37 answers

Is 40 Too Old for College?

Years ago, when I was about 22 I was trying to get enrolled in college when I found out I was pregnant. So I put it on hold thinking that it would be too much to work around 60 hours per week, go to night school and be a first time mother. Now I''m 32 and homeschooling my 2 children and plan on going back to school to get a degree in psychology and to try to time it so that I would get my degree or be close when my youngest graduates high school. However, doing the math, if I go back when my youngest is in 8th grade, I'll be 40! That just almost seems to late to go back. What do you guys think? I've been tempted to go ahead now, but do not want to over extend myself. My days are filled with their school work, house work and all of extra curricular activities. But I also don't want to wait too long. Decisions, Decisions.

What can I do next?

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My husband is STARTING medical school this year - he is 41 with a 6 year old son. Go for it. You're never too old.

6 moms found this helpful

No, you crazy lady ;)

It's NEVER too late!!!

You could start now and take only a few classes. If it's too much, put it on the shelf until later. Like I said, there is no such thing as too old!

4 moms found this helpful

Forty is definitely not too old to start college. I have a friend in her 60's who graduated and started her own counseling business. She's now in her 70s and still counseling others.

In some ways starting later in life is an advantage because you've had life experiences to guide you.

4 moms found this helpful

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My mom went back to school when I was 11 years old. She was 44 years old. First she earned her BA and then she graduated at the top of her class with a masters in counseling. She began a private practice in her mid fifties. She is now about to turn 62 and has a fulfilling career. She's darn good at what she does too.

I am 28 years old and went back to school this past fall. I love it. Being in college as a returning student is such an extraordinary experience. As a younger person I struggled with motivation, direction, passion, and purpose. Not anymore! Now I am a very good student and I love to learn about the world around me.

Admittedly, I have less time with my family which has sometimes brought me sadness. I have a 4 and 5 year old (just about to turn 5 and 6) and am pregnant with another who will be born this summer.

When I first started school I took a full load and continued my volunteer shifts. That was too much. The next quarter I scaled back and just took a full load (by then I was in my second trimester). This quarter I am taking 8 credits only. It is so manageable. I go to school one day a week and I work on my homework when the children are playing, doing their own studies, or sleeping. My eldest has been in part time kindergarten and my youngest is at home with me. Sometimes we all do homework together, or they help me to study. It's a lot of fun!

If you start now, part time, you could be finished by the time your 40 AND you could spend most of your time with you're children. Just a thought. Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful

My husband is STARTING medical school this year - he is 41 with a 6 year old son. Go for it. You're never too old.

6 moms found this helpful

No - not too old! My parents both went back in their 30's and 40's. You can too!

5 moms found this helpful

No, you crazy lady ;)

It's NEVER too late!!!

You could start now and take only a few classes. If it's too much, put it on the shelf until later. Like I said, there is no such thing as too old!

4 moms found this helpful

Forty is definitely not too old to start college. I have a friend in her 60's who graduated and started her own counseling business. She's now in her 70s and still counseling others.

In some ways starting later in life is an advantage because you've had life experiences to guide you.

4 moms found this helpful

I haven't read the other responses, but some of my thoughts are:

If you will be 40 when the youngest graduates HS and I am assuming you are home with them full-time now, what you are going to do then?

If you don't get a college degree, how old will be in 8 years? Still 40, right?

Point being, after 40, you still have a lot of years left - how do you think is going to be the best way to spend them?

Another thing to consider is that bachelor's degrees in psychology don't really get you very far, so if you really want some kind of career in that field, you are also looking at earning at least a master's degree, be it psychology, social work, etc. If you want some kind of career with only a bachelor's, you could look at teaching (which could work with your homeschooling experience, though many teachers go on to earn master's as well), or nursing.

What does your husband think?

ETA: 2 of my classmates in veterinary school were 40 and 42 respectively, when they STARTED. Both second careers for them, one had been a lab technician, and one had been an orthodontist! 4 years later, they were 44 and 46, but had earned their degrees in something they loved and 16 years later, are still working as veterinarians!

4 moms found this helpful

I am a lecturer in sociology and always have nontraditional, returning students in my courses. Some are in their 20's, some in their 30's, some in their 40's or older!

I will say this about going back, though. I am 39 and just started back to my doctorate program in January to finish out my terminal degree. I have two young kids and a husband that works constantly, it seems any more. Look at me right now, it is 2 am and I am still up. I am TIRED. I just finished taking 9 hours worth of doctoral level courses, lecturing two courses, and assisting in one. I was on a total of three campuses for the spring (thank goodness two courses were online, this time). My oldest is in kinder and my youngest is 3. I did not stop and am about to start the summer back up. Should be finished by December 2014.

