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PhD transfer from school A to B


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I am going to start my PhD at school A this Fall, meanwhile I want to apply for a few other schools for Fall, 2012, and depending on the outcome, I may want to switch from school A to B after one year.

In my new applications, do I have to mention that I am already attending the PhD program of school A? My guess is I should do so, as in the end I will need to make a sevis transfer request. However, I'm afraid mentioning that I'm attending school A, may have a bad impression, and I'll need to explain why I want to switch in my SOP, etc. This might in the end have adverse effects on my future in either School A, and B; that's to say School B might decide not to take me as I am switching after my arrival, and school A might feel upset about this decision and does not offer any financial assistance anymore. After all, I don't want to lose the option of attending school A unless I become sure I can go to school B, and that presumably wouldn't be sooner than middle of the first year.

I know transferring from one grad school to another is something that many do, but everything seems so mysterious and scary to me...

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I know transferring from one grad school to another is something that many do, but everything seems so mysterious and scary to me...

Transferring between grad schools isn't common at all, and isn't particularly easy- especially not the way you describe. You pretty much have to tell your current school you want to transfer in the fall semester, and get letters of rec from your current faculty. Schools really want to see a "blessing" from your current school about you leaving, and they'll want to know why- so have a good reason.

Don't try to do it under the radar... If someone finds out, it will screw you over far worse than if you're up front about it. I knew someone that applied to another school in his first year... And the first thing that department did was call his advisor and ask what the deal was. Since he hadn't told his advisor, it made for very uncomfortable situations all around.

If you want to go to school B, you really should either hold off on school A, or go to school A, finish a masters, and then apply to school B. Going somewhere with the intention of switching isn't good for the school (you don't usually become worth your funding right away), and risks giving you a bad rep overall.

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yaaa, although it is frowned upon, i'm curious as to why you'd want to switch to school B anyways? If your reason is "it has a better name and rank", it's not worth the hassle.

HOWEVER, just because your at a school doesn't mean you have to stay there permanently, if you want somewhere else, you better have backups as well because your relationship will be tainted afterwards.

My friend is in a similar situation, he was accepted into a PhD program at school A, and plans on completing the MS there first en route and apply to PhD programs at school B. He says if hes not accepted anywhere else then he plans on continuing his PhD at school A. You have to be straight up with your advisors though, my friend said hes going to tell him he needs a recommendation to try and apply to schools closer to home, but fully expects if the schools closer to home dont accept him he'll be back there to finish.

I question why you would even waste a year at a school and come out with nothing. You'll end up taking about 6-7 courses during this time and when you transfer to school B they'll take AT MAX 2-3 courses. The rest will be a waste. If you stay an extra semester (possibly even the summer to finish up before you go to school B in the fall), you'll come out with your MS, and going from an MS to PhD is generally an easier transition course wise compared to a BS to PhD - although this is not always the case.

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