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Switching Ph.D. programs


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I am currently a first year Ph.D. student and though I've only been in the program a month, I can tell it is not the one for me. And now I am so torn! I want to apply to new programs, but I don't know how to email professors or write on my SOP that I don't like my program and want to change. It is a great program, I know it is super good for what it does, but it just isn't the right fit for me. Has anyone else transferred Ph.D. programs, or know someone in their program who has? I'm nervous to come across as a program hopper or something like that, but I can't do the research I want to do or study the things I really want to study within the program I'm in. Do I just drop out and apply to new schools as though it didnt happen? I have so much anxiety about this.

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I'm curious to know what it is about this program you know isn't for you? Surely you had POI when you applied, or did you just change the direction of research you want to pursue? I'm just wondering if there's some way you can make this work at your current institution. Is there a faculty member there or advisor you could talk to about your concerns?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with butterfly_effect. The first step is to see if there is a way to make it work at your current program. Are you in the wrong subfield? Are there other subfields at your university that you can potentially work in or find professors from that you could do research with? What about other departments?

More details would be helpful, but you certainly can't just drop out and pretend like you never went there. Academia is a small world, and especially if you stay in psychology (and especially within school psychology) it may come out sooner or later. Instead you want to write a compelling narrative about why the program is not a good fit for you. And if you drop out just a month in, then yes, you will look like a program hopper. I think you need to stick with it for at least a semester (preferably a year) so you can speak to why it's not a good fit.

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