Unfinished Graduate Degree

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sluggla
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Unfinished Graduate Degree

Postby sluggla » Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:44 pm

Is there any harm in not finishing a graduate degree when it comes to employment? I'm looking at big law specifically. Will employers even care?

cavalier1138
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Re: Unfinished Graduate Degree

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:49 pm

I don't see why you'd report this to employers...

But schools might be a little concerned about you dropping out of a grad program.

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: Unfinished Graduate Degree

Postby SmokeytheBear » Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:59 pm

sluggla wrote:Is there any harm in not finishing a graduate degree when it comes to employment? I'm looking at big law specifically. Will employers even care?


Depends on what kind of law school you're at.

I have two friends from my t-13 who had slightly above median grades, who had both gotten almost all the way through their PhD at a very good school in a liberal art, who both struck out at OCI, while others with similar grades etc had call backs up the wazoo. I'm guessing employers saw it as lack of dedication or just bouncing around and feared that they would jump ship or just do the summer for funsies.

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sluggla
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Re: Unfinished Graduate Degree

Postby sluggla » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:07 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:I don't see why you'd report this to employers...

But schools might be a little concerned about you dropping out of a grad program.

I guess I figured I would at least have a line on my resume about it so there isn't a two year gap.

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sluggla
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Re: Unfinished Graduate Degree

Postby sluggla » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:09 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
sluggla wrote:Is there any harm in not finishing a graduate degree when it comes to employment? I'm looking at big law specifically. Will employers even care?


Depends on what kind of law school you're at.

I have two friends from my t-13 who had slightly above median grades, who had both gotten almost all the way through their PhD at a very good school in a liberal art, who both struck out at OCI, while others with similar grades etc had call backs up the wazoo. I'm guessing employers saw it as lack of dedication or just bouncing around and feared that they would jump ship or just do the summer for funsies.

T-13 and it would be not finishing a masters degree. Yeah this is what I was afraid of.

cavalier1138
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Re: Unfinished Graduate Degree

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:13 pm

sluggla wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:I don't see why you'd report this to employers...

But schools might be a little concerned about you dropping out of a grad program.

I guess I figured I would at least have a line on my resume about it so there isn't a two year gap.


I don't know why you'd do that. If you didn't finish the program, including it raises far more questions than a gap on your resume.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Unfinished Graduate Degree

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:18 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
sluggla wrote:Is there any harm in not finishing a graduate degree when it comes to employment? I'm looking at big law specifically. Will employers even care?


Depends on what kind of law school you're at.

I have two friends from my t-13 who had slightly above median grades, who had both gotten almost all the way through their PhD at a very good school in a liberal art, who both struck out at OCI, while others with similar grades etc had call backs up the wazoo. I'm guessing employers saw it as lack of dedication or just bouncing around and feared that they would jump ship or just do the summer for funsies.

I don't know if the issue here would be dropping out quite as much as spending so much time on it to begin with. Liberal arts PhDs are sort of a kiss of death for non-academic jobs - you have to really work HARD to convince employers you actually want (and can) do something else. I think spending say a year in a MA program and deciding you wanted to do something else is much easier to spin than spending 5-7 years in a PhD program and then trying to make the same argument - I think the latter also looks much more like you washed out than the former.

It's also much easier to leave off a resume and fudge the gap with other stuff. (Assuming it is like a year and you're not taking 3 to finish something that normally takes 1.)

If you have the chance to finish you probably should. If that ship has sailed I think you can work around it.

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sluggla
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Re: Unfinished Graduate Degree

Postby sluggla » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:13 am

cavalier1138 wrote:

I wasn't sure if it's at all misleading to leave that experience off a resume. I'm certainly fine not bringing it up and filling the gap with the work experience I had during the two years, but I wasn't sure whether it's frowned on to hide it.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:

It was two years and I worked part time somewhere else the entire time. It is't so much that I washed out - rather, finishing the degree was going to cost 10-15k and not advance my legal career. I chose to not delay law school and take on extra debt for something that would essentially offer me no advantage in hiring. I assume that's a spin (in the event employers see it on my resume) that might be palatable. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

(Also thanks everyone for the feedback)

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UVA2B
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Re: Unfinished Graduate Degree

Postby UVA2B » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:26 am

Provide transcripts to your law school since you're required to provide everything to them and hiding it could lead to C&F problems that would be completely unnecessary. Leave it off your resume when you get to the point where you're applying to law firms. They won't care about something that isn't on your resume unless you need the courses to prove some qualification (thinking specifically where you did a grad degree but didn't finish, but needed the credits to be patent bar eligible, which doesn't sound like the case here).

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Unfinished Graduate Degree

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:30 am

Yeah, you have to disclose as part of your law school apps/applying to the bar, but a resume is only a selection of stuff relevant to the job you're applying to, and so you can leave off whatever you like. (Within reason - not listing a BA would look really weird! But you can be selective about your experiences.)

(For the LS app resume I would leave it on since schools will get that info anyway, but the LS app resume is not really like what you'd use to get jobs.)

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sluggla
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Re: Unfinished Graduate Degree

Postby sluggla » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:31 pm

I've already been admitted and am enrolled for the fall. I initially thought I would have time to complete the degree before fall, but that's not the case.

The masters degree is bio lab intensive and I learned (through experience) that I didn't want a career in a lab. I took a couple of law courses during the program, did the research, and decided I wanted to work as an environmental attorney. I don't think the bio masters program will advance my career as an environmental attorney. I also worked in a relatively related field the entire time which can fill that gap on my resume. But if an employer asks why I didn't finish, questions my commitment, etc. - I feel like I have a decent reason. But please someone tell me if I'm off base with this.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Unfinished Graduate Degree

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:35 pm

Personally I think that's a perfectly reasonable spin on it. I think you have a decently convincing pivot to the same basic goal, but through a different means. It would be something else if you were doing a PhD in ancient Sumerian, didn't finish after 5-6 years, and then went to law school. (Not sure that's fair, but I think it's accurate.)




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