too old to start school?

i know this is a silly question, but i figured i’d ask it.

so i’ve had the same boring job for the last 6-7 years. completely devoid of creativity, but well paying.

after years of trial and error with different hobbies, i’ve found myself drawn to industrial design. i love all the aspects of this field. working with my hands, creative thinking etc.

i have money saved and have almost 100% decided to go back to school for industrial design. my original degree was in education here in the states and where i want to go is the Design Academy Eindhoven. if at all possible i’d enter their masters program, but with limited professional/design background i’m assuming they will not let me just walk right in.

so my two questions are this:

  1. i’m 29, am i too old to start over at the undergrad level.


  1. am i shooting too high with choosing to go to Design Academy Eindhoven.

i will and can create a portfolio of designs/art projects i’ve done as a hobby if need be.

thanks in advance for you opinions.


29!!! Your still a kid in my opinion!! If you can afford it and don’t have kids, go for it!!!

I wish I was 29 again!!

wow, i was expecting to get a lot of “no way,” “take a hike,” “get lost comments”

i’ll be in the netherlands next week and plan on visiting the Design Academy Eindhoven.

hopefully they will tell me there’s a chance.

thanks for the positivity!

Good Luck!!

I wish I could go to Art Center but I’m 42 with a family so for me it’s near impossible. Follow your dreams if you can!!! Sometimes you only get one chance!

am i chosing a good school? i’ve done the research and have lived in the netherlands, but haven’t really gotten many opinions on people working in the field to whether the Design Academy Eindhoven is any good.


I have no clue. I’m in the United States. How close is the UmeÃ¥ Institute of Design to you? I heard that is real good.

your not even close to too old.
judge a school by what you want to design afterwards, do you like the portfolio’s of thier graduates? start with where you want to land and work backwards.
Always have backup schools to apply to. including undergraduate programs.

No way are you too old.

I returned to study at 25 and have just graduated last year with degrees in design and philosophy. Now working a great job in service design and am even considering if i will return for post grad in a few years.

I had studied before but lost interest and never finished - computer science is just so boring for the first 2 years.

Design is all about learning and learning should never stop if you want to be a good designer in my opinion. So I think the commitment to learning you show by going back to school suggests you in the category of designers who have a future in the industry.

Re-invent yourself and use that experience to inform your work.

Good luck!

just to make sure i’m making the right decision, i wanted to make sure my personality aligns with the field.

a bit about myself:

possible yes things:
-always brainstorming, new ideas always going through my head
-love to work with my hands/create thing with my hands
-complain about how things are poorly designed on a daily basis
-didn’t go into engineering b/c the math was too hard and the jobs seemed like they would get boring
-grew up taking stuff apart
-loved construction/tools when i was a kid
-more visual than book/math/english stuff
-understand “real world” physics very well

possible no things:
-i hate math and my brain thinks 2+2 = 5
-better than average drawer/sketcher, but not the best.
-have zero experience with software aps (photoshop/illustrator etc.) and in general have little patience with computer software (i never dig too deep to find a way to use every feature a software offers)
-little patience, but working on it.
-always struggled with school (think it’s b/c they were trying to make me learn things that my personality didn’t align with math, science, english)
-always like new projects, can’t really sit still on one thing for too long (may be a positive?)

any opinions would be appreciated.

thanks in advance!

you sound like a perfect candidate for ID.

…there are ways around not having grown up with computers,
(like just pay some kid $20 to show you what you need in the software. I strongly suggest doing this for Adobe products, which are horribly feature bloated and have terrible intuitiveness)

Go for it! There was a guy who had gotten his masters in engineering and had worked for a few years then came back to go to get a BFA in ID at my school. Adobe stuff is easy and good once you get the hang of it. I’m not a good person to talk about not using computers or adobe software, I grew up with both. Umea teaches their masters stuff in English and I think most of the undergrad stuff in Sweadish. I would apply to a few places. From what I know of Endhover it is good.

When I saw this post and your yes/no things I find a lot in common between you and me.

  • I’ve just turn 30 this June
  • I also find my passion in design and usability
  • complain about BAD DESIGNS and want to improve them. (especially about doors and everyday things, as described by Donald Norman)
  • After getting my Computer Science degree I’ve been working as a developer but it’s getting more and more boring to me.

