to you, and keep at it.


38 and just started back. Have most of a useless degree in Film Studies and decided I wanted to be, of all things, an accountant.

Mrs. Nott got her second degree (accounting) at 39.

I reacted strongly to this because I recall so well the OP were my Aunt’s fears when she went back: My Aunt divorced and was primary caregiver for three kids when went back, nights, at 36. She had >3 years before she left as a “kid”. She always had age peers (more or less) in her classes and this started in the mid-80’s.

By the time she was 43 she had a Masters degree. From 43 until 65 she has lived very, very rich and fulfilling life. A life that would not be remotely possible if she hadn’t had to guts to go back.

Echoing **Reality Chuck’s ** point: “In three years, when I graduate, I’ll be 32!” Ann quite sensibly wrote back, “And if you don’t go back, in three years, you’ll also be 32.” YOu have no choice but to be 32 in 5 years. You can be 32 and have (or almost have a degree) or

I dropped out of high school at age 16. Started college when I was 26.

You couldn’t possibly be a bigger fuckup than me, and I made it.

FYI, the oldest student ever to graduate from the community college where I teach was 85 years old. 85!

27, you say? Naught but a mere youngster.

Go, go, go!

Shoot, my classes are filled with people much older than 27 returning to school to pursue their dreams. Since I’m an English major, those dreams tend to amount to being a teacher, but all of them are over 25 and most of them are over 40. They all do great.

When I first opened this thread, I was sure you were going to say you’re 40 or so. I didn’t even start University until I was 44. For a variety of reasons, I had to withdraw halfway through but I’m hoping - family circumstances and health permitting - to return in the second semester this year. I’m 51.

I made a lot of stupid mistakes when I was teenager and never went to college. I’ll be 32 this June and will be starting college in September majoring in a field completely different from my current career. I’m nervous but also very excited about it.

My mom got married a month before her 15th birthday and quit school. Her first child was born a couple of months after her 16th birthday. She finally got her G.E.D. when she was 41. It was a nerve wracking experience for her because she thought she was too old and not smart enough. She proved herself wrong. I’m extremely proud of her.

You’re never too old to continue your education. Don’t let any worries, doubts or fears hold you back. Good luck.

Buck up, son! I went back to school (nights) 23 years after my 2-year associate degree in technology. Took 3 years to get my BA in PA with A’s and 1 B. It allowed me to move to a better job the day after I got riffed, whence I retired several years later. Went back to work after a 4-month “rest” at an even better job.

It might pay you to look around at other schools that might accept some of your credits, to shorten your time. But go for it anyway. You are probably trying the job market with your present credentials to see if they work for you. If not, the additional schooling will certainly be worth it, even if you don’t go all the way thru the Master’s, 'tho that won’t hurt. I’ve never made “6 figures” but will approach it soon when social security adds to my paycheck and my first job’s retirement check. I did make my first $million last April, according to my SS statement of earnings (but it took me 50 years to do it.)(Check your grammar-a must for résumés- “to old” should be “too old”)

I was a high school drop out. I went to college off and on for 12 years before I finally got serious.

I earned by bachelor’s at 36.

I’m 41 now, and trying to get into law school.

Too old? Pfftt.

I guess it might depend a bit on when you decide you’re too old to learn.

My last college class was taken at age 42. I have to do continuing ed now to maintain my license, but that’s not quite the same.

I was “in college” for most of the time between ages 22 and 34. I have a couple of acquaintance (one a friend, the other a torched bridge) who went back to become M.D.s in their forties. Both of them made it.

It seems to me that there’s a consensus appearing in this thread that deems that 27 is hardly too old to take another whack at it.

Oh yeah, the additional years in school have contributed mightily to my welfare. I don’t know where I’d be without it, and I’m doing well right now.

Good luck with it, pal!

I applaud anyone’s efforts to further their education, and think that it’s never too late to start back in. My wife left school for a long time (from about 20-28), went back for her Bachelor’s, and will complete her Master’s next year. I’m taking a long break between my BA and law school.

One word of caution, however: Don’t be one of THOSE non-traditional students.

I get a lot of the gossip in my office on campus, and one of the major beefs the younger students bring to me is the need that some non-trads to either

  1. explain their presence in the class
  2. share the accumulated wisdom of their years (usually the case for members of the military).

Just go, have fun, and learn all you can. Make friends, and while you should always be aware that there might be a generation gap, things will be fine if you don’t make an issue of it.

I’ll be getting the shingle for a second Bachelor’s degree this May, at the ripe old age of 43.

I managed to pull it off with a 3.12 GPA, in spite of full-time employment, lay oof and unemployment, a rocky marriage, raising a teenager, mortgage, etc. The big reason for doing it is because of ambitions for a Master’s and beyond, and my GPA from BS #1 was severely mediocre.

It’s a lot of work and hassle, but I found the coursework to be much easier the second time around. I had 2 problems, however.

  1. I tended to regard the professors as colleagues, because I was their age, and I’ve been working in the subject areas for 15-20 years. Made for some awkward moments.

  2. Watching the sweet young things jiggling their ways to class, and realizing I was old enough to be their father. :eek: :smiley:

Here’s a thread I started earlier this year that might be of some benefit to you, Amp. I certainly found the responses to my questions to be both informative and reassuring.


I received my bachelor’s of science last year at the ripe old age of 42. I’m now 43 and working on my master’s degree.

Oh, and I graduated Magna Cum Laude. woo hoo!