Doctoral Studies Checklist

I shared this same post on my RokAdviser blog and found it to be beneficial for career transitioners and leaders as well. Many times, as professionals move forward in life, they decide that it is time for an advanced degree. Regardless of the profession, there seems to be a rise in talk about getting doctorate degrees. Everyone has his or her own reason for getting an advanced degree, but many people wrestle with it. The process of selecting a school, applying to a program, and then navigating the program can be incredibly overwhelming. According to Cassuto (2013), approximately 50% of doctoral students don’t finish their degrees. According to Statistics Solutions (2019), about 56% of Ph.D. students earn their degrees in 10 years. Now there are many variables attributing to these numbers, but we can safely say that graduate school is an experience of its own. Add to that the life of a regular working adult and this experience gets even more challenging, which brings me to the checklist.

If you find yourself in the situation of deciding whether or not to pursue a doctorate, consider reviewing the checklist to see what is involved (generally speaking) and what you have to look forward to. Getting a doctorate is an exhausting, exhilarating, fun, and overwhelming experience. Yes, it’s all of these things, but it can be a relatively positive experience if you are as prepared as you can be.

Therefore, I’ve created the checklist. It’s general because every program is different, but this provides a road map to consider and follow. As always, review the 300+ page college catalog and meet with your soon to be adviser, but allow this checklist to be of help.

Keep leading and be safe,


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