Anyone go back to school later in life?

Cpb2020

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Yes. Optometry school at IU when I was 38 - a 4-year program. Took me a while to clear the 15 years of cobwebs since my BS. First semester GPA was 1.8 as I recall. I clawed my way out of the hole and eventually did well when seeing patients and not memorizing formulas. If I can do it, anyone can. Still paying off the loans 25 years later...
My oldest, now in HS, wants to be an optometrist. I know that the ROI isn’t great, so we’re discussing state schools for both undergrad and optometry school. The tough part as I understand it is that the business model has been changing for optometry, such as it is tougher to make money on frames if you have a full service store.
 

pope858

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I was 51 years old when I completed a BS in Public Administration at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. While the degree was an asset, my age was a detriment to any significant advancement where I worked and I retired 6 years later. I am proud of myself for completing the degree I essentially started in the early 80's, but stopped at an Associate degree. I also agree with some other comments about the positive effects it had on both my kids, to see their (divorced) Dad working long hours to make everything work. My son completed a Bachelors degree and my daughter had a Masters, while both were in their 20's. I always told them to get this out of the way early, and it would pay dividends over time. Who knew they were listening!
 

Jazzcaster21

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Did you feel as out of place on a college campus as I did today? At almost 42 I'm officially a college student again. I wasn't even in a class, just going to meet with my advisor, but I felt so...old :rolleyes:. It was an odd feeling really, because the campus was just like I remembered it, and I attended there for literally 10 years right out of high school, full and part time.

In that span I got an AS degree in drafting and was one class away from my AA in general studies with the intent of transferring to the local university for a BS in civil engineering (hopefully). Then in 2008, over a span of 4 months my wife got laid off (for the second time by the same company), I took a $10/hr pay cut to keep MY job, and we found out we were having our first kid, the economy tanked and school didn't seem like such a priority.

3 kids and 14 years later I finally took the leap and re-enrolled, after hemming and hawing about the idea for several years. Now thanks to some new state requirements I actually need 2 classes to finish my AA, but nothing major.
I got my BA in Music Therapy and graduated when I was 41; 7 years ago. I went back to community college at 37 to get my core classes and then finished my undergrad and intership by the time I was 41. It just about killed me too.

You are never too old to learn something new or go back to school to further your education or get a higher degree for better pay, etc. The question of course is the money and the time.

Congratulations and good luck!
 

Whatizitman

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There is a short-cut to the degree if you just want to write a check.

When I was working in the nuclear power field, I was told that a lot of former nuke sub guys got their degrees at an online college in less than 4 months time. I contacted that school (well known and fully accredited by the way) and they sent me the information packet.

Basically, you could get credits for life experiences towards your degree....and they were VERY generous with the credits. They would take your work history and any other pertinent experiences and would evaluate how many credits it is worth towards the degree. All you had to do was write the check to pay for all those credits as if you earned them as a student and you had them towards your degree.

In my case, I would have needed another 32 hours if I enrolled in the local college, but I only needed 9 through this online program after I write the check. Those 9 were just the generic pre-reqs for the college and didn't even have anything to do with the degree discipline.

I didn't do it though as I really didn't want to write that check (approx $10k), but an aweful lot of nuclear power plant operators went that route after leaving the Navy.

Did they, though?

How long ago was this? There's been a lot more scrutiny and dismissal of diploma mills IME, than not. For good reason. Even in the current era of for-profit schools, this doesn't fly. HR depts, feds/GI-bill, DOE, regional accreditations, and students who have been ripped off in the past are all wise to it.

Lots of veterans have been royally screwed by this type of thing, unfortunately.
 

BigDaddyLH

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Working on behalf of his widow to track any pension entitlement he might have, I started working through his LinkedIn entry. I found that he had City & Guilds qualifications in motor mechanics, gained whilst he was training as a legal executive. A BSc degree, gained in his late 30's from a university which I cannot trace on Google, and a Masters degree five years ago, gained whilst working in Malta, from a Philippines university which has no record of offering the subject. If my little brother can manage to accumulate all these qualifications having left school at 16, we have no excuse for not bettering ourselves.

He missed his calling: a degree in creative writing.
 

mudbelly

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Had a job layoff and a lot of coworkers moaned and still miss the old job. I graduated as a Physical therapist assistant at age 50. Very rewarding. I retired at age 62. Now I'm 65.

