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In at UPenn. I'm at a loss for words. I'm hoping everyone else who has been shut out so far receives some good news soon (hopefully a few more today who also get into Penn).

That was me.   I've applied for 4 rounds.   Finally.

which is not analogous, what would be analogous is to take a job with an extended training period, and leave immediately after that training period. I know for a fact that new nurses train often are trained for six months, and if a nurse got hired, received that training, and left for a higher paying position immediately after that training was completed, they would quickly create a bad name for themselves.

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Also, for more background, see these threads:

 

 

Quote: "My adviser and colleagues are so cool. I couldn't imagine doing this to them. A PhD is a very "personal" thing. I'd feel very manipulative and I would feel like I was letting the team down if I dropped out. The process is tough for us students, but it is also tough for advisers: they are putting time, money, and energy into us. We take a gamble on picking a school, hoping that our advisers are supportive of our ideas, and at the same time, our advisers are taking a gamble on us.

Before starting my PhD program I would have been cool with this, but now that I know what it is like, I wouldn't recommend others try a stunt like this. It's a real jerk move. "

 

 

Choice quote from the second thread:

"This gets asked all the time on these boards, you should check out past topics. My personal feelings, along with the consensus on these forums, is that this is generally a bad thing to do. You will definitely burn bridges and make things complicated for yourself. Do you think your adviser at the 1st university would really write you a strong LOR for the 2nd university? How would you explain yourself in your SOP for the 2nd application? You are clearly going to have to show you enrolled into a PhD program and then quit. How excited do you think the 2nd school will be about taking someone on who has already done that once?"

 

 

Choice quote:

 

"This is more from my personal view and other fellow grad student views as I have not discussed it with professors, but I believe it is generally frowned upon to leave the PhD program after getting your Masters. I think you are potentially blackballing yourself from academia. It basically just looks like you wanted to come in and get a free Masters and then leave. You waste the school's time and your adviser's time and worst of all you take another potential student's spot that legitimately wants to go there. I would also think that any future schools would be very cautious with your application since you went to another school and left after a Masters. In their eyes, they might think you would just do that again. I would also think your adviser would not write you the best LOR. Imagine if your were the advisor, you are doing work you are proud of, building up good relationships, and then you find out one of your students never wanted to be in your lab to begin with and then they want to leave for another university which basically means they used you to get a Masters, and then they ask you for a letter of rec? 

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I am against the attitude of accepting a PhD spot with no intention of finishing. If you like the school you are accepted to and you like the work they are doing, you should go there and be happy. "

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Also, for more background, see these threads:

 

 

Quote: "My adviser and colleagues are so cool. I couldn't imagine doing this to them. A PhD is a very "personal" thing. I'd feel very manipulative and I would feel like I was letting the team down if I dropped out. The process is tough for us students, but it is also tough for advisers: they are putting time, money, and energy into us. We take a gamble on picking a school, hoping that our advisers are supportive of our ideas, and at the same time, our advisers are taking a gamble on us.

Before starting my PhD program I would have been cool with this, but now that I know what it is like, I wouldn't recommend others try a stunt like this. It's a real jerk move. "

 

 

Choice quote from the second thread:

"This gets asked all the time on these boards, you should check out past topics. My personal feelings, along with the consensus on these forums, is that this is generally a bad thing to do. You will definitely burn bridges and make things complicated for yourself. Do you think your adviser at the 1st university would really write you a strong LOR for the 2nd university? How would you explain yourself in your SOP for the 2nd application? You are clearly going to have to show you enrolled into a PhD program and then quit. How excited do you think the 2nd school will be about taking someone on who has already done that once?"

 

 

Choice quote:

 

"This is more from my personal view and other fellow grad student views as I have not discussed it with professors, but I believe it is generally frowned upon to leave the PhD program after getting your Masters. I think you are potentially blackballing yourself from academia. It basically just looks like you wanted to come in and get a free Masters and then leave. You waste the school's time and your adviser's time and worst of all you take another potential student's spot that legitimately wants to go there. I would also think that any future schools would be very cautious with your application since you went to another school and left after a Masters. In their eyes, they might think you would just do that again. I would also think your adviser would not write you the best LOR. Imagine if your were the advisor, you are doing work you are proud of, building up good relationships, and then you find out one of your students never wanted to be in your lab to begin with and then they want to leave for another university which basically means they used you to get a Masters, and then they ask you for a letter of rec? 

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I am against the attitude of accepting a PhD spot with no intention of finishing. If you like the school you are accepted to and you like the work they are doing, you should go there and be happy. "

 

Amen. Even as a self-described asshole, I would never do this. I've visited a few schools already and after a weekend alone, I feel bad about turning down folks -- I can't imagine what it would feel like after 2+ years. I don't want to believe that people leaving a funded program is a regular thing. Maybe I'm naive, but given a position of power, I would never hire someone who did any of what was described above.

 

At the end of the day, for folks considering this, I would challenge them to consider alternative ways to maximize the utility of their time. Work for a reputable think tank, publish something, learn some challenging new quantitative techniques... There are other ethical ways to reach your goals.

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I've advised students who have transferred for a variety of reasons, including opting for better funding, a better ranked program, and a group of faculty that better suited their interests. I've got no hard feelings about it at all. If they're happier, I'm happy. More relevant than my own personal views is the fact that I've seen job applications that include letters of recommendation from two different departments because the applicant has transferred in the course of their graduate training while keeping a close relationship with faculty at the school they left. So while people may have different views about this personally, I think the disciplinary norms are not as strong as some posters on here suggest.

