You're Never Too Old to Apply to Graduate School

By Laura Morrison, April 2014

keep educating yourself

The students who enroll in graduate programs tend to be older than the average college degree seeker, as they first need to complete their undergraduate studies before pursuing an advanced credential. If you're among the older individuals who have an interest in applying to graduate school, you should know that age is just a number, as even senior citizens are no strangers to academia.

Preparing for a new career at 72

At a point in life when many individuals have left the workforce, one Nebraska resident aims to launch his fifth career. Michael B. Godfrey is 72 years old, with no plans to slow down any time soon, according to The Omaha World Herald.

"I want to teach about the Constitution," Godfrey told the news source, "and the principals of America's founding."

Before he begins his fifth career as an adjunct professor this fall, Godfrey wanted to earn a master's degree in political science. He is set to graduate this month, but it won't be the first time he's completed an advanced degree. In fact, Godfrey's already gone beyond the master's level and holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering.

In his 72 years, Godfrey has worked in several fields, including transportation and music education. While he's older than the average student, Godfrey can't help staying active, physically, intellectually and spiritually.

The soon-to-be adjunct professor also proves that age doesn't have to be a barrier standing between people and more education.

Older students becoming more common

Whether older adults are interested in online or on-campus master's programs, they should know that the number of adult learners seeking higher education is on the rise.

For example, postsecondary enrollment among students over the age of 25 increased by 41 percent between 2000 and 2011, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This same population of learners is expected to grow by 14 percent between 2011 and 2021.

If you wish to join these older adults in their pursuit of higher education, keep in mind that many colleges and universities offer special opportunities for older graduate students. Be sure to visit a school's website or contact a representative to find out more about courses and degree programs tailored toward you.

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About the Author: Laura Morrison is the Web Content Manager for She earned an MBA from the Rutgers School of Business in 2010.

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