Changing grad schools after 1 year

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rohit
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Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby rohit » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:29 am

Is it common to get into a mid level school and then apply to a top school next year after improving PGRE ?
Do people who do this get selected?
Is it looked down upon and are there any other difficulties?

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grae313
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby grae313 » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:25 pm

If you apply to a mid-level masters program, then yes I think it is perfectly reasonable to either get a masters and then apply to a PhD program, or take some classes and improve your GRE scores before applying to a PhD program. However, it is highly unusual and often frowned upon to apply to a PhD program and then switch. As far as I've heard, this only happens successfully in rare and extreme anecdotal circumstances. When you apply for and receive funding into a PhD program, you are expected to give your best effort to go the whole way.

pqortic
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby pqortic » Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:08 pm

So why many grad schools put transfer option in their Graduate admission application?
I think its not that rare..

cato88
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby cato88 » Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:29 pm

When I started undergrad I always thought it was impossible to transfer to top 5 as undergrad but people do so and it is not impossible it just seems so because not that many people try.

mike164
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby mike164 » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:23 pm

If you switch after one year and if you don't have a strong reason, you will be looked down both by the department you are currently enrolled in and by the department to which you are applying.

rohit
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby rohit » Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:26 am

Darn ! :x

admissionprof
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby admissionprof » Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:35 pm

Yes, as an admissions director, we very much look down on those who apply to us from other US grad schools. At the very least, we would need an extremely good reason why, and "you're a better school" is not an extremely good reason. (plus we would require letters from someone in the current program) It is deceptive to go into one PhD program intending to apply right away, and nobody likes that (on either end). However, there are occasionally extremely good reasons (I met, fell in love and got engaged to someone at your school, for example, or my mother lives in your town and needs convalescent care).

PoincareSection
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby PoincareSection » Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:20 pm

admissionprof wrote:Yes, as an admissions director, we very much look down on those who apply to us from other US grad schools. At the very least, we would need an extremely good reason why, and "you're a better school" is not an extremely good reason. (plus we would require letters from someone in the current program) It is deceptive to go into one PhD program intending to apply right away, and nobody likes that (on either end). However, there are occasionally extremely good reasons (I met, fell in love and got engaged to someone at your school, for example, or my mother lives in your town and needs convalescent care).


What of someone comes from a terminal masters program? I am, and I'm worried that the committee is going to think that I am leaving my program for theirs, even though I put in my SOP that it was only my intent to get a masters and leave.

tmc
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby tmc » Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:40 pm

I'm pretty sure that when they accept you in a terminal masters program, they expect you to leave once you're done. Otherwise, they wouldn't offer a terminal masters at all.

rohit
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby rohit » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:08 am

And the terminal masters program would obviously be without a stipend + fee waiver?

tmc
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby tmc » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:13 am

Not necessarily, just like undergrad institutions give out scholarships, so might terminal masters. Masters students could also be hired as TAs and possibly even RAs depending on where they are.

PoincareSection
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby PoincareSection » Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:45 pm

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Last edited by PoincareSection on Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mike164
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby mike164 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:44 pm

I was also in a similar situation. I have spoken to different faculty members in my department and I would like to just share what I have learned from them. This is a long reply. If you are pressed for time, please don't read it.

If you are currently enrolled in a P.hd program and if you are applying to a different school, you will do so because,

1) You failed the qualifiers and you will have no other option than to apply to a different school.

2) You are not in good terms with your research adviser, you want leave the research group and join a better group in a different school.

3.) You have joined the school to make a temporary stay and move to a different school after you improve your PGRE.

In all the above-mentioned cases, you will be looked down by the department for which you are applying because you will not be able to get a strong recommendation from your adviser or from other people in your department.

However, If you complete your M.S (especially with thesis) from a school with a small physics department, and later if you get interested in a field of research that is not available in your department, there is no harm in applying to a different school, provided your own adviser is able to give you a very strong recommendation.

I just want to tell you guys that if you have enrolled in a P.hd program and if you are not happy about what you are doing, you can still apply to a different school irrespective of whether you are in a P.hd program or a terminal Masters program. We are talking about United States, a land of freedom and opportunity. If you are a good and honest (transparent to your adviser about your decision) student, you will have no issues transferring to a very good school. Your interest in doing research and your research abilities (substantiated by a recommendation from your adviser and publications) will be more valued at the admissions table than your sentimental reason of falling in love or caring for your mother (Do physicists really care about others??).

I cannot imagine a situation where people at MIT or Princeton is going to consider someone because they have fallen in love with a student there, neglecting hundreds of other transfer students who have excellent academic records.

admissionprof
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby admissionprof » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:31 pm

mike164 wrote:I was also in a similar situation. I have spoken to different faculty members in my department and I would like to just share what I have learned from them. This is a long reply. If you are pressed for time, please don't read it.

If you are currently enrolled in a P.hd program and if you are applying to a different school, you will do so because,

1) You failed the qualifiers and you will have no other option than to apply to a different school.

2) You are not in good terms with your research adviser, you want leave the research group and join a better group in a different school.