Your post and others’ replies are very encouraging to me :slight_smile: My job contract will end at march 2009, so I’m seriously considering to go to a design school as well. Good luck to you!


Also take a look around to this in the Netherlands: TU Delft. Industrial Design engineering

and also this

I’m 22 in last year of ID, and in my personal point of view at 29, 34,56 or whatever age…doesn`t matter at all…

Actually, in my school there’s a classmate with 34 years old on first year of the ID Program: with family, house, bills to pay, is father & husband, he’s also workin’ (mid time employment), etc, and it’s planning the Master Degree beacause of the passion on design.

There are no ideal ages to take ID, there is only ideal passion to be an ID …and my friend you have it!!!

Go for your dreams, not for the comments around it… and inspire our growing generations with this:

“no matter where, when, how, … you can make living following your dreams!!!”

(hope ya help)

i want to thank everyone for all their positive comments. i’ve started to seriously look at schools and am building a protfolio.

it took a very long time, but i now know that this i what i really want to do.


this may be a little late.
but i study at the design academy presently and 29 is not that old. there are a handful of students that quit jobs to attend school again and they’re in their late 20s. i dont think anybody care what your age is. its how good your work is - at least in school.

i’m 24 by the way. :slight_smile: not that “old”.


I’ve lurked on Core77 for a while, but I finally decided to register, primarily to share with jov777 that there are many of us just like you, doing exactly what you’re hoping to do.

I’m 28. I have a degree in Cinema and Cultural Studies, but my background includes electrical engineering and computer science. I’ve worked mostly as a software developer (a brief stint in business development as well as time as an engineer/tech consultant), and I’m going back to school for a masters in industrial design. I’m applying to Art Center, Pratt, RISD and SCAD.

People have multiple careers over their lifetimes. The decisions you made at 20, or even earlier, do not necessarily reflect your thinking ten (or 20, or 30) years later, nor your station in life at that time. What once seemed like an exciting career developing cutting edge software may prove, to you, to be the drudgery of massaging awkwardly defined interfaces until they accept syntax that enables you to express obvious solutions. You want a different challenge, a challenge where you can resolve the sorts of clear design failures that aggravate you every day (why is Windows multi-monitor support so bad? why does my fancy GE phone+answering machine not allow me to see who’s calling until I pick up the handset - which answers the call? why do size 16 basketball sneakers often look so damned ugly?! why are modern cars longer, wider, bulkier, but no more spacious inside?)

Rest easy. There are many of us like you, and we cheer your courage. Follow your dreams. Hopefully, we all will. :slight_smile:

I started at 38! I did some schooling in the past but never finished and decided to go back again to pursue my passion for ID and design. This is my first degree. I am currently in my second year and will probably be 42 by the time I graduate, but that’s not important. I was actually asking this SAME QUESTION almost 2 years ago, so it’s funny to see how others actually feel the same way and I was worried for nothing. Sure, 95 percent of the student body in my school is 18-25, but I have adjusted very well and my classmates to me. The one negative is that most of the ones who study with me are not that serious about school it seems (on their laptops during class on Facebook and chatting with IM, instead of taking notes, ugggh!!) and it sucks being assigned to do a group project when some are slackers. From my experience, going back to school at this age and paying my way (taking out loans, versus having Mom and Dad pay) makes me more apt to want to excel and study my ass off. I feel that since I got all that partying out of the way in my 20s, I don’t find that appealing anymore (As I got older, I mellowed out and am pretty boring now, hehe) and I certainly have been more focused this time around. I just wish there were more people my age in my ID classes, but oh well. Go for it and don’t pay attention to the age factor, because people nowadays are returning to school all the time, for various reasons. It’s never too late. :slight_smile: Your real-world life experience will be something that will put you ahead of most younger students. Trust me.

Thats me !!!

I am 28 and I Am going back to school too !!! trying do a Masters in ID at US !!! way to go ! :smiley:

I went back to school myself at an older age than most students. Got my I.D. degree a year ago. My advice to you older students is to really learn the computer programs available within your school. I struggled in my sophomore year to catch up to the young bucks. I still learn new things daily. Also stick to your strengths to shine. Being older and having real world experience definitely puts you a step ahead of the pack. The ability to sell yourself will work in your favor more than someone who is talented and doesn’t have people skills. Cheers-

Your never too late to learn. If anything you probably will enjoy it & get more out of it because your sincere desire to learn.

Go For!!!