Reasons why students fails to get a PhD

The number of students dropping out of graduate school and not getting their PhD is higher than ever!

The dropout rate among PhD schools is high as advancing one's college education is easier said than done. In fact, turns out that students at these colleges fail to graduate half of the time.

This article dives into common reasons for failure and lessons that can be learned for new graduates entering school.

Make sure to focus on your courses and grades

So many students could care less about their grades at grad school. The way most see it, is the optimal GPA is the minimal GPA, meaning doing as little as possible is good enough.

The reasoning behind this is, a graduate degree is often based upon research, writing research papers, thesis, etc. The more time spent in the classroom getting a good overall grade, can also symbolize less time researching your field of study.

I suggest that you spend the first two years at grad school, finding an adviser, choosing an area to research heavily, read lots of paper and then try small, research papers in your particular area of interest. Spending all of your time in class and focusing on coursework will take away from this side of the PhD experience.

Learn as much as you but focus on your field

The vast majority of students who attend grad school, do so because they are want to focus their students on a particular field they are passionate about. That is understandable. And make no mistake about it, you will spend lots of time studying that field and knowing it well.

But all of that studying is full of knowledge that you will constantly take in and eventually apply to your thesis.

Spending time at classes or taking in lectures that do not relate specifically to the degree you wish to obtain, is usually a waste of time. This is because by the end of their third year, a typical PhD student needs to have read anywhere from 50 to 150 papers to defend a thesis that relates specifically to their degree. Because so many students focus on other fields of interest and lectures and not enough on their field of study, they struggle to put together a thesis that relates specifically to their degree.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't have a passion for learning because you should.

The whole situation reminds me of a friend who went to graduate school for a degree in computer science. While there, he attended lectures on physics, math, philosophy, etc. He diverted so much of his attention away from computer sciences, after finding a love for those other fields, that he struggled to put together a final thesis on computer sciences.

His thesis paper that year was not good. In the end, he stayed back another year and focused everything on his field of study. But this meant more time at grad school, more classes to attend and ultimately a higher tuition payment.

We can argue over the value of the additional knowledge he obtained in physicals, match, etc but not focusing on his field had a negative impact on his PhD experience.

The truth is, others without his financial situation may have had to drop out of school rather spend another year refocusing their studies and catching back up.

Don't threat your PhD like 9-to-5 job!

Graduate school can definitely consume you as there is so much to take in, so much to understand so much to learn.

Often times students will treat a phd education like a full time job, committing themselves 9 to 5 from earning mornings to late afternoons. In reality, a Phd program can consume much more of your time and students that limits their focus to the hours of a day job, find that getting a Phd can be delayed by another 5 or more years!

This is why I suggest focusing as much time as possible on your Phd including nights and weekends.

Students who get behind in their studies, often find they have dug themselves into a hole and are forced to drop out of grad school.

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