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Graduate schools welcome older adults

Sunday, February 23, 2014
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Graduate schools welcome older adults
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As plenty of older adults have proven, higher education is not just for students in their 20s. This is especially true of graduate programs, which are often filled with individuals of various ages.

What prospective graduate students should know is age does not have to be a barrier between them and new knowledge. In fact, many schools even welcome applications from senior citizens, proving that students do not have to go directly from high school to college to graduate school.

No age limit
If older adults have an interest in earning a graduate degree, they may want to visit the Web sites of graduate schools that appeal to them. South Carolina's College of Charleston, for example, welcomes applications from individuals over the age of 60. They have the option of applying as non-degree or degree-seeking students, according to the school's Web site.

In some cases, senior citizens could be allowed to attend graduate school without having to pay tuition. According to the University of Arkansas' Web site, individuals over the age of 60 may be able to enroll in courses on a space-available basis. Prospective senior graduate students are asked to call a number if they are interested.

Ultimately, it pays for older adults who have their sights set on graduate education to research specific schools ahead of time to take advantage of any age-related perks.

The benefits of waiting
In many cases, putting off graduate school until later in life can help. This is especially true with MBA programs and similar academic offerings, as professional experience can be beneficial.

Waiting to enroll in graduate school may also help individuals' career goals. For instance, if they wish to become entrepreneurs and launch their own ventures, the experience that comes with age could work to their advantage. This is what CBS MoneyWatch contributor Margaret Heffernan believes, according to a recent article.

"Like most businesses, success rarely happens overnight, and the bulk of successes come from those with stamina and maturity," Heffernan wrote in a recent article.

She added that expertise plays an important role in the launch of a successful business. Anyone who does not believe it is possible to start a company later in life should look to Doris Drucker, the oldest entrepreneur Heffernan ever encountered. Drucker was 82 when she launched her business.

Of course, individuals do not need to wait until they are 82 to go to graduate school, but they should know there is nothing wrong with building experience for several years before returning to academia.

By Monique Smith

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