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Graduate school after quitting in the past

  1. Apr 30, 2014 #1
    I will try to put this as succinctly as possible.

    When I was 26 I had spent two years in a terminal master's program in mathematics. I was pretty distracted. I was a B+/B student for the most part. I ended up with two C's, both in my first semester. Regardless, I was distracted and moved on.

    I'm now 29. For the past three years I have worked for a community college, got married (which more or less whipped me into shape), and been a substitute teacher. I am a full time tutor in their learning center and half-time instructor for pre-college math/GED type classes. In the past year I took four classes at a local university (Differenial Geometry, Functional Analysis I/II, and Graduate DiffEqs) and got all As. I took the subject GRE in math (~70th percentile :( ). I have not taken the General GRE yet.

    I am interested in applying to the PhD program. I do not need funding from the university since the institution I work for will pay for my college and is pretty flexible as long as I log in all the required hours I am suppose to work each pay period. I have relatively substantial savings as well.

    I am wondering if it would be possible to restart graduate studies, specifically because I have seen wildly positive (anything by Mathwonk) and negative advice.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2014 #2


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    Of course it's possible.

    You have quit or failed out of graduate school in the past and that will count against you. But since then things have changed. You've demonstrated the ability to get high marks in graduate level coursework, and while that won't erase the past, it shows that things have changed. The only way you'll know for sure is to appy and see what happens.
  4. Apr 30, 2014 #3
    Should I address any of this in my personal statement, and if so, how?
  5. Apr 30, 2014 #4
    When applying, you need to send transcripts from all prior academic institutions. Many schools give you a place to justify any poor grades or lack of effort. So definitely discuss it there.

    Also, did you end up with a master's? Or did you leave before then?
  6. May 1, 2014 #5
    I did not end up with my Master's. The program I was in was quite small and I started to get really worried that I was gaining the reputation as the student who was too lazy. I stayed in contact with two of the professors I had, though I was thinking about getting letters from the professors I most recently had.
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