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Do Not Leave Graduate School Before You Get Your Degree | FinishLine, Tips Tools Techniques for Completing a Thesis or Dissertation from Dr Wendy Carter

May, 2007 spacerVolume 3, Issue 5

In This Issue:

I would like to say hello to the students I met at the University of Oregon in Eugene. If you would like me to come to your school to give a workshop, talk to your graduate dean.

The previous mistakes covered in FinishLine were (1) leaving before you are done and (2) failing to publish and present your work to the public while in graduate school. This newsletter covers mistake number 3.

10 Mistakes Graduate Students Should Avoid:
Mistake #3: Waiting Until You Have Finished Your Degree to Begin Your Job Search

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both, and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could ... Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Robert Frost

As you navigate your way through graduate school, the culmination of years of study might force you to consider two roads which diverge in somewhat seemingly opposite directions. Should I pursue an “academic” or “non-academic career?”

Just because you are pursuing a Master’s or doctoral degree does not automatically mean that you have to become a professor or ultimately pursue a career in higher education. To help you make a more informed decision or to help you negotiate a better starting salary take a look at the median faculty salaries for 2006-07.

A weak academic job market might encourage you to look beyond the ivory tower. After years of working on your thesis or dissertation you might come to believe that you are “Trained for Nothing”. However, you have aquired some marketable skills:

• Work well independently
• Manage a large project from start to finish
• Outstanding research and analytical skills
• Great professional presentation skills
• Outstanding ability to Multi-task

Nonetheless, finding an academic job is not as simple as sending the perfect cover letter along with the perfect resume. Most academic jobs require a curriculum vita (instead of a resume), letters of recommendations, writing sample/s, copies of teaching evaluations, transcripts, and sometimes a copy of syllabus for a course that you have taught.

Academic jobs are posted in cycles throughout the year, reflective of individual department resources and schedules. As a result, some of the most attractive jobs could be posted before the end of the year. So if you wait until your thesis or dissertation is finished to begin your job search, you may well have your Ph.D. in hand only to find your dream job has already been handed to someone else. You’ll be devastated to learn that the position was posted early and you missed the deadline.

Be sure to read the December 2005 edition of FinishLine for information on how to best prepare for the Academic Job Market. One “must do” is to explore whether the scholarly and professional Associations for your discipline maintain job listings; depending on your current finances, it may be worthwhile to pay the Association membership fee if doing so can produce some good job leads.

In addition, be a frequent visitor to the following periodical links, which include job listings of interest to scholars in all fields. (You can search by state and academic discipline.) Some of these links send daily or weekly updates directly to your email if you register with them. Registration is FREE and you can unsubscribe any time you like.

The Chronicle of Higher Education/Career Network
HigherED Jobs.Com
Diverse Issues in Higher Education
Inside Higher Education
Nonprofits Professional Advisory Groups

If you are interested in taking the road less traveled by PhDs consider reading Gaberiela Montell’s article on Finding a Non-Academic Job, in Chronicle Careers. She provides a list of Web resources where you might find useful information and job listings on a variety of alternative careers.

Email Question of the Month:


Here is my thesis information that may be useful during your guidance: My title is Sustainable development through urban design in semi arid climate. Now Iím collecting my issues, however Iíve not any idea about my hypotheses and methodology either. Thank you. M.M.


Thank you for contacting us at TADA Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished. You have to have a research question. What about sustainable development through urban design in a semi arid climate are you interested in?

Your methodology is based on what others who have written on this topic have done. Have they done a good job using the methods they used? If so, why not used the same methods or improve upon their methods.

What were their hypotheses? Were they right? Wrong? Almost right or almost wrong? Did they forget to consider something? Where is the gap that needs to be filled in the research?

You are not starting from scratch but building on what others have done on the topic...Have someone else done sustainable development through urban design in a different type of climate? If so, then that should be a study you should model yours after and then figure out how your study is different because your climate is different.

Wishing you all the best and hope that I have given you and answer to help move you forward.
Dr. Carter

TA-DA!™ Graduates —
Congratulations on Your Success

In my dissertation, I acknowledged your contributions (and I mentioned "Ta Da!"). Please feel free to use any of my statements--past, present, and future--as quotes on your web pages or in printed documents. In addition, I will continue to spread word about your effectiveness as a dissertation coach. - Sincerely, Michelle H.

Dear Dr. Carter, I am proud to say that I passed my defense the day before yesterday, and I can now call myself "Dr. G.!" I'm also pleased to report that all four examiners signed off on the paperwork immediately since there were no revisions required. Needless to say, I'm thrilled.

Thank you again for the wonderful TA-DA program. It was so helpful in keeping me on track and motivated. Your suggestions of what to do on days when writer's block set in were especially helpful. Even on days when I didn't do any writing, I still made strides towards completion by working on other necessary tasks, and that kept my spirits and my enthusiasm up. Thank you again for your help and your interest. - Dr. Janet M. G. Temple University

I did not post for the Spring Break Challenge, but I submitted my dissertation proposal to my Chair this morning!!! Thanks for your encouragement!! - Kathy P

Thanks to your help and encourgement, I am finally done. - Alan R.