Did I mention that I am TIRED? All of this not to reference what a super woman I am (I am not totally sure that I handled the experience very well, honestly). My fatigue is not just the load. It is my age. If I had been smart or listened when I should have this would have been done in my early 30's... Right where you are now. If you think you can swing it now, do it now. Things just get more tiring! Although, you kids would be older than mine at that point in your life, too. But still, for what it is worth, I would advise seriously considering going now.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful

No, 40 is not too old for college. I'm 57 and taking classes. I've considered going back for a Master's degree. And a friend of mine, just a few years younger than I am just got her BA and is starting on her masters in Sept. Why would 40 be too late to go back? It may not seem like it to you now, at 32, but from my vantage point, 40 is still young!

3 moms found this helpful

Go!

ETA: My mom is almost 70 and will get her BA next month.

3 moms found this helpful

Nope, 40 is not too old---however.... My advice to you is to take one class per semester at this time in your life especially if you cannot handle a full load or even a half a load. Why wait 8 years to start? Start now! You'll be surprised how much you can accomplish one class at a time. By the time you turn 40, you may be done or close to being done. Just make sure that you talk to your school counselor to sign up to the program, so that if the program changes in the next 8 years, you won't have to take up any additional classes.

3 moms found this helpful

Start small, with a class or two, and see how it goes. It's probably good for your kids to see you educating yourself, and you can all do your homework together. You want to encourage independent scholarship with them anyway, and it's a challenge if you are homeschooling to not oversee everything they do.

But no, 40 is not too old. Not by a long shot. The question is, are you willing to defer your dream for 8 more years?

You can also cut back on some of the housework or give them chores - call it "life skills" and make sure they learn to be part of a family that functions as a unit. They should see that moms are valued and not just the ones who do all the work for the kids.

3 moms found this helpful

Try and see it this way.. regardless if you go back or not, you're still going to age... so do you want to be 40 with a degree or 40 without one.. the outside circumstances which are deciding to go back to school, now that, you have some control over... However, aging you do not.. Therefore, you can accept what is.. (your age) and then move forward and perhaps sign up for one class and see how you like it... or not take any classes at all.. Either way, you'll still be getting older.... It's not quantity of years.. it's quality and what a person does with their years/life..
Also, there are MANY people older than 40 getting their degrees.. It's no longer taboo to have had several different careers in a lifetime...

good luck in whatever you decide to do

3 moms found this helpful

No. 40 is not too old for anything. But you are only 32yo. There is no reason you can't start back part time now. Take some night courses at a community college over the next few years to keep your brain strong (I find it withers over time) and to whittle away the amount of courses you'll need when you get the opportunity to go full time.

2 moms found this helpful

It is not too old to start college. In fact, my husband had a classmate in medical school who, at the age of 40, decided to sell his family farm and become a doctor.

2 moms found this helpful

I would take some online classes. Just one at a time. At least then you're moving towards your goal.

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Absolutely not! :-)
Don't let age bother your decision for college. It is never late for learning in life..:-) good luck to you..

1 mom found this helpful

Just had a friend that got her BS in Psychology. She will be 50 this year. It is an accomplishment if nothing else. Something that she would have regretted if she hadn't finished. She hopes to get into HR somewhere. Her kids are 21 and 23. My husband completed his Associates degree a year ago. He is 42. He plans to continue and get his bachelor's degree. It is never too late. I would meet with an advisor to see what it is you want to do and then I would start taking a class here and there. Get it going. Some classes are online. Some schools have programs for "working professionals" and have night classes and such. I am 45 and am considering going for my Masters. If only I could figure out what I want to be when I grow up! Good Luck and start now!!

1 mom found this helpful

Heck NO!!! IN fact, chances are you will be a much better student than when you were 20.

Here is what I tell people all the time - even if it takes you 10 years to finish college, who cares. 10 years will eventually be here - you will either still be regretting not going back to school or have your degree! Go back - it's so worth it.

1 mom found this helpful

ETA I agree with Diane, start small. Try with two subjects first, and go from there. You're young! If I were you I would just start right away there are so many online programs nowadays. :o)

Thank you for asking this question I'm 37 and thinking about returning to college for my masters when my little one goes to pre-K, I'll be 38 by then! looking forward to reading the answers :o)

1 mom found this helpful

Nope. Never to late to go back!!!

I would work it now. But that's me.

Good luck!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Nope, but you can start now with one or two classes at a time.. Start at the local Jr. college and get your general classes done there, it is cheaper. Then move to the 4 year one for the last specifc classes. It took me 10 years but I got my bachleors. Mind you I was working full time and I took the summers off. My 4 year college also had a few classes that were a week long 40 hrs in one bang.. I would take a week of vacation and go to school for the weekn then done with that class. So look into that when picking classes.. Usually two classes is not that bad, take one :heavy and one light class. THe conselors should be able to help you decide what are good classes.

Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

Forty is not too old. My husband's grandma used to move to Arizona each winter (she lived in Minnesota) to live in the dorms and take classes at Arizona State. She was in her late eighties.

