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Kicked out of grad school--please help.

stubbornhorsestubbornhorse Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
edited July 2011 in Graduate School
Dear readers,

I struggled for a year of graduate school at a good Phd program. They did not think I was ready for 2nd year, not so much because I had weaker grades (my GPA was well above whatever the minimum was but I had B+s, some A-s and an A) but because they felt I did not have a viable project for future fieldwork and dissertation and also because they did not think I was truly committed to it right now. My project evolved into different forms/shapes and I switched it entirely toward the end (asking my advisor first of course), which was a huge mistake now that I think of it, so they questioned what am I really committed to? What am I ready for?

I only took a year off after college, so my ideas were not as formulated and I didn't have as much experience as my peers who were older, many had MAs, lived where they want to do fieldwork, speak the language, etc. I didn't think it would be a problem, I thought I can still compete and "catch up" but reality hit that I was truly not ready. They brought up the fact that I did not take enough time post college and how basically they are generally nervous about taking people from undergrad to grad, but gave it a shot.

Needless to say, I feel a lot of anxiety, depression, and fear. I feel like I had a perfect chance, I was one of the lucky few who made it with the full funding and the stipend deal, and I messed it all up--to put it lightly. I hate myself each day for not coming up with a better project, not seizing any and all opportunity to make things work. Worst of all, I think I just messed up my academic future.

But to get to the point: What are my chances of actually getting into another PhD program later on, in the same field? How can I redeem myself?

Post edited by stubbornhorse on

Replies to: Kicked out of grad school--please help.

  • mantidguymantidguy Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    What was the official reason you were dismissed? I'm not sure which field you are in, but I would suggest that you read the Graduate Handbook to determine if they had just cause to kick you out and if so, what are your options.
  • stubbornhorsestubbornhorse Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    I believe it was my first year paper. We don't take exams. Instead, we submit a paper and need to get evaluated during the first-year-review. They didn't think my research project was good enough, basically and as much as they saw my progress it didn't "come together." I am in anthropology.
  • mantidguymantidguy Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    I'm sorry you had issues. I would suggest (assuming you are still passionate about anthropology) that you drop down to a MA and/or get the experience that you lacked and than go for a PhD when you know you can be successful. However, I have no idea how the anthropology field works, so my advice could be meaningless. Best of luck.
  • stubbornhorsestubbornhorse Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Thank you. Do you--or anyone else on here--know how much it can affect my chances of getting into another PhD program? Is it really bad on my record?
  • studentengineerstudentengineer - Posts: 216 Junior Member
    Ouch good luck with everything

    Sent from my HTC HD2 using CC App
  • mantidguymantidguy Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    As I said before, I'm not in the field (I'm life sciences); however, I think it would depend on the official reason that they dismissed you. I don't think it could be academic dismissal because your GPA was good. I think that if you were successful in a MA, than you could always tell your future PhD interviewers that you weren't ready for a PhD at the time, but after XYZ experiences during your MA, that you have proven you're ready and will be successful.
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Registered User Posts: 4,229 Senior Member
    As many have noted, it depends a great deal on the circumstances and written reasons for your removal from the program. You apparently had good grades, and were not expelled for dishonorable reasons (such as cheating), so I should think you still have a good chance at another quality program. I would carefully examine the reasons for your departure before applying - I expect another program would want to be sure that it would not reoccur should they admit you.
  • ticklemepinkticklemepink Registered User Posts: 2,764 Senior Member
    Have a straight-up talk with your adviser. I've found that professors, unless asked directly, tend to evade the real issues at hand because they don't really want to hurt anyone's feelings. You need real answers because you want to continue with your PhD in the future and you need to say so.
  • BrownParentBrownParent Registered User Posts: 12,776 Senior Member
    Don't such programs have X amount of guaranteed funding (minus gpa or academic dishonesty issues? I too am wondering what the official doc's say.
  • polarscribepolarscribe Registered User Posts: 3,232 Senior Member
    There is always an out clause for "unsatisfactory performance" or "failure to make adequate progress on research" or some such, that basically allows them to give you the boot if they don't feel you're hacking the program, actual GPA notwithstanding.
  • jsanche32jsanche32 Registered User Posts: 671 Member
    ^^^ Read your school's policy handbook, it will be there.
  • jsanche32jsanche32 Registered User Posts: 671 Member
    For the record, you should be able to appeal the decision if you want to go down that road.
  • polarscribepolarscribe Registered User Posts: 3,232 Senior Member
    Rarely is an appeal successful. You'd need absurdly strong evidence of misconduct to get any committee to overturn the judgment of the professors who advised your research. Besides, even if it was successful, you'd be a pariah in the program - good luck defending your dissertation or getting any letters of recommendation for academic jobs or grants.

    Best to move on.
  • mantidguymantidguy Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    I 100% agree with polarscribe! If you were able to win you appeal, the experience and environment would GREATLY change. It would most likely be a terrible situation.
  • stubbornhorsestubbornhorse Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    thanks guys. i guess programs are different. mine expected me to know what my project is and where i am going after the 1st year--to have my original ideas, research plans, etc. figured out sufficiently enough at this rather early point. other programs are more lenient and allow students to "evolve" more later on. i have to figure out where to go from here. i kind of had this PhD plan set without a plan B. :(
This discussion has been closed.