I see many of our readers ask questions in our Study in USA Forum section regarding their decision to study in USA after 7 to 10 Years of work experience or at the age of 35 or 40 years. Many of them could not pursue their dream of higher education at their early age due to various factors of family pressures, financial difficulties, no clarity, etc…now, they are wondering, if it is the right thing to study abroad like in USA. Many of them are unsure, how they will be received in the classes and will they be able to cope with their younger peers in the class. This article focuses on shedding some light on the reality at Graduate schools in America and if it is the right age for you to study.
Average Age of Graduate Student ( MS or MBA) in United States – Distribution
As per the research by National Center for Education Statistics, the average age of graduate student is about 33 years. Also, the below table from the same report indicates the age distribution of a typical graduate student enrolment. Key stat to look at is that about 50% of the graduate students are over 30 years of age.
Are you too Old to go back to School and Study Masters ?
Looking at the above data, you can notice that over 22% of the students are over 40 years and about 28% of the students are between 30 and 40 years. Data speaks volumes…You do NOT need to worry that you are too old. You are not old to go back to school. There are quite a few students in the same age group. In fact, when I did my MS and MBA, I have personally noticed the same. Many of my teammates were much older than me, it was fun to have all the experience folks in the class and my team as well. You are NOT too old to go back to school ! You bring in a lot of value to the class and make it more engaging.
Pursue your dream of Higher Education with Passion
When you are thinking about going back to school, you need to very clear on your goals. As you are already quite experienced, most of the times, your degree may NOT be giving you the instant return as you would expect immediately, unless it is a requirement as part of the job. If you always wanted to get higher education and experience the education system in America, it is totally fine, just go for it. Also, pursuing higher education with the goal to settle in America has to be considered with caution, with the H1B Lottery. Read Apply for MS with H1B Lottery . Also, you do NOT have to pursue MS or MBA in your same field or area, you can change your major or specialization in MS. If it was your dream to study Marketing but you somehow ended up in Computer Science in Bachelors, it is your chance to switch majors and pursue that dream. Just plan it such that your education can help you make a career transition.
If you can afford the time with family commitments and have money to fund your education, it is an enriching experience to study in America. There are so many great things about education in America, it is not about just the classes and research, it is about the activities that are part of the student life like Student Orgs , Student Leadership Activities, etc. that define the overall student life experience, … Many might question your decision as it may not be pragmatic, but what the heck? If it is your dream, go for it! Many dream, only few dare to achieve it…Are you that one?
Next steps to Study, if you decide that age is not a bar and ready to commit ?
First thing you need to do is think about your goals for studying in US, what is is your passion. Once you know what you want to achieve, you need to plan to accomplish that. Below are some steps to get started.
- Step 1 : Research for Universities that offer the Degree or program you want to pursue and create a list of the Universities that offer the degree or program you plan to pursue.
- Step 2 : Pick 4 to 5 of them universities that you plan to study based on some factors that you prefer like ranking, fees or proximity to cities, etc.
- Step 3 : Visit each of the shortlisted Universities websites and then look for requirements to get admission in those schools. Usually you need to go to the Admissions website and then to the specific School web page like School of Engineering, School of Business, etc.
- Step 4 : List down the common requirements across these schools and make it part of the plan you want to study. Usually most of them need GRE, TOEFL or IELTS.
- Step 5 : Start to apply after taking the required tests. You can write to admissions and get details as needed.
- Step 6 : After you get admission, attend visa interview as needed and then travel to study in that University. That’s it !
What do you think ? Did you choose to go back to school after significant experience ? Share your experiences