Things to consider when selecting a Doctoral Program

Decision 1When selecting a doctoral program, there are a few things to consider and that is what this month’s blog is about. Selecting a doctoral program is more than just about having the right program, but several other things to consider.

  1. While the degree program is important, make sure it will match your future career goals. Some jobs have specific requirements about the degrees they require from the type of degree to whether the degree is from a regionally credited school and more. So make sure the degree matches you long term career goals.
  2. Money – how much does the school cost and is it within your budget or financial aid limits. There are many types of financial aid, but many programs have limits so check them out. The one thing you do not want to happen is get to the finish line and not have the money to go the distance.
  3. Time – As stated in another blog called “Time Management” know the time that is required by the school each week to complete homework. The amount of time required each week will vary by college and how long the terms. Colleges that have shorter terms are considered accelerated and will require more time each week due to more work being done. Colleges with longer terms will have some intense weeks versus all weeks, but this can affect the time it takes to complete a degree.
  4. Residencies – most doctoral programs require what is called a residency which means the students get together in person. Now depending upon the college, they may offer residencies in a variety of cities while some colleges only have residencies in their home city. Residences require travel expenses and this is not covered in the tuition cost in terms of cost to get to the residency, food and hotel. So these are expenses that should be taken into consideration because residencies have to be attended at various times throughout the coursework and not attending can slow down completion times.
  5. For-profit versus Traditional colleges – there are many options when it comes to going for a doctoral degree, so explore all options. Both of these school options are great, but if you are considering perhaps a hybrid degree you might want to attend a college that has a local campus. Not all traditional colleges offer entire doctorate degrees online and require some classes to be attended on campus.
  6. Tools – Having the right tools and plan. Some individuals think that because one is attending college online that no tools are needed, but the fact is that there are many tools that are needed. Having a computer is great, but what about a backup plan? Having a backup plan is very important for a computer and internet service, most professors are not empathetic to computer challenges or internet being down, and therefore a backup is very critical for success. Next month, the blog will go into more detail about the tools needed for success.

These are just a few things to consider when selecting a doctoral program. These suggestions are based upon my own experiences and my husband whom is currently in the process of selecting where to attend for his doctoral program. So there are many things to consider and lookout for next month when we will get into more detail about the tools for success.

Getting Down with Statistics


“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

By Norman Vincent Peale

For the past several months, this doctoral blog has been about how to perform research and locate the peer-reviewed and scholarly articles required for a doctoral program. For this month, I would like to talk about statistics, the tools and resources to assist you in being successful in statistics class.

There are those individuals that love math and statistics, where it just seems to make sense and then there are those like me where statistics if far from a natural thought process. So whether you enjoy statistics or fear statistics, this month’s blog will provide some tools and tips that I have personally have been using for my advanced statistics course.

Depending upon the college you attend and their requirements, typically at a minimum you will take two or more statistic courses. In my degree program, the requirement was a statistics course that involved using SPSS software from IBM and then an advanced statistics course that was more about writing a research proposal for a dissertation. The number of courses and types of courses will vary by school along with what tools are available to assist you being successful.

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Using Reference Pages for Research

For the past couple of months, my blogs have been about research, because doctoral programs are all about research. While it is easy for us to research via Google on a daily basis, this type of research is not acceptable for doctoral work. So the college or university library has to become our friend.

Last month, I created a video utilizing my school’s database to show you how to research in terms of narrowing the research or using broad research techniques. This month, I want to show you how to utilize reference pages to save time. Some professors will require you to read specific articles and then write about the topic, this is great because the article probably has a reference page which can quickly lead us to more articles on the same or similar topics.

So this week, my work is about ethics and so I did some research via the college library to find a couple of articles to use for this months blog.

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Doctoral Database Research

Research Graphic Last month, my blog was about the different types of research. This month it is about how to use the college databases. Every college has a different set of databases, but there are a couple of databases that every college has in their school library. Two of the most popular databases are Ebscohost and ProQuest; these are my two favorite databases for a couple of reasons.

Both Ebscohost and ProQuest cover a wide variety of topics, they can be accessed utilizing one particular focus or by searching all of their different topic databases. I like to search each of these databases for my assignments, typically I will find more than enough research in these two databases to support my research papers.

One of the things that I hear frequently from my students and others is that these databases are different than Google. Change can be difficult and Google has created a search engine that allows you to ask detailed questions. So to help better understand how to use these databases at college libraries, I have created a video for this month.

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Importance of Research

Research 1

When considering a doctoral program one of the things to remember is that regardless of the doctoral designation, the degree is about research. So research is very critical and understanding the different types of research is very important.

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Time Management

Time Management

Now you have decided to pursue your doctorate degree, you have selected your degree program and the college or university you want to attend. Wonderful!!

Congratulations on your decision to take your education to the highest level!

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Selecting a Doctoral Degree

Selecting a Doctoral Degree


Fantastic, you have decided to obtain your Doctorate degree! Now you have to decide on which doctorate degree to obtain.

Deciding to pursue a doctoral degree was the easiest part for me; the difficult decision was which doctoral degree to pursue. Most people automatically think about a doctoral degree as being a PhD (Doctorate of Philosophy). The truth of the situation is there are far more doctorate degrees than most individuals realize. Here is a chart outlining many of the doctorate degrees, but it is not a comprehensive list there are many different medical degrees not included in this list.

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This time last year 3/15/14, I walked across the stage in Nashville, was hooded, and became Dr. Ila R. Allen. It was a long time coming for I thought the end would never be in sight and have my freedom back after six years to make it across that finish line. I look back at all of the classes, papers, money, and time that it took to get to where I am now. I know some of you have been on the journey for a short amount of time and some well…. might be ready to throw in the towel, I knew that feeling too. There are so many reasons that we decide to pursue a doctorate degree from personal to career advancement but we are not prepared as we thought we were, reflections.

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How to Get Exposure

Greetings and Salutations!  Winter has settled in for a few more bumps especially in the Midwest and East Coast part of the country. Just as snow keeps coming back to Boston so does the re-writes and challenges of the dissertation process.  As one goes through an online program you begin to see the differences between your program and the “traditional” program.  Being an online student I believe that there is no exposure in terms of academic colleagues (unless online), meet-ups, conferences, etc.  I am a firm believer of joining professional organizations in order to engage with those who have the same research interest or methodology.

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Refresh! Motivation! Game Time!

The holidays are over and January is on its way out the door. Hopefully while on your brief hiatus, you have had time to make new goals and a timeline to reach the next rung on the ladder. When I was part of doctoral process, I made myself take those holidays in order to rejuvenate myself in terms of reassessing my goals. The process does not stop until you have defended and uploaded the dissertation to ProQuest therefore; it is always there beckoning to be finished. A new year tends to lead to a new perspective of what needs to be completed, new goals, what needs to change, and the steps to get there. So, this seems to bring you back to the planning stage like in the beginning.

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