Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

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LT21
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Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby LT21 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:16 pm

I am currently a PhD student at a university. I just completed first semester here and I am already considering dropping out due to personal reasons (I am no longer interested in a career in academia or research. I was also accused of grading unfairly as a TA, but the dept was still willing to let me TA, but for a different course).

If I drop out right now, I'm thinking about applying to work as an English teacher in Asia. However, because getting the documents takes some time, I likely won't be able to start until around April. I was thinking of working at Target or as a part-time tutor until then.

I am considering applying to law schools but I can't start until Fall '13 since I haven't taken the LSAT yet.

How bad will it look on my application if I drop out and then work as an English teacher (and work at Target before teaching)?

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AlanShore
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby AlanShore » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:27 pm

I don't think it will hurt much, if at all. A close friend dropped out of a PhD program (but finished with masters) and he's in at Harvard. Many people realize they don't like academia. It may be wise to write a very very brief statement regarding the drop out just to cover your bases.

As for being a part-time tutor and working at Target.. it's fine. There are many unemployed grads right now.

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cinephile
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby cinephile » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:42 pm

I don't think it looks good to start an academic program and not complete it. Law school admissions might be wary that you'd decide law doesn't interest you either and drop out as well.

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The Gentleman
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby The Gentleman » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:47 pm

I have a friend here at HLS that dropped out of a PhD program. Although I think they dropped out after receiving an MA.

(Anecdotal evidence FTW!)

LT21
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby LT21 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:54 pm

oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I have to complete at least 2 more semesters before I can drop out with an MS. But I really want to get out asap

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AlanShore
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby AlanShore » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:58 pm

The Gentleman wrote:I have a friend here at HLS that dropped out of a PhD program. Although I think they dropped out after receiving an MA.

(Anecdotal evidence FTW!)

I wonder if we are thinking of the same person... (but then again, this is fairly common so prob not.)

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AlanShore
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby AlanShore » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:59 pm

LT21 wrote:oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I have to complete at least 2 more semesters before I can drop out with an MS. But I really want to get out asap

just get out. i say, if you get out now after only 1 sem it will look better than dropping out 2 or 3 years in. In the end, LS is a numbers game.

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20130312
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby 20130312 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:08 pm

cinephile wrote:I don't think it looks good to start an academic program and not complete it. Law school admissions might be wary that you'd decide law doesn't interest you either and drop out as well.


The bolded is something that YOU should be concerned about right now. It sounds like you have some serious inclinations towards teaching (the PhD, teaching in Asia, part time tutor). Are you sure you want to make this potentially disastrous investment in law school?

mtyler19
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby mtyler19 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:09 pm

AlanShore wrote:
LT21 wrote:oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I have to complete at least 2 more semesters before I can drop out with an MS. But I really want to get out asap

just get out. i say, if you get out now after only 1 sem it will look better than dropping out 2 or 3 years in. In the end, LS is a numbers game.


Just browsing this thread and had to tell you I love your tar/name!

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AlanShore
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby AlanShore » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:10 pm

mtyler19 wrote:
AlanShore wrote:
LT21 wrote:oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I have to complete at least 2 more semesters before I can drop out with an MS. But I really want to get out asap

just get out. i say, if you get out now after only 1 sem it will look better than dropping out 2 or 3 years in. In the end, LS is a numbers game.


Just browsing this thread and had to tell you I love your tar/name!

best show ever.

mtyler19
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby mtyler19 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:12 pm

AlanShore wrote:
mtyler19 wrote:
AlanShore wrote:
LT21 wrote:oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I have to complete at least 2 more semesters before I can drop out with an MS. But I really want to get out asap

just get out. i say, if you get out now after only 1 sem it will look better than dropping out 2 or 3 years in. In the end, LS is a numbers game.


Just browsing this thread and had to tell you I love your tar/name!

best show ever.


So sad its over :cry:

LT21
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby LT21 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:15 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:
cinephile wrote:I don't think it looks good to start an academic program and not complete it. Law school admissions might be wary that you'd decide law doesn't interest you either and drop out as well.


The bolded is something that YOU should be concerned about right now. It sounds like you have some serious inclinations towards teaching (the PhD, teaching in Asia, part time tutor). Are you sure you want to make this potentially disastrous investment in law school?


I don't really care about teaching. I'm just doing it because there's not many other jobs I can get with my current degree and skills.

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20130312
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby 20130312 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:17 pm

mtyler19 wrote:
AlanShore wrote:
mtyler19 wrote:Just browsing this thread and had to tell you I love your tar/name!

best show ever.


So sad its over :cry:


Agreed, that show kicked ass.

Denny Crane!

bp shinners
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby bp shinners » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:06 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:Denny Crane!


Donny Crane.

To the OP, it won't look great (for the reasons others stated - questions about your ability to ride out an academic program, possible lack of interest in the law). However, there are also plenty of people who started a PhD program only to realize it's not the life they want.

You're going to have to try harder than the average person to convince the law school that this is what you really want to do. Make sure everything about your application screams that this is the right decision for you. Shadow attorneys, work at a law firm, etc... Just know that a big question on your application is going to be if you'll finish this endeavor, and answer it.

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cinephile
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby cinephile » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:23 pm

If you can stick with it to get your MS, at least you could pretend that you were just going for the MS in the first place and you never intended to get a PhD. Since you're working as a TA, at least you're (hopefully) not paying for your degree. If you can't apply till next cycle anyway, that would work with the time frame for finishing a masters.

Ultimately, it's your choice. You're the only one who knows how miserable this program makes you feel.

lifqiu
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby lifqiu » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:55 pm

If you're interested in teaching english (or want to), why are you considering a career in law?

It sounds like you dislike research, but isn't research and writing a majority of the lawyer's day to day task?

acrossthelake
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:30 pm

One of the more odder underperforming cycles (numbers for HLS, ended up at...NYU I think) occurred to someone who dropped out of a PhD program.

dntburntheday
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Re: Dropping out of grad school - how bad does it look?

Postby dntburntheday » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:24 am

no chance of converting to a master's degree to get out early?




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