Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
Excitotoxicity
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Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby Excitotoxicity » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:53 pm

I'm currently a second year PhD student attending my top choice graduate program. I receive my university's most valuable fellowship and am at the top of my class, but I'm not sure I want to continue. I drastically underestimated the amount of fine manual labor my laboratory would require and nothing in my life has induced the same combination of frustration, anger, and boredom. Secondarily, I have no friends or family whatsoever within a thousand miles. I haven't been entirely committed to a career in science for some time now and considered myself to be in graduate school largely for fun. I'm no longer having any fun. I've always thought that I might have an interest in pursuing patent law and I see that UC Berkeley's patent law program is ranked very highly. Furthermore, I have friends, family and a significant other in the immediate area. I've spent a little bit of time looking at practice LSAT tests and believe that with a little preparation I could achieve a perfect or nearly perfect score.

Here are the issues that give me pause:

[*]Admissions officers may perceive me as an unreliable candidate because I've dropped out of a previous program.
[*]Obtaining letters of recommendation would be difficult. I haven't been in college since 2010. Even if letters from faculty in my graduate program are sufficient, I might generate too much ill will by leaving to obtain them.

I'm very depressed right now and not in a good state to actually make this decision - I'm just putting out feelers. Any advice this forum has for me would be greatly appreciated.

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banjo
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby banjo » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:15 pm

I had similar circumstances and ended up at CCN (all with some money). A few points:

(1) If possible, leave with a master's. It will make for a better story for to tell admissions and potential employers. It may even improve your chances of getting patent work.

(2) It depends on your numbers, but if you leave without a master's, I think it will hurt at HYS and possibly at Berkeley. Your instinct is correct that some people, including potential employers, will assume you don't finish what you start, or that you don't know what you want to do with your life. This is a really important point -- you will have to leave your unfinished graduate work on your resume for the next few years and talk about it.

(3) The recommendation letters will also be a problem, especially if they're coming from professors who feel you wasted their time and funding. Be very careful about whom you ask.

Be very, very careful and diplomatic about your next steps. The smoother the transition the better. I think taking a year to work could help tremendously. That's what I did, and now I have a lot more to talk about than why I left.

Excitotoxicity
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby Excitotoxicity » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:30 pm

banjo wrote:I had similar circumstances and ended up at CCN (all with some money). A few points:

(1) If possible, leave with a master's. It will make for a better story for to tell admissions and potential employers. It may even improve your chances of getting patent work.

(2) It depends on your numbers, but if you leave without a master's, I think it will hurt at HYS and possibly at Berkeley. Your instinct is correct that some people, including potential employers, will assume you don't finish what you start, or that you don't know what you want to do with your life. This is a really important point -- you will have to leave your unfinished graduate work on your resume for the next few years and talk about it.

(3) The recommendation letters will also be a problem, especially if they're coming from professors who feel you wasted their time and funding. Be very careful about whom you ask.

Be very, very careful and diplomatic about your next steps. The smoother the transition the better. I think taking a year to work could help tremendously. That's what I did, and now I have a lot more to talk about than why I left.


Thank you for your thoughts. It is certainly possible for me to leave with a masters, although it would be about another year of work. Because of my fellowship, I do not draw money directly from my adviser. In any event, he is the one person I could count on for a letter no matter what happens. He is good natured, does not hold grudges and has a very high opinion of me. That still leaves me with only one reliable letter if I do not take a year off to work (which is not a bad idea). I will incubate this advice and not rush into any decisions.

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longlivetheking
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby longlivetheking » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:41 pm

Excitotoxicity wrote:I've spent a little bit of time looking at practice LSAT tests and believe that with a little preparation I could achieve a perfect or nearly perfect score.



:roll:

Excitotoxicity
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby Excitotoxicity » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:44 pm

longlivetheking wrote:
Excitotoxicity wrote:I've spent a little bit of time looking at practice LSAT tests and believe that with a little preparation I could achieve a perfect or nearly perfect score.



:roll:



:shock: I've scored 99th percentile on most verbal/reasoning standardized tests I've taken, including the GRE. Just trying to give relevant background to my situation.

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wiz
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby wiz » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:03 pm

Excitotoxicity wrote:
longlivetheking wrote:
Excitotoxicity wrote:I've spent a little bit of time looking at practice LSAT tests and believe that with a little preparation I could achieve a perfect or nearly perfect score.



:roll:



:shock: I've scored 99th percentile on most verbal/reasoning standardized tests I've taken, including the GRE. Just trying to give relevant background to my situation.


The GRE is a joke compared to the LSAT. Not saying you can't 180 the LSAT, but copping a 99th percentile GRE doesn't necessarily translate to a perfect LSAT.

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John_rizzy_rawls
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby John_rizzy_rawls » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:08 pm

A poster last cycle with incredible numbers had some problems at HYS because of this exact situation. Make sure to at least finish the MA.

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Happy Gilmore
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby Happy Gilmore » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:34 pm

pour some sugar on meeeeeeeee, just opened the thread hoping to give relationship advice.

I would finish the masters if at all possible, but again that is 4 more years of school counting law school. I dunno how old you are but I myself am kinda tired of my life being in limbo not knowing where I will end up with so much school ahead of me.

science masters and JD is a legit combination on paper.

MrAnon
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby MrAnon » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:57 pm

You act like the schools are agonizing over each applicant.

They care for three things: 1. GPA 2. LSAT 3. ability to pay or borrow

If you meet a threshold level of only two of these things but not the third, you will not be admitted. if you meet the threshold level of all three, you will be admitted.

It is that plain and simple.

