Getting Through a Part-Time Online Doctorate
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Getting Through a Part-Time Online Doctorate

  Mar 30 2020

# Interpersonal Skills and Self Development

Recently, I wrote some thoughts about applying for a part time online doctorate. Unfortunately, studies show that more than half of part-time doctoral students do not finish their degree1. While circumstances can differ from one person to another, there are some common reasons for failure that I list below:

Reason #1 – Not enough support: In my previous blog, I wrote about the importance of getting support from your family and employer. Both can keep you going when times get tough. However, you also need to surround yourself with the “right” friends. Make sure you are around positive people who are driven. There’s nothing worse than being stuck with a friend who always complains about what is going wrong. Surround yourself with problem solvers, not problem makers,

Reason #2 – No Focus: I recently wanted to teach my children how to play the card game called “hearts”. I hadn’t played the game for years so I downloaded a free app on my smart phone to remind me of the rules. Three days later, I had wasted more than 10 hours on that game. All of us have time-wasters in our lives. The trick is to manage time-wasters instead of them managing us. Give yourself a time limit on the things that you waste time on and make sure that you get back on track.

Reason #3 – Lack of motivation: We have all been there. Just remind yourself that you are not a quitter. Personally, when I get demotivated, I think of my daughters and what they would think of me if I gave up. What type of role model would I be if I didn’t finish what I started? I would hate to be that type of parent who asks his child to do what he says and not what he does. That’s the definition of hypocrisy.

Reason #4 – Advisor incompatibility: This is a big one as you will be working with this person for a very long time and you need to be on the same wave length. When looking for an advisor, make sure that he/she has a good student graduation percentage. Also, talk to one of their students to find out the likes and dislikes of this advisor are and how he/she works. This will give you a good idea of their personality and will help you decide if this advisor is the right one for you.

Finally, there will be times when everything goes wrong and nothing you try seems to be working. When that happens, try to keep some semblance of a routine. Read one article a day or even one page of an article. By leaving something for a long time, you risk never returning to it. When it comes to completing a part-time doctorate, the motivational quote in my gym definitely applies: No Pain. No gain.

1 Maddox, S. (2017) "Did Not Finish: Doctoral Attrition in Higher Education and Student Affairs". Dissertations. 433.

About the Author

Mohammed Nayal


Mr. Mohammed Nayal is a Partner with Meirc Training & Consulting. He holds a bachelor of science degree in systems and control engineering from Case Western Reserve University, a master of science in engineering economic systems from Stanford University, and a master in business administration from the University of California at Berkeley, all in the USA. In addition, Mohammed is a certified training practitioner (CTP) from the Institute of Performance and Learning, Canada.