I did not particularly enjoy school but the program was good, I was good at the job and that layoff was one of the best things to happen to me
 

Whatizitman

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My brother died last year, aged 62. He always tried to do the opposite of what I did. He passed his 11 plus, but managed to persuade my parents not to send him to grammar school. I was 18 when I went on to study for a degree, whilst that same summer he left school at 16 to work as a trainee legal executive. After a couple of years he left the solicitors by mutual agreement, and after a period of unemployment became a warranty clerk with a Volvo truck agency. He spent the rest of his life in the motor industry, progressing to high level positions, including eight years running the largest Toyota Landcruiser agency in Africa, Sunseeker North Africa, VAG & Mercedes Iraq, Hyundia Libya, and finally a VAG agency in Myanmar.

Working on behalf of his widow to track any pension entitlement he might have, I started working through his LinkedIn entry. I found that he had City & Guilds qualifications in motor mechanics, gained whilst he was training as a legal executive. A BSc degree, gained in his late 30's from a university which I cannot trace on Google, and a Masters degree five years ago, gained whilst working in Malta, from a Philippines university which has no record of offering the subject. If my little brother can manage to accumulate all these qualifications having left school at 16, we have no excuse for not bettering ourselves.

He was a very high ranking manager in a multi-national company, but has no pension?

OK. How do I put this nicely..... There might be other reasons for his accomplishments (whatever they may actually be). Some people have, shall we say, a particular gift for persuasion.
 

JL_LI

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Continuing education is a fact if life for degreed professionals. Sometimes it’s required to keep a license. Sometimes it’s required by an employer. Sometimes it’s required for advancement. Sometimes it’s informal, as it was for me when my son went for a degree in bioengineering and optical engineering at University of Rochester. I bought the books and downloaded lecture notes and went through the program with him. There was a lot I missed, even with a masters degree. I kept it up when he went for his PhD.

You attend all lectures and run lab sessions when you’re commercial faculty at short courses. They’re invaluable. Professional society meetings are a great place to catch up with acquaintances, but more importantly they present great opportunities to take short courses and attend symposia and lectures. I also picked up certifications along the way, laser safety officer for one. Which brings me to my last point.

Teach. It forces you to keep your knowledge current, have a deep understanding of the material you’re presenting, and organize your presentations so they are understood by everyone taking a class.

Back to school? I never left while I was working. I’m retired now with my health issues resolved, at least temporarily. I think I need a fill in the blanks astrophysics course. I’ve only learned about that informally.
 

Whatizitman

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He missed his calling: a degree in creative writing.


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sammy123

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I went back for an IT Management masters at 37. It took me 2.5 years while working full time. In that time we got a puppy and had a baby. I remember giving a presentation in the hallway of the hospital while my wife was recovering from a c-section. Wild times. I wish I had done it sooner. I probably talked about it for 10 years. Some of the more technical stuff was a struggle, but I powered through. I was not the oldest, but I still felt old sometimes. However, I got into a good group with some of the younger kids for a handful of the classes and that really helped. It's so funny to me that most of the kids are on their laptops not even paying attention while I am scribbling away taking notes the entire time. I don't know how they get passing grades.
 

P Thought

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I'd be a professional student if I could.
:lol:My sister (she's gone now) had two bachelor's and two master's degrees, and she continued taking college classes after that, crashing them sometimes too. I used to tease her about whether they offered retirement programs for students.
 

bettyseldest

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He was a very high ranking manager in a multi-national company, but has no pension?

OK. How do I put this nicely..... There might be other reasons for his accomplishments (whatever they may actually be). Some people have, shall we say, a particular gift for persuasion.
In twenty odd years in the UK he worked for around 12 companies. I have located the pension covering about ten years, and his UK state pension contributions. Transfer of that pension pot to his widow will complete next month. I'm still trying to locate any funds he was entitled to from employment in the 80's, some of those firms no longer exist.

As for his international employment, much of that was as a contractor or working through his own company, where it was up to him to deal with his own pension arrangements. His pension arrangement, a beach resort a hour or two to the north of Manilla, was sold last year to make life simpler for his widow.
 