That said, why not start now? You could take online classes toward your degree and be ahead by the time you are ready to go full-time. There are lots of programs available and I think you might be surprised by how easily you could fit it into your schedule. If you did part-time courses, you could earn up to about 15 credits per year. At that rate you could be ready for a Master's program by the time your younger kid is heading to high school.

I say this because I just went back to college, full-time, online. I have a 5 year-old and a 2 year-old and I have found it to be pretty easy to find time for school in addition to everything else I do.

I think forty is a fine age to return to school, but I also think why wait?

1 mom found this helpful

Well I went back at 38 and don't regret it. I was deciding between psychology, accounting and law. After doing to the cost analysis and that I did a cost analysis I went with accounting.

Really if you choose psychology you need to know it will be a hobby not a money maker. While you get established, if you can, your student loans will dwarf your income.

1 mom found this helpful

Only if you have no ambition, otherwise, get yourself registered for Fall.

1 mom found this helpful

No 40 is not too old to go back to school. I should have done it when I was 40 and not in my 60s. I, too, put off getting my degree when in my early 20s because I had seen too many foreign students have over 400 credits before they got their degree. Every university wants you to have a certain number of credits with their institution and being a military wife I didn't want to go that route.

I have over half of my credits completed but need to figure out what I want my degree in other than university studies. It will probably bear more toward business or law. The degree will help me with my business once it gets going before I have other people involved in my operating.

Do what you can do and enjoy you want and don't worry about it.

the other S.

I'm 42 and honestly, if I had the money to do it and a chunk of time, there are quite a few classes I would enjoy taking.

NOT too old!

Too old? You'll never be to old to follow your dreams. I will be 40 in a few short months and I just started an online Masters program through University of Phoenix. Sure it's scary, I haven't been in school for over 17 years, but I always wanted to further my education. I'm also a mom, a wife, and have a full time job for a non-profit organization, but with a little time management, you can do it.

It's never too late! Several people in my family have gone back after getting a degree in something else. My sister went back last year at age 42. My husband's nephew is 40 and will be graduating in December after pursuing a second degree.

No, it is never too late.Go ahead!

If you don't go to college when your youngest is in the eighth grade, how old will you be?

The main difficulty will not be your age, but the fact that you are taking on major studying at the same time that you have a major career - taking care of your family.

If you ask at your local college, you'll be told how others of their students have succeeded. Your maturity can be an asset to your learning. Ask them about taking online college courses for credit, too - that could be a very great help to you.

Yeah, I say go for it, if your not in a hurry to get the degree, you could slow it down a little so you don't feel overextended.

It's never too late to go back, honestly. My mom got her bachelor's degree in her 40's, got her Master's in her early 50's and is now working on her EdD. My dad also got two Master's degrees when he was in his 30's. He did that while an officer pilot in the Navy and a father of 5 kids.

I got my undergrad degree completed with a 1 year old and about to pop out number 2. I completed my MBA when I was 29 (my goal was by 30) and did that with 3 VERY active kids and a husband who works two hours away.

There's only excuses in your way of doing anything you want to do. I don't say that in a bad way, I am saying it in honesty. I make excuses for myself to not do things as well. Get over that hurdle and go back to school. It will be a huge inspiration to your kids!

I went to college off and on when my kids were little, from pregnancy into the elementary school years. I started at a community college and transferred to a state university. I took many of my classes in the evening, usually two nights a week per semester. It never affected my housework or time with the kids because I only went part time. Sure it took a little longer that way but I was a SAHM and had no rush or need to return to the workforce quickly. I graduated in 2005, I was 37 and my kids were 12, 10 and 7!
Just start now, start slowly, and see how it goes.
I personally would NOT do online classes, but that's just me. I need the classroom interaction and I have a hard time focusing at home with kids running around, distracting and interrupting me.

Not too old at all. I was 34 when I started law school. My husband's grandmother was 65 when she went to nursing school!

No, you are not too old. I work at an University and there are many non-traditional students. I had a 90 year old lady receive her master's degree three years ago, so NO is the answer.

However, I do want you to think of one thing, what can you do with a "Psychology Bachelor's degree".

I have found non-traditional students to be more focused, I think it's a great decision to make.
Good Luck!

My 54 y.o. husband is in culinary school and loving it. He had a full career in the military first, but had talked about wanting to do this since we first met, and now he is. The only part that has been difficult for him is that being in a college setting means that many of your fellow students are in their late teens and early twenties. You'll need to be patient with them sometimes, because their maturity level matches their years.

Okay, actually, that's not the only difficult part. Having to take college algebra has been no picnic, either, but he's coping. :-)

One thing to keep in mind - if you actually want to work in the field of psychology, you'll need a graduate degree.

It isn't too late, but you do need to use your time wisely and plan ahead.

What type of work are you planning to do? I ask because a Bachelors Degree in psychology doesn't open many doors in the field, but it can be useful in several marginally related areas. It may be enough, but you should make sure. Some things require a Master's degree.

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