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Reapplying after dropping out?


polaris85

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Hi everyone-

I'm currently in my first year of a terminal MA program in Sociology (fully funded). When first looking at graduate schools, I was looking to eventually go into social/policy research, so Sociology seemed to make sense. However, my employment experience in the months prior to starting the program really changed my mind about my interests. I'm still interested in social policy, but definitely from a professional policy analysis/public finance perspective. Eventually I want to work in the public sector on policy and how to best allocate funds into various programs. That being said, Sociology on its own is not entirely helpful to me- the program I am presently enrolled in has limited quantitative emphasis and there are very, very limited opportunities to study political science/management/economics types of courses with a public sector emphasis. I am really depressed in my current program and feel like I am not really making progress towards my goals.

So I am considering leaving this program, going back to work for another year or two (on top of the 2 years I already have working in the public sector) and then applying to MPP programs. I'm curious as to what impact this would have on applying to future programs? Will they view this (leaving) negatively? Should I just stick it out even though I am entirely unmotivated by my coursework and feel that none of it would really be useful to me in a professional policy setting?

I am concerned because I have been hearing mixed stories about the impact of dropping out and then trying to reapply to something else. Some indicate that it signals the applicant's lack of ability/commitment, while others I have spoken to state that it is not an uncommon phenomena and could be easily and briefly addressed in a personal statement. I'm considering applying to UMich (Ford), and being that it is a top school in the Policy field, I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by leaving if it will look entirely bad on my application.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

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I think it's a good thing knowing what you like and what you do not and realizing it early before it's too late to start over.

Personally I don't think dropping out from your current program would give a bad effect on your future applications, provided that your work experience following the drop out is relevant and justifies your motivations convincingly. It could be a positive impact. You can always explain everything on your personal statement anyway. I wouldn't be too worried about my future applications. I would rather worry about my work and how to build a solid experience in two years in preparation for admission to the new program.

But that's just my opinion.

Perhaps you can consult your academic advisor or something for more insights...

Good luck!

Edited by bubuli
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