"Older" Students

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
alex
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:54 am

"Older" Students

Postby alex » Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:18 pm

Hey everybody,

A recent thread got me wondering how common/uncommon it is for someone to be applying to math grad school not directly out of college. I'll be 27 by the time I (hopefully) enroll next fall, five years after I graduated from college. I know that that doesn't make me an old older student, but I imagine that it will put me comfortably ahead in age of my classmates. It doesn't really bother me since I know that I've gotten to go out into the "real world" and have some non-math "experiences" (two years of political campaigns and three of law school if anyone is interested), but it is a little weird to think about how most of the people I once considered my math peers will have their doctorate by the time I start.

So anyway, give me a shout on this thread if you're in the same boat more or less and maybe share what you've been up to since college. Hopefully, I'm not the only one who will be turning 30 while still messing around in school.

dasgut
Posts: 250
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:20 am

Re: "Older" Students

Postby dasgut » Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:49 pm

I'm taking two years off before I go back. Having done an MS in math in two years because I entered with no background this means I will enter when I'm 26. Don't know how they'll perceive, but it sure as heck will be interesting.

Chapel
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:25 pm

Re: "Older" Students

Postby Chapel » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:21 am

I'll be 26 when I enter. Not everyone goes immediately after undergrad so I doubt I will even be the oldest person there. My dad didn't start his doctorate until he was in his fifties.

All this said, don't let it dissuade you. The time to get the PhD will pass anyway. Just think, 5 years from now do you want to have a degree, or not have a degree because you WILL be 5 years old no matter what.

cbreeden
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:37 am

Re: "Older" Students

Postby cbreeden » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:16 am

I too will be 26 upon enter graduate school. I really don't think age matters unless you are unusually young or unusually old.

Chapel
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:25 pm

Re: "Older" Students

Postby Chapel » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:59 pm

So it would appear that 27 is only slightly above average. I guess the only thing I am behind on is the possibility of winning a Fields Medal (you have to have been under 40 when you made the progress for which you are being honored).

jplusip
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:40 pm

Re: "Older" Students

Postby jplusip » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:15 pm

I'll be 27 when I start graduate school.

And come on Chapel! We've still got 13 years to get that Fields Medal! :D

Time to get crackin' on Riemann's hypothesis!

rdp_math
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:04 am

Re: "Older" Students

Postby rdp_math » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:20 am

I'll be 45, almost 46, when I start. :) I was not ready to make this kind of commitment to academic life right after I graduated. :)

alex
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:54 am

Re: "Older" Students

Postby alex » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:31 am

Hey guys, we should all go to the same program and crowd out the kids!

rdp_math, what do you do in life now?

john
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:41 pm

Re: "Older" Students

Postby john » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:27 pm

I'm 24 now, so I'll be 25 my first semester in grad school. I act and live my life like I'm about 50 though. It puts me at odds with the "O my god, like, im 21 now! lets all go 2 teh bar evry night! lol!1!!!!!!!!1!!" crowd.

Damn immature children! :mrgreen:

Chapel
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:25 pm

Re: "Older" Students

Postby Chapel » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:22 pm

jplusip wrote:I'll be 27 when I start graduate school.

And come on Chapel! We've still got 13 years to get that Fields Medal! :D

Time to get crackin' on Riemann's hypothesis!


Eh... I'm more of a P vs NP or Navier-Stokes kinda guy. :mrgreen:

trevaskis
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:33 pm

Re: "Older" Students

Postby trevaskis » Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:40 am

If I get accepted this year I'll be 24 having done five years in my undergrad institution and then a one year masters, however there's a big chance I'll do another masters at my home institution and apply again next year making me twenty five, however I'll have spent all that time in college. So I'll be pretty old but have never actually been anything but a student.

oz2
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:17 pm

Re: "Older" Students

Postby oz2 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:00 am

I'm 27 too, also a lawyer... seriously considering switching to math -- my first love -- and shooting for the phd. My big problem is that I majored in liberal arts as an undergrad (oh the regret!). Now I can't figure out how to get on the graduate studies boat. Do I have to go back and take undergrad math courses?

Any advice?

Chapel
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:25 pm

Re: "Older" Students

Postby Chapel » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:53 am

It really depends on your level of math preparedness from your undergrad. If you took a bunch of math classes and can do well on the GRE, the only difficult task is finding letters. On the other hand, it might be beneficial to try to find a masters program that will let you in so you can pad your resume with some research and make the contacts you need. No lie, you will have to work hard to get in. Luckily as someone who went to law school, you are no stranger to hard work.

alex
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:54 am

Re: "Older" Students

Postby alex » Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:52 am

oz2 wrote:I'm 27 too, also a lawyer... seriously considering switching to math -- my first love -- and shooting for the phd.


Yes, awesome, do it! Law is for chumps who never want to find a solid answer to anything. Math is where it's at!

laura
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:57 am

Re: "Older" Students

Postby laura » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:00 am

That's me! Hopefully if I'm accepted, would be starting at the age of 27. Been working in the internet industry for past 5 years, but want to go back to school for math :D

Glad to hear I'm not the only one.

alex
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:54 am

Re: "Older" Students

Postby alex » Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:05 pm

So did any of you recently have the pleasure of taking (or retaking) the math gre after several years of being completely out of practice like me?

Chapel
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:25 pm

Re: "Older" Students

Postby Chapel » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:08 pm

Yeah, I really felt that my Masters involved MUCH different skills than are tested on the GRE. There was a lot of "getting back into the test" for me.

User avatar
lime
Posts: 129
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:11 am

Re: "Older" Students

Postby lime » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:58 am

I myself was 28 when got into my graduate program.

Ergodic
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:07 pm

Re: "Older" Students

Postby Ergodic » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:04 am

And I'll be 29 when I start (again) next year. Iain'tscurred.

congvan
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:44 am

Re: "Older" Students

Postby congvan » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:14 am

I'll be 26 next year and hopefully can start the grad fun :)

jplusip
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:40 pm

Re: "Older" Students

Postby jplusip » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:49 pm

So are you fellow late bloomers planning on pursuing a career in academics or in the industry? Are you guys going for your PhD or your Masters?


Personally, I'm thinking I may just get a masters doing my coursework in Probability/Combinatorics. Unfortunately, I'm a hardcore analyst at heart (especially complex analysis), but given that I would likely be getting the PhD at the tender age of 32(!), and considering visiting professorships and the 6 years it takes for tenure, that would have me getting tenured around 40. And if I got turned down for tenure... yeesh. :shock:

So I'm thinking instead I'll study the aforementioned subjects and go for a career in cryptography/cryptanalysis.

But I would be interested to read what you guys' plans are! :)

Ergodic
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:07 pm

Re: "Older" Students

Postby Ergodic » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:59 pm

jplusip wrote:Unfortunately, I'm a hardcore analyst at heart (especially complex analysis),


If you're a hardcore analyst, do analysis. Don't waste the next decade of your life in woulda coulda shouldas.




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