On MBAs, MFAs, and Selling Soft Pretzels in China

We will never stop talking about whether MFAs are worthwhile. That horse has been killed, sold in part for meat and in part for glue, buried, and prayed over, and we're still beating it.

The ABCs of Grad School Should Include “ABD”

When most people wrestle with the perennial question, “Should I go to grad school?” they consider many variables: cost, distance, future job prospects, loss of salary, potential long-term salary gain, how good their names would look with initials after them, how proud their parents would be, whether their parents would even notice, and so on. But how many folks stop and think, “What if I start and never finish?”

Starting a PhD and ending up “ABD” — or, “All But Dissertation” — is vastly more common than you might think.

Today, the Ph.D. Completion Project estimates that the ten-year completion rate (that is, someone’s status a decade after they begin) is 55–64 percent in STEM, 56 percent in the social sciences, and 49 percent in the humanities. … Some advisers are helpful and supportive. But many run the gamut between absentee, excoriating, and micromanagerial. There are the advisers who retire, leave, or even die. Then there’s the total lack of preparedness for such an extensive and rigorous project: A seminar paper is a 5K fun run; a dissertation is an ultramarathon. And in the social sciences and STEM fields, there are data sets or experiments that simply fall apart.

That means about half of people who pursue a doctorate in any field give up before they get the sheepskin, but after they have endured years of privation and toil. The Slate article has advice for people who find themselves in that position, as well as advice for others in higher ed, but mostly it’s a good Monday morning eye-opener. Those of who did manage to finish your ultramarathons PhDs, congrats! Feel extra-special-good about yourselves today.

Counselor, World Traveler, Wrangler of Young Jews: A Hiring History

I was in my bed in that slim space between being awake and asleep when I realized I was in my 30’s and hadn’t been to grad school yet.

From the Other Side of the Tracks to the Tenure Track: Chatting with a Humanities Prof

My family has been the key reason I’ve always been able to push myself forward. They always tell me how proud they are of me, the way I stand up for myself, resist what people try to convince black girls they should believe about themselves

How To Do Money Before, During & After Grad School

Minimize teaching. Academia functions by exploiting low wage workers to teach undergraduates. That’s you.

Reader Mail: Going to Grad School and Being Responsible

I’m a recent college graduate and have been working as a government contractor for the past two years. I have saved about $15,000, which I have mentally divided into thirds: travel/fun money, emergency money, and long-term savings money. I have about $4,000 in Stafford Loan debt leftover from college and no consumer debt.