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Query on grad program attrition

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Mike Titelbaum (University of Wisconsin-Madison) wrote in by email: I am a big fan of The Philosophers' Cocoon, and occasionally jump into the comments section...[But] There's something that occasionally comes up on Cocoon threads and elsewhere that bothers me... Often when we counsel students comparing graduate schools, we suggest that they look (among other things) at the percentage of admits who complete the program. The underlying implication seems to be that higher completion rates indicate a better program. But this seems to me out of step with another discourse floating around the internet in general and the Cocoon in particular—that deciding as a PhD student that you don't want to become an academic isn't a failure in any sense. Sometimes a department has a low completion rate because they're unsupportive, are chasing out certain students, or have a toxic environment. But PhD students leave programs for many reasons, including that the program has done a. . .

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News source: The Philosophers' Cocoon

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