PhD --> JD

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gboogie
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PhD --> JD

Postby gboogie » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:42 pm

I'll be starting a PhD program in the fall. It's conceivable that I will decide that I don't like it and will apply to law schools for fall 2011. Is there a way to finesse this, so that I don't look bad to the adcoms? E.g. it's possible that I'll be applying in November, having only been in grad school for about two months. Will they say "This guy's too fickle and unreliable"?

I have very good gpa and lsat, so, in theory, I'm a shoe-in at some of the top 14. But, I don't want to have them look askance at me for thinking about quitting so early on. I don't know that I will quit, but I do know that it's very common, so I'm preparing for this contingency.

I'm thinking that it could be spun thus in a personal statement: I love [insert PhD subject], and wanted to try a PhD program out. I now realize that research is not for me, and think I would more interested using the masters I will be getting in this field plus a JD to pursue [insert career goal: policy, business, whatever].

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kswiss
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby kswiss » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:24 pm

Just try to figure out at the beginning of fall semester if you want to do the PhD or not. If not, apply before january and you won't even have to mention it except for your resume. Then, if they ask, just say that you wanted to spend your year off getting a leg up on an eventual PhD. I don't see how it will hurt you if you have the numbers. Just don't point their attention to the fact that you are fickle in your education decisions.

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ArthurEdens
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby ArthurEdens » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:28 pm

Good stats have a way of making admissions forget about a person's weaknesses. I don't think that it'll make a difference in the slightest.

irish017
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby irish017 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:29 pm

I should get a PhD. My mom is a tenured professor and just got off sabbatical where she traveled all over the country doing research...usually in places like LA, Miami, New Orleans, and NYC.

gboogie
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby gboogie » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:31 pm

Thanks all!

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neimanmarxist
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby neimanmarxist » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:32 pm

Will you get your MA before you quit your program? Some PhD programs give you the MA after one year. Then you write "MA, expected, June 2011" on your resumé and no one's the wiser. You can still talk about your research interests in your personal statement.
Walking away from a PhD program at the MA point is a fairly common thing to do. I know a few people who did it, two of whom went on to attend Yale Law. Don't draw attention to the fact that you're walking away from the rest of the program. Emphasize that you finished your MA .

If you are walking away before the MA (if your program awards the MA after the second year, not the first year) I would advise you to re-think your decision and finish up the MA (I'm assuming you have funding.) Not because of how it will look, but because why would you enroll and do the coursework to never get the degree? That seems like kind of a waste of your time (and a good slot for someone that wants it, frankly) and there might be more interesting / career-advancing/ enriching things that you could do than half the coursework towards an MA- work for a non-profit, a charity etc.

I realise that ITE even grad funding for a year is better than nothing, so take what I said with a grain of salt.

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ArthurEdens
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby ArthurEdens » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:33 pm

irish017 wrote:I should get a PhD. My mom is a tenured professor and just got off sabbatical where she traveled all over the country doing research...usually in places like LA, Miami, New Orleans, and NYC.


The glut of PhDs isn't unlike the glut of JDs. Becoming a tenured professor is a very low probability affair, and those who are tenured are rarely able to experience a sabbatical such as that.

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neimanmarxist
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby neimanmarxist » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:36 pm

ArthurEdens wrote:
irish017 wrote:I should get a PhD. My mom is a tenured professor and just got off sabbatical where she traveled all over the country doing research...usually in places like LA, Miami, New Orleans, and NYC.


The glut of PhDs i[strike]sn't unlike the glut of JDs.[/strike]is so much freaking worse than the glut of JDs that there is no comparison between the two. Becoming a tenured professor is a very low probability affair, and those who are tenured are [strike]rarely able to experience a sabbatical such as that[/strike]underemployed and underpaid..

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jcl2
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby jcl2 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:42 pm

neimanmarxist wrote:
ArthurEdens wrote:
irish017 wrote:I should get a PhD. My mom is a tenured professor and just got off sabbatical where she traveled all over the country doing research...usually in places like LA, Miami, New Orleans, and NYC.


The glut of PhDs i[strike]sn't unlike the glut of JDs.[/strike]is so much freaking worse than the glut of JDs that there is no comparison between the two. Becoming a tenured professor is a very low probability affair, and those who are tenured are [strike]rarely able to experience a sabbatical such as that[/strike]underemployed and underpaid..


+1
And those who are lucky enough to land tenure track jobs work biglaw like hours for the 5-7 years it takes to actually get tenure, but don't get payed anything near a biglaw salary. Actually, adjunct professors with no chance of ever getting tenure often work those kind of hours too, for about 30k per year.

irish017
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby irish017 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:22 pm

jcl2 wrote:
neimanmarxist wrote:
ArthurEdens wrote:
irish017 wrote:I should get a PhD. My mom is a tenured professor and just got off sabbatical where she traveled all over the country doing research...usually in places like LA, Miami, New Orleans, and NYC.


The glut of PhDs i[strike]sn't unlike the glut of JDs.[/strike]is so much freaking worse than the glut of JDs that there is no comparison between the two. Becoming a tenured professor is a very low probability affair, and those who are tenured are [strike]rarely able to experience a sabbatical such as that[/strike]underemployed and underpaid..


+1
And those who are lucky enough to land tenure track jobs work biglaw like hours for the 5-7 years it takes to actually get tenure, but don't get payed anything near a biglaw salary. Actually, adjunct professors with no chance of ever getting tenure often work those kind of hours too, for about 30k per year.

I think my mom had office hours 6 hours a week and taught two classes a semester before she was tenured. Definitely not big law type hours. Those hours haven't really changed after she was tenured either - just her ability to dictate what she wants to do has.

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neimanmarxist
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby neimanmarxist » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:28 pm

.
Last edited by neimanmarxist on Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sumus romani
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby sumus romani » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:34 pm

You guys are radically overgeneralizing. All tenure track jobs are hard to get, but tenure is quite easy to come by at crappy schools in the middle of nowhere, so long as one can teach at a minimally decent level. Tenure is quite hard to get at good schools, and that is where the teaching load is around 2 classes a semester, but tons of emphasis on research (these tenure-track jobs are only offered to a subset of graduates of the best schools in the country). Otherwise, it is most often a load of 4 classes a semester, with an emphasis on good teaching but not research. I've known of cases of tenure without a single publication at these teaching schools.
Last edited by sumus romani on Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

irish017
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby irish017 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:34 pm

neimanmarxist wrote:the world has changed since your mom got her job, kid.
Harvard PhDs thank their lucky stars for jobs at community colleges these days.
People from schools ranked lower than six in whatever discipline are essentially resigned to adjuncting. There are hiring freezes at all the schools. People work without benefits. Some spousal hires split a single salary. Which is usually in the low five figures.

Why don't you go learn what you're talking about, then come back and blather about how you should get your PhD. Though your research skills as evinced in this thread suggest that this would not be the best life choice for you.

I'm not going to get my PhD.

I don't know why your panties are in a bunch?

gboogie
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Re: PhD --> JD

Postby gboogie » Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:18 pm

@marxist:
I understand your point about finishing the masters. Yup, that would be my plan, to finish that at the very least.

@other people:
I agree with the general drift of what you say about how hard life in academia can be. I think it does depend on the field you go into and how highly regarded your grad school was. Someone with a PhD in, say, physics from an Ivy League univ. is not going to have a cake walk ahead of him, but I don't foresee him living in a box or whatever either. And despite all their complaints, tenured professors have it pretty nice. Many are making $100k+, have time for plenty of vacation, etc. Some teach tons of classes, but some only do 1 class per semester.




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