Is it ever too late to do a degree?

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Bocicowo
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With the majority of people studying at university between the 18 and 21 age range, is there a point after this when going to university becomes a pointless exercise? Whilst the experience would be good, it seems that unless you start early, then it becomes more difficult to learn and more difficult to take advantage of the degree afterwards (i.e. in a career sense). That and the fact is if you start later, you're already years behind many graduates who have already had an early start in their careers.

I appreciate that many people do go back to university after pursuing a career or to undertake a Masters, however I am referring to people who have never done a degree before and are doing so for the first time later in life (i.e. after 30). Would doing this by this time be too late to reap the full benefits from it?
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999tigger
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Nope its absolutely fine, although the experience will differ slightly because you arent an 18 year old but someone whio has seen more of life. If you feel ready for it , then definitely give it a go.

If you dont have the A levels then you will probably want to do an access course. You will be fine.
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Clur.M.
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I would say go for it, I'm 35 and I graduated this summer. In September I start my MA, if I am able to I would like to undertake a PhD, this means I'd be nearing 40 when I am qualified.

Initially I thought, 'well that's it, I'm too old', until I met one of my lecturers, she studied for an undergrad degree after having a career, she then did her MA and PhD then went on to curate, lecture and write books. Meeting her made me realise that if she can do it, I can do it.

Most people nowadays have more than one career, I've already had two successful ones, so a third isn't unrealistic for me and a new career won't be unrealistic for you either.

Good luck in your future studies, it will be overwhelming at times, but the bonus of being older is that you will appreciate it much more!
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Schadenfreude65
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I don't think it becomes harder to learn when you are older. I started my degree (MSci in Astrophysics) at the age of 49, and after 2nd year, I'm working at the level of a first so far. What effects my age will have on job prospects remains to be seen, but if I were graduating in my 30s rather than my 50s, I really don't think it would be an issue.
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BexiG
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I'm about to start my masters next month and I just turned 32. Never too late. In fact the older I've become, the more I love learning. I honestly don't know how 18 year olds do university, I could barely write an essay in Secondary School lol. I would love to do a Phd in the future as well, but sometime in early retirement :P
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Ftmshk
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I agree it's never too late. Mature students usually do well as they are more determined and appreciate the value of education having been out of it for years.


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Cazcardiff
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I'm about to start my second degree in September, it has a very high intake of mature students, who, according to the course leader, generally graduate with a much better class than the younger students.
I'm 40, and I view University this time round totally different. First time, it was about moving away from family, being independent, social life and having my whole life ahead of me.
This time I see study as a full time job and will work that way, I understand his much time and effort is needed to put in to come out with a good degree. Life experience also makes you view things a little different. For example, I have a fair amount of experience working with young children (and raising my own 3) and so now coming across children in my new career, I have skills and tactics that I can use, that I never had at 18/21.

I recently met a lady that did a career change and went back to uni at 62! She now runs her own business!
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~Tara~
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the retirement age continues to rise. Can be almost sure that I have another 40 years worth of work (joyous). Not everyone does a degree for the job prospects but if I were 50+ that's still 10-20 years of work. You also would have 20+ years of work experience behind you. Maybe you've had children so not likely to take maternity or paternity leave. Older workers are deemed more reliable than younger workers - who have less responsibilities and seen as more flighty. Not always fairly of course.

Not everyone gets a degree to change career. Some do it to get promotions because the advert stipulates degree as a minimum requirement. When that person has 20 years of industry relevant experience, plus degree and is probably likely to have taken unofficial leadership role in team before..hands down a better candidate for senior role than fresh faced graduate.
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Nim_123
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No, my mum is 32 at uni, she just finished her first year of masters with no degree due to experience.
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DanielleT192
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I'd say go for it! It's never too late to go to uni and age isn't really as much of an issue these days.

It's quite nice knowing so many more people are going back to uni or going for the first time when they're older. I'm 24 and found that when I was 17, I wasn't ready for uni (didn't have a clue what I wanted to do and thus quit after a year). Being a mature student gives you the advantage of experience and putting more value in learning. *
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Claire461
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Left school at 15 in 1963 (school leaving age then). No qualifications. Brought up in care, little or no education. I have 7 children. I completed an Access to the Humanities course in 1998, and got onto a Criminology degree in 1999. One daughter had a little boy who was very poorly so had to leave uni. Took custody, never sent him to school, homeschooled him. He's 17 now and at college and I went back to uni last year to re-start my Criminology degree. I'm 68 and just finished my first year.
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InArduisFouette
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people saying 40 is too late are quite frankly bonkers , if you graduate at 40 you have 25 -27 years still to go to state pension age ...
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Claire461
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(Original post by Bocicowo)
With the majority of people studying at university between the 18 and 21 age range, is there a point after this when going to university becomes a pointless exercise? Whilst the experience would be good, it seems that unless you start early, then it becomes more difficult to learn and more difficult to take advantage of the degree afterwards (i.e. in a career sense). That and the fact is if you start later, you're already years behind many graduates who have already had an early start in their careers.