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I think there are numerous reasonable explanations for transferring programs. Family or personal illness is the most obvious and understandable.

 

However much of what people are mentioning is "grey area" to say the least. Here is just one example. If your research interests change so much that your current faculty can no longer advise/teach you properly, and they aren't open to you taking classes elsewhere or using an outside advisor, is it ok to transfer? If you have there blessing, I say sure. Even if you don't but you simply can't progress with your research, I say probably. But if you went to a program to get trained in methods (year 1 and 2) only to leave for a better program because your interests have "changed" (but this was your plan all along), you're an asshole. Simply put. It might not even be identifiable that you've done this amongst your faculty and peers. But having a good "excuse" or getting away with it doesn't mean you didn't do it.

 

You can say... so what? I'd say life is largely self-reflective. And I hope departments do more than just frown on such behavior. 

Edited by IR IR IR PhD
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I think there are numerous reasonable explanations for transferring programs. Family or personal illness is the most obvious and understandable.

 

However much of what people are mentioning is "grey area" to say the least. Here is just one example. If your research interests change so much that your current faculty can no longer advise/teach you properly, and they aren't open to you taking classes elsewhere or using an outside advisor, is it ok to transfer? If you have there blessing, I say sure. Even if you don't but you simply can't progress with your research, I say probably. But if you went to a program to get trained in methods (year 1 and 2) only to leave for a better program because your interests have "changed" (but this was your plan all along), you're an asshole. Simply put. It might not even be identifiable that you've done this amongst your faculty and peers. But having a good "excuse" or getting away with it doesn't mean you didn't do it.

 

You can say... so what? I'd say life is largely self-reflective. And I hope departments do more than just frown on such behavior. 

I met someone at a visitation day event that is transferring from a "good" program because of the disgusting department politics. I am also visiting that school and will gladly report on it once it is over. 

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I don't want to get into this argument. All the ethics talk is scary.

 

However, I do want to emphasize for the future applicants reading these pages who are thinking of transferring (and who may be stressing out): It is OK. It is common. Faculty members at your institution and at the schools you will apply encounter this kind of stuff all the time. I am just a lowly grad student who is about to become -yet again- a lowly grad student, so my perspective is obviously limited. Still, if you have concerns and want to talk about it, feel free to PM me now or in the future. I would be happy to offer my two cents.

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I got my PhD from a small department where transferring was rare (though did happen) and work at one where transferring is pretty common.  You run into the occasional faculty member that gets offended, but most folks I've met understand these decisions.  It can be comparable to changing advisers or committee members in that respect.  Read the room first, but at the end of the day you need to do what's best for you. 

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So... you are waitlisted at two schools that you'd seriously consider. You are likely not to find out to the last minute (i.e. April 12-15). Is it wrong to ask to visit a school you are waitlisted at... and by ask, I mean politely demand? I love one of the programs I am already into and I need to visit these schools and meet the faculty before I make an educated decision. Thoughts?

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I would absolutely do that. Since you won't have much time to do your due diligence when you get out of the waitlist (fingers crossed), no reason why you shouldn't do it now. If you don't get out of the waitlist, fine, you can go with your current option. If you do, you will be able to make a more careful decision by visiting. 

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I would absolutely do that. Since you won't have much time to do your due diligence when you get out of the waitlist (fingers crossed), no reason why you shouldn't do it now. If you don't get out of the waitlist, fine, you can go with your current option. If you do, you will be able to make a more careful decision by visiting. 

Thanks Gnome, my thoughts exactly!

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IRToni, it is definitely weird, but this appears to be Cambridge's standard operating procedure. I found my offer just looking online at my account, and didn't receive an email until several weeks later. 

 

Also you might know this already (although I didn't), but you don't have to worry about the college. Even if you don't get your first choice of college, you will automatically get into one of them. So you're pretty much in! Congrats!

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IRToni, it is definitely weird, but this appears to be Cambridge's standard operating procedure. I found my offer just looking online at my account, and didn't receive an email until several weeks later. 

 

Also you might know this already (although I didn't), but you don't have to worry about the college. Even if you don't get your first choice of college, you will automatically get into one of them. So you're pretty much in! Congrats!

 

Thanks! I am wondering what the condition is, though! Since I'm currently enrolled and all... Also, I'm still waiting on funding, so... Did you apply to any of the trusts?

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Thanks! I am wondering what the condition is, though! Since I'm currently enrolled and all... Also, I'm still waiting on funding, so... Did you apply to any of the trusts?

 

Go to your self-service account, and next to your admissions status I'm pretty sure that there should be a button that says 'see offer conditions'. Mine was that I finish my MA 'with distinction', but I guess it can vary from specific grades to simply graduating from your current program. 

 

I'm also waiting on funding... I unfortunately missed the Gates deadlines so I'm just applying for international trust and a few specific ones linked to my college. Not holding out too much hope, though. From what I understand we're supposed to hear about funding some time towards the end of April.  

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Just wanted to say that I turned down two schools that I knew I was not going to attend because of better offers (and so any waitlisters had a better shot of finding out sooner). I was very nervous about the whole process, especially because the "negotiations" with these schools did not go over too well -- partially why I'm considering alternative institutions. Both GDs I emailed, as well as a few professors that I had mentioned as my POIs were all incredibly courteous and positive in their replies. I was happily surprised by this. 

 

Word of the wise -- write a personalized note declining your offer. It will make every party involved feel better.  :)

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