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Improper Interview Question?

Theora Jones decryptogram at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 24 05:11:11 EST 2002

Hello everybody!  I'd appreciate some perspectives on something that
just happened.

My partner just returned from an interview for graduate school (a
Ph.D. program in biochemistry).  During the interview, one of the
interviewers said "You're going to be 42 when you graduate... what
will you do with a Ph.D. at that age?" She graciously replied that
since she was going to be 42 anyway, she might as well be doing work
that she loved.

She doesn't think it's a big deal, but I'm sort of upset.  Is it
okay/customary for a grad school interviewer to ask a question like
that?  I know it would've been illegal if it had been a job interview,
but I guess grad school interviews are different.

I still think it was stinky.  It's not like she doesn't know how old
she is.  Going back to school and getting her BA after 15 years took a
lot of guts and a lot of hard work, and I'm extremely proud of her. 
Her focus and dedication make her a lot better suited for graduate
school, IMO, than most fresh-faced undergraduates (certainly better
suited than I was when I went to graduate school right out of
college!). Or am I just being overprotective?

Thanks for any input.

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