I appreciate that many people do go back to university after pursuing a career or to undertake a Masters, however I am referring to people who have never done a degree before and are doing so for the first time later in life (i.e. after 30). Would doing this by this time be too late to reap the full benefits from it?
I was taken into care at birth in 1948. I, along with thousands of other children suffered decades of sexual, emotional and physical abuse, compliments of the Catholic Church. We were barely fed, never mind educated, and my main focus as a child until I left was getting out of there alive and sane.
I brought up my 7 kids, and one grandchild and I am now 68 and just finished my first year at uni. I don't need a career, so I'm not competing with those young people on the same degree as me. The State and the Catholic Church deprived me of a childhood and an education. I can't get back my childhood, but I'm sure as hell taking my crack at education now.
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Annie20951
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You've referenced a lot about careers/jobs in your questions about uni. It's not all about the job - you learn an awful lot on a uni course which is just plain interesting haha! If you're considering a degree for a career change, don't be scared, jump! You won't have the classic 'uni experience' but you will meet lots of interesting people of all backgrounds and ages which will expand your world immeasurably. Many women in their 30's retrain after having kids, and love their new careers. My old boss did her PGCE at the age of 45 and (less than a decade later) is a headteacher! How's that for career progression?

If you need any more inspiration, there was a guy on First Dates last week who was 76 and studying for a Business degree. It's never too late!
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Klix88
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I started my degree at 44. I then did a Masters and most of a PhD. I now work (on and off!) at my undergrad/PhD uni and love it. Swapping away from my pre-uni career was the best move I ever made. Totally worthwhile!
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K.Y.D
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Few years ago doing a Life Sciences Foundation degree at the age of 28 and there was a man in our class who was at least 82, definitely 80 something. It was nearly 10 years ago so can't really remember.

Also, im 36 and will be starting my LLB Law Hons Degree in Sep 2019. I was worried about my age too starting the course. Omg getting palps just thinking about it 🤦... I've had a few jobs and college/uni courses in between - I'm always doing something - i hope i make some focused, dedicated friends... wish me luck!
Good luck to you too! X
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Liverpool Hope University
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hi there Bocicowo

I'm just going to add to all the replies you've had off people saying its NEVER too late or a futile exercise to go to university as a mature student!

I went back to uni over the age of 40 and now have my MSc and MRes. Even if you never intend on doing anything with the degrees and they're for your own personal satisfaction, the experience and sense of accomplishment in completing a degree is more than worth it.

As many replies have said, your skills and experience will make some of the planning around setting yourself goals with essays and assignments much easier, so I say go for it and enjoy every minute! I never regretted a minute of mine and only wish I could do it all over again. (18 year old me would have laughed if someone had said I'd love learning!)

Good luck!

Fi :horse:
(Original post by Bocicowo)
With the majority of people studying at university between the 18 and 21 age range, is there a point after this when going to university becomes a pointless exercise? Whilst the experience would be good, it seems that unless you start early, then it becomes more difficult to learn and more difficult to take advantage of the degree afterwards (i.e. in a career sense). That and the fact is if you start later, you're already years behind many graduates who have already had an early start in their careers.

I appreciate that many people do go back to university after pursuing a career or to undertake a Masters, however I am referring to people who have never done a degree before and are doing so for the first time later in life (i.e. after 30). Would doing this by this time be too late to reap the full benefits from it?
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Alzir
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I went back as a 33 year old i think, and I'm back again at 38 on a graduate medical degree, it's definitely never too late.

It'll be a struggle at first getting back into the way of study, but uni's recognise that and there is support if you need it. The kids can be annoying but you might be surprised by the age of people you eventually make friends with. You also become a kind of mentor for them, and uni's know that, and value that.

It's also a myth that people can't learn as well when they're older, we just learn differently. The biggest difference is we understand the importance of learning concepts over facts, or rather, you learn the concept first, then go for the facts. Anyone can do it no matter the age, provided you're in good enough health and able to get enough financial support/have the finances to support any commitments you have (that's the biggest challenge).
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Lizzm
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Hi

I am a mature student at 36, i previously ran a business and decided life was to stressful with the worries of the financial climate. I had experience working with the public and found there were gaps in knowledge around mental health.
I made the choice to change my life.
IT IS THE BEST CHOICE EVER!
I have met some amazing people, done things i would of never done and been places i didn't even know existed. it has helped my family time to as i now study a lot from home and get to see my boy every night which was very rare when i works 50 odd hours a week for nothing. There are people of all ages and backgrounds at my Uni and this helps to grow knowledge around different areas.
Don't ever think you are too old, you only live once take the bull by the horns and go for it.
(Original post by Bocicowo)
With the majority of people studying at university between the 18 and 21 age range, is there a point after this when going to university becomes a pointless exercise? Whilst the experience would be good, it seems that unless you start early, then it becomes more difficult to learn and more difficult to take advantage of the degree afterwards (i.e. in a career sense). That and the fact is if you start later, you're already years behind many graduates who have already had an early start in their careers.

I appreciate that many people do go back to university after pursuing a career or to undertake a Masters, however I am referring to people who have never done a degree before and are doing so for the first time later in life (i.e. after 30). Would doing this by this time be too late to reap the full benefits from it?
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DGBunch
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(Original post by Schadenfreude65)
I don't think it becomes harder to learn when you are older. I started my degree (MSci in Astrophysics) at the age of 49, and after 2nd year, I'm working at the level of a first so far. What effects my age will have on job prospects remains to be seen, but if I were graduating in my 30s rather than my 50s, I really don't think it would be an issue.
I'm almost 48 and thinking of starting a degree with the OU. Since you wrote this 4 years ago, did your age make any difference to your job prospects? How have employers reacted to you? I left school with no qualifications (I left just before my A level exams to work because we needed the money) and then got caught up with work and then family life. Now all of my children are at least in secondary school I want to get back in to a profession.
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