Is age an important factor?

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robertson
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:23 am

Is age an important factor?

Postby robertson » Sun Dec 07, 2008 2:31 pm

Hey friends, I don't want to offend anyone but I would like to share some thoughts with you. I would like to know your opinion about his topic. Do you think they really look at your date of birth when applying?
In my case I was born in 1986, and I might be one year older than most of the other students. Do you think they will think "with one year more he should have been able to do more things than the rest"?.
This is also related with taking a year off. I agree that it could increase your options as long as you really take profit of the year. But in my opinion most of the people will improve significantly their profile in one year, would it be fair to choose a student two years older than another just because in this two years he managed to publish a paper and the other student doesn't have any?
I hope they think about this, because otherwise I would wait till next year to apply, finish a MS and get one or two nice papers. What do you think?
cheers

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Helio
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Re: Is age an important factor?

Postby Helio » Sun Dec 07, 2008 2:43 pm

Generally, age is a different factor here... no. of applicants.... 87 was one of the last years the baby boomers and people born in early 60s got kids (like at my uni there are 4000 in my class and the entering freshman class at 2500). the whole 86/87 thing can have so many factors, etc.

In your case if you take a year off they are looking for a good reason you did, like missionary work, teach for america, getting a job first. what some schools look for is also maturity, as some people don't get out of the college phase of beer pong and the like (grow up will yea).

With your profile of on the way MS. I would finish it and get some research experience under my belt, get published, etc. Admissions committees like publications because it shows you are serious about it and not just preaching to them. Just looks better that you are like, I have finished my MS and just didn't take a year off cause you didn't like me the first time around

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secander2!
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Re: Is age an important factor?

Postby secander2! » Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:18 pm

I don't think a year or two would matter at all, although I don't have any hard evidence of this. If you want to finish your MS, I don't think it would hurt and it might even help a good bit. However, with a application like yours (judging from your profile), there's really not a whole lot to improve :D I'd bet that you can get into most of the programs you're considering as it is!!!

robertson
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Is age an important factor?

Postby robertson » Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:08 pm

Hey secander, thank you very much! I didn't want to make this thread a personal one, I'm sure that I will finish my five years degree and I will hopefully get into a nice university (most of them it's too optimistic for me :P). I still think that if you take a year off you really have to do something special to improve your CV, one paper can boost your application if you have a low GRE and GPA, but if you are aiming high you should really do a lot of things during that year to make it worth it. Any other opinions?

stardust
Posts: 109
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:15 pm

Re: Is age an important factor?

Postby stardust » Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:35 pm

There are lists somewhere of average age of the students in the program. I don't think
gradschoolshopper has it. I think its in Peterson's guide summaries. There's a difference
between average age of existing students who have been in the program for years and
average age of admitted students, but you can get an idea of one from the other.

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zxcv
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Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:08 pm

Re: Is age an important factor?

Postby zxcv » Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:05 am

There are many, many people who apply and get in after a year off or more. I'm not on any admissions committees, but I don't think they could possibly care about a single year. I have classmates (at Berkeley) 10 years or more years older than me.

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trani
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Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:04 am

Re: Is age an important factor?

Postby trani » Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:34 pm

Haha, if that's a problem I might as well give up. Since I would be 4 years older than the "normal" graduate student and I haven't really done anything special with 3 out of these 4 years. I guess I will have an answer to your question in March...

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muonman
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Re: Is age an important factor?

Postby muonman » Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:56 pm

Trani, 4 years is nothing!!!!! I'm a freaking DECADE past you little spring flowers, and done absolutely nothing impressive (other than making a LOT of money).

To the OP, one year is absolutely insignificant. Don't worry about it. Just tell them you took a year off, I doubt anyone would even question it.

Also keep in mind that a lot of foreign countries have mandatory military service that can be as long as 4 to 5 years!!! They are usually conscripted at 18 and must delay their undergrad education.

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secander2!
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Re: Is age an important factor?

Postby secander2! » Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:11 pm

yep... I think age makes no difference. I'm a statistic on the low side: when I applied to grad school last year, I was only 20 (skipped two years of high school), and I got accepted to most places I applied. From what I've seen, nobody gives a care about age anymore, it's all about what you've done so far. Sure, if you spend five years beefing up your resume and retaking PGREs just so you can get into Harvard, the admissions committee might catch on and not be so happy. However, if you're in the workforce deciding what to do with your life, or if you just take a year or two break after college, I don't think anybody cares.




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