To PhD or not to PhD, that is the question

In thinking about boats to burn (see my last post) made me think about grad school again.

Even before I started my Master's in Instructional Technology at SJSU (program which no longer exists) I thought about about going back to school and getting a PhD in Instructional Technology. It has boiled down to Learning Science and Technology Design or Anthropology of Education at Stanford. I'm not in my 20s anymore, in fact, I'm 2 and a half years from turning 40! I need to balance my wanting to go back to school with how expensive it would be and the money and time investment needed to complete the task.

I've always been afraid of rejection, even more so in this big, life altering, OMG WTH am I getting into, step in life. The one time that I did decide to apply I was turned down 'cause of a bureaucratic mistake on their end that caused my package not to be received in time for the admission deadline. By the time I straightened it all out it was too late and none of the adviser wanted to work with me.

I see the following as barriers to get into the PhD program:

  • my undergraduate GPA (a 2.83 is not something to be particularly proud of)
  • My inability to get a decent score in the GRE math part
  • My reluctance to spend the next 5 to 7 years in school
  • FEAR of not being able to capitalize on the investment
  • How much is it really going to cost?

And the counterpoints of why I think I should.

  • My MA GPA is almost a full point better than my undergraduate (3.77 versus 2.83)
  • I have as much time as I need in order to get better at test taking 🙂
  • As opposed to what?
  • Then do something else but I'd have a hard time believing that a PhD from Stanford would not open doors for you
  • Yeah, this may be an issue but once you're in you can always work hard to get more teaching assistantships and generate money to continue in school. I still think they key is to get into the PhD program first.