3.) You have joined the school to make a temporary stay and move to a different school after you improve your PGRE.

In all the above-mentioned cases, you will be looked down by the department for which you are applying because you will not be able to get a strong recommendation from your adviser or from other people in your department.

However, If you complete your M.S (especially with thesis) from a school with a small physics department, and later if you get interested in a field of research that is not available in your department, there is no harm in applying to a different school, provided your own adviser is able to give you a very strong recommendation.

I just want to tell you guys that if you have enrolled in a P.hd program and if you are not happy about what you are doing, you can still apply to a different school irrespective of whether you are in a P.hd program or a terminal Masters program. We are talking about United States, a land of freedom and opportunity. If you are a good and honest (transparent to your adviser about your decision) student, you will have no issues transferring to a very good school. Your interest in doing research and your research abilities (substantiated by a recommendation from your adviser and publications) will be more valued at the admissions table than your sentimental reason of falling in love or caring for your mother (Do physicists really care about others??).

I cannot imagine a situation where people at MIT or Princeton is going to consider someone because they have fallen in love with a student there, neglecting hundreds of other transfer students who have excellent academic records.


I agree with all of the above. The main issue is the reason that you want to leave. If you're in a terminal master's program, the reason is obvious, and you won't meet any of the three criteria above. In addition, if there is a substantial reason for wanting to switch, and your current advisor understands and discusses those reasons, then I see no problem.

Do not, however, underemphasize the importance of the two-body problem. It is one of the most serious issues in academia today, and most admissions committees will consider it to be a perfectly good reason to want to leave. Yes, physicists do care about others. Perhaps those at MIT or Princeton don't, but most do. It isn't the most important factor, but is a factor nonetheless.

cato88
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby cato88 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:40 pm

Thank you both for the comments because in my experience with people in graduate programs there are reasons that you can transfer (it is not black and white) and before mike164 and admissionprof commented there seemed to be too many people making it appear black and white that you were going to be looked down upon.

rohit
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby rohit » Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:52 am

thnx all, that was helpful ! :)
now i'm being lazy here, but could someone name a few (not top 20) schools that pay terminal masters students?

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grae313
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby grae313 » Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:20 pm

cato88 wrote:Thank you both for the comments because in my experience with people in graduate programs there are reasons that you can transfer (it is not black and white) and before mike164 and admissionprof commented there seemed to be too many people making it appear black and white that you were going to be looked down upon.


Oh, come on. Everyone said, including myself, that you will be looked down upon unless you have a really good reason. That's exactly what admissionprof said. Why do I know this? Because we had this exact same conversation with admissionprof a year ago. Unless your mother is dying or your spouse is in a different city (etc, etc, read: UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES), your application will be viewed differently than everyone else's. Differently. Simple as that.


The main point is, it is dishonest to apply for funding from a PhD program with the intention of leaving a year later. That is very much discouraged.

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grae313
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby grae313 » Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:23 pm

emperial wrote:So why many grad schools put transfer option in their Graduate admission application?


So they can put your application in the transfer pile right away.

nonick
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby nonick » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:26 pm

rohit wrote:thnx all, that was helpful ! :)
now i'm being lazy here, but could someone name a few (not top 20) schools that pay terminal masters students?


I think Oregon state had something - not exactly physics, but industrial engineering or something of that sort, where a company pays for your masters and you work on a research project that is relevant to the company's business.

cato88
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby cato88 » Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:42 pm

grae313 wrote:
cato88 wrote:Thank you both for the comments because in my experience with people in graduate programs there are reasons that you can transfer (it is not black and white) and before mike164 and admissionprof commented there seemed to be too many people making it appear black and white that you were going to be looked down upon.


Oh, come on. Everyone said, including myself, that you will be looked down upon unless you have a really good reason. That's exactly what admissionprof said. Why do I know this? Because we had this exact same conversation with admissionprof a year ago. Unless your mother is dying or your spouse is in a different city (etc, etc, read: UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES), your application will be viewed differently than everyone else's. Differently. Simple as that.


The main point is, it is dishonest to apply for funding from a PhD program with the intention of leaving a year later. That is very much discouraged.


I agree with your main point but
grae313 wrote:However, it is highly unusual and often frowned upon to apply to a PhD program and then switch. As far as I've heard, this only happens successfully in rare and extreme anecdotal circumstances.

I don't think the reasons that mike164 mentioned are extremely rare or any rarer than applying to physics grad school in the first place. You shouldn't feel compelled to stay if you have an awful advisor or decided you really want to change fields into one not offered at your grad school. Rohit doesn't seem to fit any of those reasons but somebody else reading the thread might so shouldn't spread doom and gloom unless one has to especially during the holidays.

rohit
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Re: Changing grad schools after 1 year

Postby rohit » Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:45 am

cato88 wrote: Rohit doesn't seem to fit any of those reasons but somebody else reading the thread might so shouldn't spread doom and gloom unless one has to especially during the holidays.


i might fit into them later, as those reasons arise only after i've spent some time there :|




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