(Closed) Did anybody go to grad school years after they finished undergrad?

posted 5 years ago in College
Post # 3
Member
1455 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Both my dad and my husband’s dad did this. I don’t know all the details of the letters and such, but it is possible. 

Post # 4
Member
2559 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I worked for two years between undergrad and grad school, but that’s advised in psychology and I was working in a clinic where I could get my letters of rec.  Just get some on-the-job experience and keep in touch with a prof or two. When you request the letters, send your CV, some papers, a brief paragraph describing your grad school desires, and a picture of yourself.

Post # 6
Member
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Hi! I’m in grad school not for my teaching degree and planing on eventually going back for my psychology master’s after getting a bachelor’s in psychology. I volunteer at a local senior citizen home making connection with the deparment head there and my super visor. I’ve also kept in contact with my college professors for psychology by having lunch every couple of months. For lab experience, you could try the US Jobs website, they have some openings! Best of luck!

Post # 7
Member
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Try and keep in touch with some of your profs, if possible. Depending on how many they teach, they may not otherwise remember you, especially if they teach larger classes rather than smaller seminars. Keeping your papers is a start, and when you’re ready to apply, the PP’s suggestion is good about sending your CV, your MA application info, and a brief reminder of who you are, what classes you took with them, what your area of interest is.

In terms of if their contact info changes, etc, I guarantee you’ll be able to find them no matter what. Academics really don’t disappear – if they go to a new school or another organization, a google search will get you to them quickly. Department secretaries/office coordinators are also very likely to have forwarding information for professors who move on, so really don’t worry about that part of things.

Post # 8
Member
1628 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

@MrsCreeToBe:  I’m in a psych phd program and this year the only students we accepted had all taken 2 years off….they were working as full-time researchers or lab managers

Go ahead and request letters of rec right now. Most schools have a folio system or something that will hold onto those letters for you, or simply ask the prof to save the letter to their computer and say you are 100% certain you’ll be applying after 1-2 years. Most are happy to do it.

To find lab work…check out USAjobs but also join listservs for professional societies doing work you’re interested in…I get emails every week advertising lab manager/researcher positions for people graduating college but intending to eventually go to grad school.  What are your specific areas of interest?

Post # 9
Member
2559 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@MrsCreeToBe:  I managed an anxiety clinic at the university I graduated from for 2 years, heading the research on the patients and managing the grad students, front desk, etc. I found it through my professor – I volunteered with him for my senior thesis and he offered me the job upon graduation. Lots of university labs look for fulltime help, I would check out listings on the department websites as well as individual lab websites, make some email contacts, and see what’s out there. In my experience, the labs don’t post on Craigslist, they go through more formal academic channels. Feel free to PM me if you have any more specific answers I can help with – I just started grad school this year so the app process is fresh in my mind!

Post # 10
Member
1406 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I waited 8 years before I went to grad school.  I was thrilled to actually finish my undergrad (took 6 years b/c I transferred schools and lost a lot of hours) that I was DONE with school.  My ex-H and I talked about going back all the time but we were still paying on his student loans. 

We paid his loans off early and when he deployed, I “needed” something to keep me busy so I went back.  My MBA program was geared more towards people who had “real life work experience” so I’m glad I waited.  There were many many women in the program who got their bachelors, got married, and were SAHMs.  They were the ones that had the hardest time with papers/projects since they had never used their undergrad degree. 

Post # 11
Member
587 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I did this, I went back about 5 years after undergrad. Just keep in touch with people. Grad school also accepts your supervisors at work. I had one professor, one supervisor and my current boss at the time. It was a very pretigious program with a 3.5% acceptance rate and if they accepted it, I imagine that’s the norm. Definitely keep in touch with professors though regardless, always good to have contacts in the industry.

Post # 12
Member
2889 posts
Sugar bee

I took 2 years off between my MBA and PhD. Since I had not planned on the PhD I just emailed my MBA advisor for a letter. However, I think you could get letters now. In my case both asking for letters and now writing them for students, the professor will often give the letter directly to the student unless the program forbids that. So, request 2-3 references from Profs. now and save them for your applications. 

Post # 13
Member
587 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@slicey19:  to follow up on this advice — a lot of schools use an online system now that requires the person to upload the letter online so that there’s no fraud. Requesting the letters now may put OP in the awkward position of having to ask someone twice

Post # 14
Member
998 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I went back after a few years, but I used previous and current supervisors as my letters of recommendation. I think this was actually the preferred method for my program. 

Post # 15
Member
1304 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I had a 4 year gap between finishing undergrad and starting my masters degree.  So, I asked for recommendation letters 3 years after I graduated (and 4-5 years after I had been in class with the professor in some cases).  I had a great relationship with this one professor, so when I emailed him he recognized me immediately and was more than happy to help me out.

If you got a good grade in the professor’s class s/he will probably write you a recommendation regardless of whether or not s/he remembers you.  I am pretty sure that happened with my second recommender, though he was polite and did not actually admit to not remembering me.  In his case, he asked me to draft a letter for him.  I don’t know if he edited it or not before sending it along.

If you are thinking about grad school, why not reach out to a few professors now?  You can ask them to schedule a phone call or meet for coffee and discuss your plans with them.  If you do a little research about which programs / schools interest you, then you will come across as well-informed during the conversation.  This way you can get some feedback regarding whether your grad school game plan makes sense, and they are more likely to remember you in a couple of years when you ask for a recommendation.  You can follow up with a polite email reminder / check-in once or twice a year until you’re ready to apply.

Post # 16
Member
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

If I were you, I would let the profs I would like letters from know I was planning on going in a few years and would like to ask them for recommendation letters then– that gives them the chance to jot down some notes now for later, if they want to, or do nothing if they want to do that.  They also might have some good advice for you, so you could pose the question as asking for advice on when to go to grad school, etc. and then bring it up when you are talking. 

I’ve been asked by students for letters quite a bit.  It is often a year or more since they’ve had my class, so that shouldn’t be too big of a deal timewise.  But, the more recent it has been, the more detail I’m able to put in the letter. 

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