Post # 1
I graduated with my bachelors 4 years ago, and now want to go back to get my masters. I guess I am feeling very insecure about the whole thing. I don’t mind being an “older” student (27 by the time school would start) but here are some issues I’m facing:
1) How to do this when my life is already “settled”? Darling Husband and I own a house and have a kitty. He’s been at the same company for 10 years and cannot just up and move. Do you live apart for however long the program takes? Any experiences?
2) I haven’t kept in touch with any professors. So how do I ask for rec letters? I feel like some will remember me because I took multiple classes with each professor. But this makes me nervous lol
3) Since I graduated, I really haven’t had a “real” job. I have a very general degree. How do I convey that this degree is really my passion even though I haven’t done anything related for 4 years? (I applied to jobs in the field, just never got any).
I talked to an acquaintance who graduated from the program I want to apply for. He said I sound very motivated, passionate, and prepared which made me hopeful. I am just so nervous and have a lot of doubts.
Has anyone been back to school later in life and can offer any insight or experiences? I’d appreciate it!
Post # 2
1. It might be easiest to apply to local colleges. Do you know what you want to focus on? You could always get general education courses out of the way locally then go to a specialized school to graduate. I am lucky that I have an excellent school for what I am studying where we live. Otherwise it would be tough to move
2. Rec letters years after undergrad come from employers. I took a few undergraduate classes to ‘catch-up’ to the Master’s program as my BFA is very different. Those professors gave my rec letters. You may have to do the same since your undergrad degree is general
3. It usually doesn’t matter what your background is in as long as you have something related to the program you want to go into. Talk to an advisor at a local college.
Edit- By The Way, I started my Masters at 32
Post # 3
theatrejulia : Thanks for the reply! When I say my degree is “general” I mean I have an English degree which is pretty broad but I could never get a proper job with it. I have all the required credits for the masters.
The school I want to attend is my alma mater, and it’s about 3.5 hours from where we live now. Is that too far? I just feel like my husband would NOT be enthused with this even though he wants me to do what I want and be happy.
There are no schools that offer the program within my area. Any school I attend would be a couple hour drive.
Post # 4
mrshmc1204 : What about distance courses? I’m looking into my masters now and many are offered online. I suppose it could depend on what field it is, but it seems to be a viable option for many people and it opens you up to a lot more programs, not just the ones nearby.
Post # 5
1) Second the idea of looking for something locally, but I also knew quite a few people in grad school who just lived apart from their spouses and went home on breaks or for trips. I’m talking East/West Coast and international even. In the grand scheme of pursuing your passion, what’s two years apart? Edit based on your reply, yeah 3.5 is fine. You can be home with him Friday night and back at school Monday morning, it’s not bad. Be prepared for the costs of maintaining two households, though; look for other grad students to room share.
2) I also took my undergrad courses in the field I wanted to get into to prep for grad school and those profs wrote my letters. But (recent) employers would work too.
3) Taking some undergrad courses in it would also help show you’re serious. Even online courses for sure! It’s not about having enough “required” courses as it is showing you are serious about it and that you know enough about it. Or find a way to volunteer in something tangentially related to it in some way. Hard to say without knowing what it is.
Some general notes — don’t worry about age. It doesn’t matter anyway, but if it did, you’re still “young” by grad school standards lol. Don’t jump straight into applying. I think your concerns reflect situations you should consider. It’s not necessarily the lack of someone to write a letter or not having background in it in terms of getting in, but taking those steps to make yourself more marketable also actually just re-affirm that it’s the right choice. Grad school looks a lot more attractive when you can’t find a job but it isn’t necessarily the answer. You’ll set yourself up for more success by taking the long view and doing some more leg work as prep first. Good luck!
Edit — my first BA is in English. I went back for a second BA (only needed one semester to convert a minor to a full degree) in the social sciences and then got my PhD in it as well.
Post # 6
Thanks for advice everyone!
To be clear, the program I want to apply for is Student Affairs in Higher Education. They accept people from all undergrad fields (nursing, English, biology, criminal justice, etc). I know a few people accepted immediately after undergrad who had stats very similar to mine. I was very involved on campus and that would reflect well on my app.
