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 The Thesis Doctor

Dr. Serene Lim
LL.B (Hons) · LL.M · Ph.D

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Editing For: Doctoral-Level Students
Dissertation  ·  Research  ·  Term Paper

Ending The ABD Syndrome
(All But Dissertation)

Ah, The Life Of The Grad Student.

So much thrill getting in...

Then so much frustration trying to get out.

You're not alone.

I know how you feel.

I've been there myself.

The current rates of graduation are only around 52 percent.

That's just one in two!

And if you had asked, you'd have found that among those that eventually joined the ranks of "Dr."-dom, many took 6, 7, 8 or 9 years to graduate.

Now let's do some simple arithmetic here.

Let's say Johnny Too-Good is so brilliant that he's offered admission to a Doctoral program at a prestigious university right after his Bachelor's.

He spends three years completing his coursework, then realizes he's one course short because of a conflict in course schedule or a departmental change in rules, or for whatever reason.

He can't take his Comprehensives exams till he's completed his coursework.

That's one, perhaps two, semester(s) out which he hadn't expected.

Finally he gets to take his Comprehensives, and passes.

But, wait!

There's still the Research Proposal... Proposal meeting with his committee... IRB approval... Research Protocol... and other hurdles... before he can even start on the actual research.

Then it's perhaps another two years devoted to research.

Before he knows it, Grad school funding has come to an end.

Here's where he has to make a decision -- find a job, quickly, and drop out of Grad school (after four or five years)...?!

Or continue, self- (or parental- or spouse-) funded, till he's done with his research and dissertation writing, and his adviser and committee members have approved...

It could take 7 to 10 years to graduate, by which time he could be 35 -- or older.

That's the best case scenario.

Then there're the worse...

and worst case possibilities.

What if, by the time you're finally done writing your dissertation...

· your adviser decides to take a 12-month sabbatical the semester you'd hoped to "be done"...

· one of your committee members decides to retire, or didn't get tenure and has to move to another university...

· in the time it's taken you to get your research data, some post-Doc somewhere has come up with earth-shattering findings that could make your research redundant...

· some personal or family situation requires your full attention, and writing your dissertation has to be placed on the backburner...

See how easy it is to become one of the 48 percent that remain perpetually ABD (all but dissertation)?  i.e., the non-completes.

The odds are not in your favor.

If you are serious about getting done with your Doctoral degree, and if you truly want to finally put an end to your ABD status... you need to contact me.  Like Now!

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