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Author Topic: admit i'm a drop-out?  (Read 1978 times)

lexylit

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admit i'm a drop-out?
« on: June 23, 2004, 05:27:55 PM »
mind if i hit you guys up for some advice?

i'm on the young end of non-traditional (24). i got my BA in 02 and my MA in 03, both from prestigious big-name schools. right after that i started a PhD, got a 4.0 in my first quarter, and promptly dropped out and took a job at a law firm and started studying for lsats instead of continuing down the (excruciatingly long) PhD path. while ranked #1 in the country for my particular field, this third school is not a name school and probably not a place adcoms would really be impressed by.

i know i'm required to submit all transcripts from all schools, but i dont know whether to downplay my dropout-status and make it seem like my MA was just a step on the path to lawschool, or on the contrary really get into an explanation of why i chose to leave my program. likewise, am having trouble deciding whom to ask for recs out of profs at all 3 schools! undergrad seems a little far away, plus im afraid the response will be "wasn't i just writing you a rec for an entirely different grad program not long ago?"

likewise, i started writing a very pretty personal statement and a friend pointed out i might look to a law school like i still belong in academia rather than law. any thoughts would be awesome, i know im not the first to go this way  :) thx

Ginatio

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Re: admit i'm a drop-out?
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2004, 05:57:44 PM »
I know of a lot of people in the legal field that dropped PhDs to go for the JD... It may deserve some explanation as an addendum to your application, but don't blow it out of proportion.

And make sure you don't put it on your resume if you're including a resume. I've heard that adcoms and recruiters in general don't look too kindly on something to the effect of "Partial PhD coursework completed" on a resume (apparently it happens quite often).

For your recommendation... I'd say do what I did and get a letter from your supervising attorney at work, as well as one from an advisor or professor that knew you really well in school (masters rather than bachelors in your case).

As for your personal statement sounding like you belong in academia... that's not necessarily a bad thing. I get the feeling that the top 10 schools (especially Yale) tend to take in a certain number of people who would make good future law professors. After all, the more academic you are, the more you publish in various law reviews, and the better it makes your alma mater look...

but I can't tell you much more than that without having read it.

lexylit

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Re: admit i'm a drop-out?
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2004, 06:01:27 PM »
thank you, thats really helpful-- esp the resume point. obv i would never in a million years have lied about or excluded it, the question was more how to play it off.

swagger

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Re: admit i'm a drop-out?
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2004, 06:15:53 PM »
I personally think it is ridiculous you would have to play it off.

"Dropping out" of a PhD program sounds bad, but is really no worse than any career change.  I have a career now, and I have decided I want to switch, and the experience in my current career only strengthens my desire to be a lawyer.

Likewise, starting a PhD program and not completing it is no reflection of your abilities or commitment, but your personal ambitions.  The admissions committee should look positively on the fact you tried something first, didn't like it, and decided to go to law school instead.

Admissions committees suck.

flecktone

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Re: admit i'm a drop-out?
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2004, 07:06:57 PM »
I definitely agree that you should fully disclose all your transcript information.  I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but dropping out of the Ph.D program may be perceived as backing out of a monumental commitment due to fear of failure (and do you expect law school to be any easier?)  You might want to keep this in mind when writing your personal statement.  Again, I don't think this way, but who knows how they think.  (IMHO)

lexylit

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Re: admit i'm a drop-out?
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2004, 07:19:02 PM »
try "fear of poverty"

Ginatio

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Re: admit i'm a drop-out?
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2004, 07:22:21 PM »
lol. fear of geeky coworkers was my excuse.

anyway, one more bit of advice... make sure you're conscious of not making your explanation for dropping the phd seem like you're flaky and will jump around from this to that.

try "fear of poverty"

jacy85

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Re: admit i'm a drop-out?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2004, 01:11:01 PM »
I don't think it would effect you at all.  I'm going to agree with the other poster who compared it to a career change.  You got into a school that's #1 in your field, got a 4.0, but decided, ultimately, that it wasn't for you.  So you got a job in a law firm instead, making the intelligent choice to not pursue something you weren't happy with.  And after working in the law firm, you'd confirmed that law school is for you.

You made a mature, intelligent decision on your part, and I doubt law schools will look down on it.