I’m not sure I can take courses for it because the degree is pretty “specialized” and according to the website, it looks like you can’t just take classes, you have to be accepted to the program.
By The Way I am employed and have never had trouble getting jobs lol. The problem is just I’m sick of working jobs and want a career in something I’m passionate about!
Post # 7
I am usually all for pursuing your passion and I still think you should but I do think you should give serious thought to the impact that can have on your marriage. Long distance is not easy, are there no programs available where you live that lent require you to live separately?
Post # 8
If there are no local universities you’d like to attend for the degree, then doesn’t that mean there are no local universities you would want to work at after completing it? That would be my only concern. If you don’t want to uproot your life now, you probably won’t want to in 2 years either.
Post # 9
Make sure the cost is worth the lost earnings and debt. I contemplated grad school after undergrad but I’m so glad in retrospect that I didn’t – after working for a few years I ended up in a totally different field than I would have ever thought.
On another note, my fiancé and I are long distance and…don’t under estimate how freaking hard it is. It takes incredible communication lines between the two of you, so make a scheduled plan for seeing each other and a regular date night.
I don’t mean to discourage you from higher ed – I’m all for women getting grad degrees – but think through the cost/benefit carefully first, and the long distance stress.
Post # 10
Anon721 : sorry if I wasn’t clear before! There are no universities around that offer the program I want to do. There are a few large universities about 45+ minutes from where I live now, and my commute to work is already 40 mins so that’s no problem for the future/ jobs.
lawrenceofarabia : thanks for the honest reply! I will admit that I put off grad school this long because I didn’t know if the cost would be worth it or not, so that’s definitely a huge concern of mine. Darling Husband and I started our relationship long distance and it was hard, but I have faith we would figure it out.
sortawaitingbee : no schools in my area offer the program 😓 My husband has supported me wanting me to go back to school, but I haven’t spoken to him about the distance aspect. If he were offered a job 500 miles away I’d be like “sure!!!” Hopefully he would support me the same way, which I think he would. I would consider online schooling but I feel the degree I want requires hands-on learning, it’s not a field like accounting, ya know?
Post # 11
1) If you both already own a house, it would be a lot to ask your husband to just up and move to where your alma mater is, especially if it meant he had to quit his job, you guys sell your house, etc… Question is — would it be easy for your husband to find a new job and are you guys prepared to move? Given your undergrad degree in English, there are probably some online master’s programs out there for you. What do you want your master’s in? What program are you looking at?
2) Years after college, you should be getting rec letters from your current employers. Since you are not employed, are you involved with any organizations who could write about your work ethic or even something related to what characteristics they’re looking for in your program?
3) You can talk about specific characteristics of yours that demonstrate your fit for the program and give specific examples.
Maybe this summer or while you guys decide on things, you can take time to volunteer in your community or do some sort of internship that you can use as experience that demonstrates your passion for whatever your masters focus is…?
Post # 12
1) I went back to get a Masters when I was 29. It was clear across the country from where my now-fiance then live-in-boyfirend and I had set up our lives. The program was only two years and I didn’t want to uproot him when my plan was to move back after the program. It truly did suck being 3000 miles apart, but I kept my eyes on the prize and coped. Others in my program had their spouses/partners move with them and it worked out for most of them. The spouses were able to get jobs or were able to focus on raising their families. Depending on the length of the program, long distance is doable but it’s clearly less than ideal.
2) You won’t know until you ask. If you’ve saved any papers you wrote or remember what your grades were from then, maybe use those to jar their memories. You can also give them a brag sheet – a sheet where you list all of your accomplishments and outline your aspirations that will help them as they write recommendations.
3) Do you have any volunteer experiences in the field? Any involvement with non-profits in that area? Have you taken any courses at a local community college or extension school in that area?
I echo what another poster said about thinking through the financials. You might have to take on a lot of debt and you’ll forfeit your earnings for hoewver many years you’re in the program. If you aren’t getting a return on your investment (in the form of a much higher salary), then I’d proceed with caution. Money is only one part of the equation. If you’re really passionate about this field, then the emotional pay off might be enough but make sure this degree will propel you into that field. Hope this helps.