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Happy Gilmore
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby Happy Gilmore » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:26 pm

MrAnon wrote:You act like the schools are agonizing over each applicant.

They care for three things: 1. GPA 2. LSAT 3. ability to pay or borrow

If you meet a threshold level of only two of these things but not the third, you will not be admitted. if you meet the threshold level of all three, you will be admitted.

It is that plain and simple.


I dunno how any of the schools I have applied to will be able to determine my ability to pay or borrow. cept maybe Berkeley I guess.

Ti Malice
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:36 pm

MrAnon wrote:You act like the schools are agonizing over each applicant.

They care for three things: 1. GPA 2. LSAT 3. ability to pay or borrow

If you meet a threshold level of only two of these things but not the third, you will not be admitted. if you meet the threshold level of all three, you will be admitted.

It is that plain and simple.


Way too reductive of an account for several schools in the T14.

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jselson
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby jselson » Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:24 am

OP, I left my PhD program with an MA after 3 years, and got into H, and waitlisted at YS. It shouldn't matter, as long as everything else is up to snuff, you have good LORs, and you have a good reason for switching midstream. Profs are actually pretty understanding of students who want to change programs/leave, as long as you make a reasonable case for your decision (at least mine were, but I was in hippie-dippy humanities land). Stats and cycle in profile.

Also, I believed the same thing about the LSAT, but don't underestimate it. I still studied intensely for about 3 months to bring my score up from the upper-160s.

NYC-WVU
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby NYC-WVU » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:03 pm

Excitotoxicity wrote:I'm currently a second year PhD student attending my top choice graduate program. I receive my university's most valuable fellowship and am at the top of my class, but I'm not sure I want to continue. I drastically underestimated the amount of fine manual labor my laboratory would require and nothing in my life has induced the same combination of frustration, anger, and boredom. Secondarily, I have no friends or family whatsoever within a thousand miles. I haven't been entirely committed to a career in science for some time now and considered myself to be in graduate school largely for fun. I'm no longer having any fun. I've always thought that I might have an interest in pursuing patent law and I see that UC Berkeley's patent law program is ranked very highly. Furthermore, I have friends, family and a significant other in the immediate area. I've spent a little bit of time looking at practice LSAT tests and believe that with a little preparation I could achieve a perfect or nearly perfect score.

Here are the issues that give me pause:

[*]Admissions officers may perceive me as an unreliable candidate because I've dropped out of a previous program.
[*]Obtaining letters of recommendation would be difficult. I haven't been in college since 2010. Even if letters from faculty in my graduate program are sufficient, I might generate too much ill will by leaving to obtain them.

I'm very depressed right now and not in a good state to actually make this decision - I'm just putting out feelers. Any advice this forum has for me would be greatly appreciated.


Definitely get the Master's degree. If your degree is in the right technology, you can even give the patent field a test run before going to law school by becoming a patent agent. I think this would be the perfect stepping stone for you. It could get you another LOR, and you could figure out if patent law is really right for you.

Regarding the LSAT, it's very hard to understand the difficulty of the test before taking it. Most standardized tests are not seriously testing your speed at processing/analyzing information. You either know the answer or know how to reach the answer in an appropriate amount of time. If you're really smart, you might be able to figure out how to reach the answer for a few of the questions that you didn't already know how to solve, but generally they're asking you questions that you know how to solve and timing is not particularly relevant. In contrast, for the top 20% of LSAT testers (probably), the test is only measuring their ability to come up with answers quickly. I suspect that everyone in the top 20% could get 178 or above on the LSAT with ten extra minutes on each section. Accordingly, all of these testers, when they look at LSAT questions for the first time think "oh this looks fun, I could probably rock this," and then they find themselves with four minutes left on their first practice test thinking "what do the two mauve dinosaurs have to do with a yellow triceratops?"

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Dr. Review
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby Dr. Review » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:37 pm

I think it's a relevant question to ask WHAT science we're talking about. In patent law, a PhD gets you into the "club" and can be a big deal for marketing. Many bio-related degrees that are not a PhD won't quite cut it.

I am not trying to convince you to stick with something you hate. Just adding a consideration.

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longlivetheking
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby longlivetheking » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:53 pm

NYC-WVU wrote: Accordingly, all of these testers, when they look at LSAT questions for the first time think "oh this looks fun, I could probably rock this," and then they find themselves with four minutes left on their first practice test thinking "what do the two mauve dinosaurs have to do with a yellow triceratops



this is literally 90% of all non-serious test takers. they look over 1 logic game and think this is easy as shit and copping a 175 is gonna be no problem

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IgosduIkana
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby IgosduIkana » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:48 pm

Happy Gilmore wrote:pour some sugar on meeeeeeeee, just opened the thread hoping to give relationship advice.


Me as well....

iqbalicarus
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby iqbalicarus » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:27 am

MrAnon wrote:You act like the schools are agonizing over each applicant.

They care for three things: 1. GPA 2. LSAT 3. ability to pay or borrow

If you meet a threshold level of only two of these things but not the third, you will not be admitted. if you meet the threshold level of all three, you will be admitted.

It is that plain and simple.


Geez man...why do you pretend to be an authority on legal matters? From your posting history, it appears that you're a borderline-retarded TTT grad who has not actually been employed in the legal field at all? Did not breaking 160 on the LSAT make you feel super elite or something?

03152016
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby 03152016 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:51 am

.
Last edited by 03152016 on Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dingo Starr
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Re: Would I be considered "damaged goods?"

Postby Dingo Starr » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:47 pm

We're all gangsters on the interwebz, didn't you know?
Also, is a month old thread revival really "necro"?
It may be cold but it's still enjoyable.




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