At times, it really becomes difficult to balance the load of graduate school and spending time with your family- especially if you have young kids. How do I balance the load of graduate school work with family demands and quality time? –Student Parent Dear Student Parent, We all know how time-consuming pursuing a graduate degree can be. The classroom part is not a problem, usually. You can even zone out while the professor is showing a video if you have had a rough day or pulled an all-nighter for a test in another class. But then you go home…

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Like many college students, I spent the first few semesters of college adjusting to living alone for the first time and partied way too much. I am now in my junior year and have decided that I want to go to graduate school. My GPA has taken a bit of a hit from my yearly years. What can I do to recover from a few years of partying to go on to grad school? –Struggling GPA Dear Struggling, Lower GPAs due to early transition issues from high school are fairly common.

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I finished my masters last spring and will be starting the doctoral program in the same department this fall, however, I don’t want to work with the same advisor who directed my masters. There were some definite personality issues there, and their research interests do not align with my own. I’ve identified another professor who has research interests similar to my own, and who has expressed in the past a willingness to work with me. How do I make the change while causing as little drama as possible?

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I’m applying for undergrad programs and am planning on going to graduate school. I really want to go to an Ivy League school for my graduate work, which will be pricey. I feel like it makes sense to go to a cheaper, less prestigious school for my Bachelor’s and save my money for grad school. But will it actually hurt my chances of getting into a respectable graduate school if I attend a more “average” undergrad school? –Future Ivy League Grad Dear Future Ivy League Grad,

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I am really starting to struggle in my program.  It has been five years and tens of thousands of dollars.  I am starting to feel like giving up.  Help!? –In Too Deep?? Dear In Too Deep, First of all, know that you are not alone. Countless other grad students have felt, are feeling, and will continue to feel like throwing in the towel and being done with their dissertations and school in general.

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I am currently working on my dissertation, and I am having serious problems with my committee.  Well actually, I work well with all of them, the problem is that they do not get along with each other.  They are giving me conflicting advice about edits and changes.  I am afraid that my dissertation has become a political war that really has nothing to do with me.  What do I do? –Committee Conflicts Dear Committee Conflicts, Welcome to the world of academic reality. Unfortunately, all of our gods have clay feet. Your committee is quite human and, therefore, will behave in a less-than-ideal manner. The best way to deal with people when there are disagreements is on a personal, one-to-one basis. It is not your job to be an intermediary, but you can bring an issue to their attention. Since you already have rapport with your advisors, I encourage you to meet with each and request advice on how to address the problem (be prepared for blame shifting). By engaging them in this manner, it is possible that some of them will take up your cause to create consensus among the committee members. They all have a stake in your completing your dissertation.

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I am fairly statistically savvy.  In fact, I have an MS in Statistics that I received before enrolling in the PhD program I am in now.  I am currently working on my dissertation and am having a problem with my chair.  Overall, he’s been very supportive and helpful, but when it comes to his recommendations for chapter four, there are a lot of things that he is asking for that are just wrong.  What’s the best way to tell the chair – the person most responsible for whether or not I finish my dissertation – that he is wrong?  At the same time, I cannot just follow him as he runs amuck with my dissertation data. –Stuck on Statistics Dear Stuck on Statistics, The first thing that you want to be aware of is that this is a delicate situation. You definitely wouldn’t want to come right out and tell your chair that he is wrong in his suggestions to you. The second thing that you want to realize is that your relationship with your chair is such an important one that you want to keep civil and not hostile in any way. If you try to convince him that he is wrong, then you may ruin this important bond that should remain healthy with him.

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I completely understand that the point of a dissertation is to contribute to the body of literature in the field, and I am proud that I will get to be a part of that. However at the same time, I am so ready to be done with school. Can you just tell me the easiest way to get through a dissertation? –Dissertation Dash Dear Dissertation Dash,

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