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Dual Enrollment Student Looking for Graduate School Advice

ranttilaranttila 8 replies5 threads New Member
I am currently a dual enrollment high school junior and college freshman at a small public university with a graduation rate of 48% and an average ACT of 22 (not very good). I am attending this college because it is in my hometown and in order to get my undergraduate degree done cheaper and faster. My end goal is to get a PhD in sociology from a Top 10 institution in order to become a professor. Once I graduate high school, I will have around 90 college credits and an A.A. Degree, but I am unsure where to go next. I do have lots of options, though, because I have gotten a perfect score on the SAT test and have good extracurriculars. Here are the 2 options I have:

1: I would stay at my local college (even though I have the “stats” to go to a higher academic ranking one) in order to get my bachelors in sociology after 1 more year (at age 19). I currently have a 4.0 GPA in college and hope to maintain a high GPA throughout. I also am getting research experience at the moment and plan to get more throughout my dual-enrollment years in order to boost my graduate schools application. After my bachelors in sociology, I would attend a (presumably) mid-high ranking masters program. After that is done, then I would apply for a PhD in sociology at a Top 10 Institution. My worry with this plan is that my low ranked bachelors institution would limit my options and chances at attending a Top 10 PhD institution.

2: After I am done with my dual-enrollment years, I would go to a high ranking institution such as Duke, The University of Michigan, The University of Wisconsin, or Vanderbilt. I don’t think my credits would transfer well so I would probably start with around 35. This would mean that it would take 3 more years to get my undergraduate education done (2 more than option 1). Throughout I would try to get research experience as well as maintain a high GPA. After I got my bachelors from a high ranking institution, I would then apply for Top 10 master’s and Top 10 PhD programs, with the hope that I would get into a PhD program.

What option do you think I should take, keeping in mind that my biggest goal is to get into a Top 10 PhD program for sociology? How much would getting my bachelor’s degree at a weak institution such as my own hurt me in advancing up the academic latter? I know that becoming a professor is very difficult, so I want to have the best chances by attending a Top 10 PhD granting institution. Option 1 would accelerate my career if Option 2 leads me to a master’s degree, but I just don’t know which one would be better. Could I get some help?
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Replies to: Dual Enrollment Student Looking for Graduate School Advice

  • bluebayoubluebayou 27014 replies175 threads Senior Member
    Beyond grades, research, research, research.

    Transfer to a top 4-year school with great financial aid (if needed), as those schools will give you the best chance of research and great recs. In the meantime, try to take only 'transferable' classes in your dual enrollment program, i.e., transferable at least to your state public flagship. That way, another school is more likely to accept the transfer credits as well.

    With good research, good recs, good grades and a lotta luck, you can skip the MA and go straight to a PhD.
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  • ranttilaranttila 8 replies5 threads New Member
    @bluebayou

    By “transferable classes,” what do you mean? Are you talking about 1000-2000 level classes? Do 3000+ level classes not transfer?
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2529 replies3 threads Senior Member
    There's so many presumptions in your post, I don't even know where to begin. First off, before you even think about applying to college, you need to talk to your parents and see what you can actually afford. If you can't afford the school, you're not going there no matter how prestigious it is.

    Second...sloooooooooww down! Graduate school isn't even on the radar right now, and you don't even start thinking about that until your senior year in college. Never go to a university based on rankings or a dream out of high school. That's the fastest way to end-up in a mismatch and 4 years of complete misery. The average college student changes their major at least twice. As you mature, you find hidden passions in other areas and you will likely be a different person when you graduate.

    Third, rankings are nothing more than a popularity contest and they have nothing whatever to do with educational quality. In essence, they're anything but reliable. Take some time to find 1 or 2 reach schools, and put your main focus on target and safety schools you're serious about. We can help you on this forum to refine your list too. Affordability is a precondition before you even start filling out he application.
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