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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The holiday season is fast approaching, and if you’re like me you probably feel like a stranger going home for the winter break. One of the common refrain graduate students say is, “My parents still don’t know what I do.” In a research-heavy, experimental psychology program, the misconceptions of what “we do” abound. For me, my career goals currently encompass getting either an academic job teaching and doing research at…

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I could not be more pleased to be writing this blog right now. For many years, PhDStudent.com was but a twinkle in my eye and a notepad full of ideas, but now it’s finally come into fruition. My name is René P, and I have a Masters and PhD in Experimental Psychology. I work as a senior statistician for both a university and a consulting company that I founded. I…

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