Whatizitman

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:lol:My sister (she's gone now) had two bachelor's and two master's degrees, and she continued taking college classes after that, crashing them sometimes too. I used to tease her about whether they offered retirement programs for students.

If the "best" teachers are (at least in theory) the ones who teach purely for the love of it, then maybe I could find a few who would pay me to learn from them.

How is that any different than what graduate students do already?

Hmmm. I need to update my VITA. Does this suit match my parachute color?
 

bettyseldest

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Teach. It forces you to keep your knowledge current, have a deep understanding of the material you’re presenting, and organize your presentations so they are understood by everyone taking a class.

Having taken a Maths degree in later life, the one thing I used it for was to teach. Once I retired I did a day a week at the local secondary school as a voluntary tutor. I ran small group sessions for talented kids who struggled with Maths. These were kids who had a talent for something other than Maths, but needed GCSE Maths in order to stay on into the sixth form, get into technical college or start an apprenticeship. I had kids who wanted to be motor mechanics, plumbers, chefs and even teachers who just needed a little help to overcome the hurdle of GCSE Maths, in order to become the person they wanted to be. Most of them achieved the qualification, allowing them to progress, and in the process gained a lot of confidence and belief in themselves. A cancer diagnosis followed shortly by the start of the COVID pandemic put an end to that after only two years, but I'm hopeful of starting again, maybe next September.
 

Mjark

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I once thought about law school but I didn’t even finish my BA. When I looked at my transcript it was not as I recalled! It’s just as well.

However there shouldn’t be any stigma to going back for more education for any reason.
 

BigDaddyLH

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Teach. It forces you to keep your knowledge current, have a deep understanding of the material you’re presenting, and organize your presentations so they are understood by everyone taking a class.

All very true! I was a "sessional lecturer" at Uni for a couple semesters, but what really taught me to teach was 5 years at a training place, teaching full-time, where my marching orders were written on the back of an envelope: 4 months on Java, 2 months on databases, etc...

I never had any instruction on how to teach. I don't know how good I was, but I enjoyed doing it.
 

wrathfuldeity

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If the "best" teachers are (at least in theory) the ones who teach purely for the love of it, then maybe I could find a few who would pay me to learn from them.

How is that any different than what graduate students do already?

Hmmm. I need to update my VITA. Does this suit match my parachute color?
While structured education is a good thing...but its not the end all or be all. And that's were experience counts. In my career, even a masters and phd was just scratching the surface. There were many times, the model was, see one, do one and teach one...sink or swim. But if you could at least tread water then there was the experience of jumping in the deep end...in a sense like jamming...some body does a little ditto and you jump in...hell of a lot of fun...it generally turns out fine.

Now at 63, setting up a start up to teach the more down and dirty esoteric stuff that is imho where the real mastery is, instead of it just being a job and paycheck.
 

Milspec

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Did they, though?

How long ago was this? There's been a lot more scrutiny and dismissal of diploma mills IME, than not. For good reason. Even in the current era of for-profit schools, this doesn't fly. HR depts, feds/GI-bill, DOE, regional accreditations, and students who have been ripped off in the past are all wise to it.

Lots of veterans have been royally screwed by this type of thing, unfortunately.

It was about 8 years ago actually....if I recall right, it was Thomas Edison State out of NJ.
 

Chester P Squier

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I got my BA in Music Therapy and graduated when I was 41; 7 years ago. I went back to community college at 37 to get my core classes and then finished my undergrad and intership by the time I was 41. It just about killed me too.

You are never too old to learn something new or go back to school to further your education or get a higher degree for better pay, etc. The question of course is the money and the time.

Congratulations and good luck!
Tell me about your Music Therapy career. Sometimes I wish I had done that for a living.

My first degree was in Music Education, but I taught for only eight years and got out.
 

Engine Swap

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Frankly, I think you’d be mad to pay out of pocket to go back to college unless you need a very specific degree in order to get a very specific job.

I took advantage of my company’s tuition reimbursement benefit to pay for my MA. It was $10K a year and covered everything. I was surprised at how few people took advantage of this at my company.

Three years after I got the degree, 2008 hit and they laid off 300+ people, including me. Having the degree helped get a better job in less than 2 months.

I would encourage anyone whose company offers tuition reimbursement to look into it.
 




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