I finished writing my thesis last week and I am waiting for my advisor to send me the corrections. . . I am also looking for a job related to Environmental Science.
- Kam

101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life

Have you had a chance to check out the new book, ď101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life: Volume 3:? It is a compilation of 101 articles with practical, solid advice on how you can take action and improve your life. I am extremely excited to be a part of this, and am equally excited to be a contributing author along with Ken Blanchard, Les Brown, Mark

This book is the third volume in the “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life” Series. Volumes 1& 2 include secrets from Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Jack Canfield, Dr. Richard Carlson and many other people living a successful life. If you haven't seen Volumes 1 & 2, check them out. Right now the publisher is offering, a special discount plus great bonus gifts If you purchase the three volume set together.

To get more information or buy a copy, just go to:

What TA-DA!™ Users Have to Say...

If you're still wondering whether or not TA-DA! Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished™ can help you — don’t take our word for it. Take a few moments to read what some of our customers have told us. See how TA-DA!™ helped them...

Ph.D. Doctoral Students…

•  I am just beginning my doctoral coursework but I wanted to get a jump on this thesis stuff so I purchased your product just about the same time I enrolled in my classes! Darlene G

•  Hello Dr. Carter, I met with you a few months ago. I had an impossible deadline to meet: to complete my dissertation proposal in 6 weeks time. I just wanted you to know that I successfully defended the proposal on October 3rd!! Thanks for your help and encouragement! All the best, Harriette W.

•  TA-DA provided me with some useful ideas for how to use short amounts of time that would normally be unproductive completing small tasks that move the dissertation forward. Donnell B.

•  How it (TADA) Helped: In many ways but I will mainly highlight two areas for now. 1. The TADA Calender. The main problem I faced before was how to get down and do my work. But with the TADA Calender, I have made a committment and I everyday I have the motivation to fulfill this commitment. 2. The 12 Minutes Tasks. I was never even aware of some of those requirements. Now I feel more confident since each day I know exactly what is expected of me and I can make an exact plan of how to accomplish them. Dear colleagues in Thesis/Dissertation writing. Anybody wanting to have a peace of mind and confidence in whatever she/he does during the whole Thesis/Dissertation writing, you have no choice but to buy the TADA CD. I won't explain what wonders it will do to you, but buy it and experience it."   Connie, U.K.

•  The commitment to a deadline and to working 12 minutes a day actually reduces stress. I can always do 12 minutes--even if I'm tired, sick, uninspired or grumpy. Facing a deadline makes it feel like I will actually get done! "I have to do my 12 minutes" we say in our house these days. I've been progressing steadily on my dissertation by committing to 12 minutes, and my husband has covered huge amounts of material for an upcoming professional exam. My friend has committed to completing the annulment papers she has procrastinated on for 10 years, and my father-in-law has started studying Spanish 12 minutes a day. Thanks!
Christine, Seattle, WA

•  It helped me to set goals for my chapters and give me some practical strategies for finishing. Also I believe it's good to list your finish date. It gives you something to strive for rather than letting the thesis become nebulous. Martha; Albany, CA

•  TA-DA explains the dissertation process and lifts the curtain to a process that seems impossible to accomplish. It provides strategy for selecting the committee and provides timelines that enable accomplishment of the dissertation within a specific time frame.
Randall; USMC Jacksonville, NC

•  The program helped me to understand the dissertation concept much better. I am a visual individual; the tutorial was a great help.
Deborah; U.S. Army

Master’s Thesis Students …

•  It has helped with the fact that my graduate school does not have a formal format for the proposal. The Journal has helped a lot.
Talia; Naranjito, Puerto Rico

 •  This is a great tool for those who will be starting either their Master's Degree or Dissertation. I highly recommend it.
Teresa; Naguabo, Puerto Rico

•  Requesting that I set a goal date for finishing, kept me focused and it was the first step in accomplishing the task. Also, I kept remembering the words; a good thesis is a done thesis.
Gladys; NY, NY

•  It guided me to a fair start. Gracias!
Jess; San Francisco, CA



Wendy Y. Carter, Ph.D.

About the Author: As a single mother, professor Wendy Y. Carter, Ph.D., completed three masters' degrees and a PhD. Her motto is a Good Thesis/Dissertation is a Done Thesis/Dissertation. She is the creator of a new innovative interactive resource tool on CD—TADA! Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished. To learn more and sign up for her FREE tips and teleclasses, contact us at Privacy is our policy. TADA™ Finishline does not give out or sell our subscribers' names or e-mail addresses.

Published monthly.
To subscribe to FinishLine, see below.

Inside This Issue:

10 Mistakes Graduate Students Should Avoid: Mistake #3: Waiting Until You Have Finished Your Degree to Begin Your Job Search

Email Q & A of the Month

Congratulations Graduates

What TA-DA!™
Users Say

Dr. Carter Is Co-author of a New Book

Next FinishLine Features:

10 Mistakes Graduate Students Should Avoid: Mistake #4: Being Unprofessional or Disrespectful to Advisors/Committee Members

Dr. Carter's

Getting What You Came For...
The book explains the entire process of completing graduate school, from selecting and applying to a graduate program to obtaining a teaching position. Selected chapters provide overall practical advice on selecting an advisor, managing the committee, selecting a topic, writing a proposal, writing the dissertation, and preparing for the defense.

Getting What You Came For...

The Dissertation Cook Book
The authors uses a cookbook metaphor define the ingredients of a dissertation. This book provides useful information on each section of the five-chapter dissertation common in the social and behavioral sciences. It also contains practical tips, hands-on exercises, and checklists dealing with getting started, choosing a topic, types of research instruments, statistics, sampling, and analyzing data. Most of the information is relevant for writers at the proposal stage.

The Dissertation Cook Book

The Artist's Way
This book by Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan leads you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity.

The Artist's Way

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