Before making a choice students should go to the library and find the last two or three theses or dissertations a prospective advisor has chaired and look at the format, the depth of the statistical analysis, the length of the review of literature, and the intensity of the detail.
This should be done by every graduate student. Advisors tend to repeat themselves student after student. If a student has an advisor with any one of the bad behaviors listed previously, or another behavior that is delaying forward progress, that student should seek help immediately. The Website you are on is part of a network of Websites designed to help graduate students and others with their writing projects, whether they have a bad advisor or not. Send him or her e-mails on a regular basis, and keep it up the entire time the thesis or dissertation is in process.
Advisors like to know students are working hard and should be impressed with your enthusiasm and dedication, real or not. When a deadline approaches, remind the advisor 4 weeks in advance, and again 2 weeks before the deadline occurs.
Put a box somewhere at home and keep every scrap of paper pertaining to your graduate degree program. In particular, keep a CD copy or a hard copy of every corrected manuscript the advisor hands back. Keep all e-mails from the advisor. These records are for the graduate dean, if needed.
Keep track of how many weeks or months of work have gone into the proposal to do research, and the thesis or dissertation as a whole. The average thesis project beginning to end should not take more than one semester. The average dissertation should not take more than two semesters. If your advisor assigns tasks that are outside the thesis or dissertation process, or are personal in nature, refuse politely.
Students pay semester hours to work on their graduate degrees, and nothing else. If your advisor fails to acquaint you with a the thesis or dissertation process, including deadlines; b the need for approval for use of human subjects and what committee makes those recommendations; c graduate school editorial requirements; or d any other organizational requirements that must be met before graduating, you should track down all the information.
Then put it all in an e-mail to your advisor asking for confirmation so it is on the record. A reasonable amount of time for an advisor to hand back work is 2 weeks.
When the draft does come back, if it has been more than 2 weeks, send an e-mail to note the number of days it has taken to return the work. If your advisor riddles your work with hundreds of corrections, hire an editor to help. Never, ever, tell an advisor that an editor has been hired. Human nature will cause the advisor to find fault with the editor to prove his or her superiority.
Instead, send the advisor a series of e-mails noting how much hard work you are doing, mention the major changes in the document, and note approaching deadlines. Note that the finest editor in the world cannot stop an advisor from making changes, but an editor can improve the professionalism and correctness of your work. If your advisor only reads a few pages, then tells you to continue through the rest of the draft with similar corrections, send it back and tell the advisor the directions were not clear and to please clarify what changes should be made in the rest of the manuscript.
It does no good to be a doormat and allow an advisor to behave badly. If your e-mail is met with further comments about following his or her directions, or there is a long delay with no word from the advisor, call and make an appointment, then present all the pages that had no corrections on them and ask how you can improve them. At this point you may need to bring a tape recorder to your meetings with your advisor. If you reach the point where you are certain your advisor is not acting in your best interests, gather all your evidence together and go see the editor or an assistant dean of the graduate school.
In writing, request a change of advisor. In all probability, your request will be denied, but you will have activated the chain of command. That person will then call your advisor and ask for comment. Good graduate deans will monitor your progress. If you have been polite and professional from the first day of work with your advisor, you have nothing to fear. If your department head believes that there can be no amicable resolution to the problem, he or she can appoint one of the members of your committee to the role of advisor.
Remember that there are inner-departmental rivalries and friendships among faculty that you know nothing about, and you may step into fresh trouble. However, the graduate dean will be monitoring the problem, and you can return to that office again if the situation does not improve. Problems with advisors at online institutions are extremely difficult to manage. Advisors commonly work for online institutions on a part-time basis. In fact, many online institutions require an advisor to have a full-time job elsewhere.
Many such institutions are more interested in obtaining continuing semester tuition than they are in graduating students. There are no checks and balances in online institutions to help a student in trouble with an advisor.
Nevertheless, a good editor can help students present a more professional and thorough thesis or dissertation, which often solves some of the problem. Our thesis and dissertation consultants have experience assisting students throughout the thesis or dissertation process, including advisement about a choosing a research topic, b writing the proposal to do research, and c presentation of the research.
In addition, consultants can also prepare the student for the defense and comprehensive exams. This short article cannot encompass all the troubles that can occur between a graduate student and a bad advisor, nor can the writer anticipate what might be the best course of action in a given situation. The best advice for a student is to hire a professional thesis or dissertation editor who deals with graduate students on a regular basis, has sat on graduate committees, and can help make the best of a bad situation.
Barbara von Diether, EdD. I am sorry to be finding this site so late. My daughter has had so much trouble with her advisor that she began having several panic attacks per week and is now on medication. She is still so traumatized that she is afraid to even look at her email for fear that there will be something from her advisor.
The department head has been no help whatsoever. My daughter has finally dropped out of graduate school due to being overwhelmed emotionally by the situation and having her attempts to locate funding sabotaged.
I am currently preparing a grievance related to this situation based on violations of the programs own handbook and several of the points you mention above.
Even though I am late discovering this resource I am very happy to see that there is at least some help available for students in these type of situations. Please keep up the good work.. I am currently a PhD student. They purposefully leave you blind and confused while withholding information in order to assert their dominance. Switching advisors is not an option in my case for a variety of reasons. You will never miss a post when you subscribe to our newsletter!
Press enter to begin your search. Red Flags Students should be aware of red flags when choosing an advisor, such as: The Rules The unspoken rules of the graduate process keep students blind from the beginning. Bad Behavior in the Ranks Choosing an advisor should be easy after a student has taken a few classes from each member of the department, but it is not.
A bad advisor has one or more of the following characteristics after they accept a student for advisement: She sued the university, but she did not get her doctoral degree There are other bad behaviors not listed here. The Cost of a Bad Advisor Count the cost of a bad advisor.
Here are some tips for surviving a bad advisor. A Special Note about Online Institutions Problems with advisors at online institutions are extremely difficult to manage. We Can Help Our thesis and dissertation consultants have experience assisting students throughout the thesis or dissertation process, including advisement about a choosing a research topic, b writing the proposal to do research, and c presentation of the research.
Summary This short article cannot encompass all the troubles that can occur between a graduate student and a bad advisor, nor can the writer anticipate what might be the best course of action in a given situation. Barbara von Diether, EdD Retired. Food in Fiction The Cahoon Chronicles: EditingNetwork September 5, Dissertation Editing Dissertation Tips: How to Write a Proper Introduction.
David Henderson August 30, EditingNetwork August 20, Join the discussion 4 Comments. September 18, at 9: December 10, at 2: December 10, at 9: December 30, at 1: Leave a Reply Cancel Reply My comment is..
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May 17, · An advisor who fails to apprise a student of a) the ground rules of the department or graduate school, or b) the ground rules of their personal process for moving a student through research and writing a thesis or dissertation.
While your advisor should be your first avenue for dissertation help, many students encounter advisors who are distant and unavailable, and don’t provide the in-depth writing feedback, dissertation editing help that students need.
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