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I planning to drop out of a PhD program after one semester because of my encounter with a professor with little experience.

This professor is also very intervening, non-perceptable, unapproachable, and worst of all, willing to go to any extent to sabotage my career.

The advisor altered credits of some courses to make sure that even though I got As in those courses, they will have a tiny efect on my cumulative average grade. Obviously, when I apply for another university, the fact that I've quit and my average grade will raise some questions.

So, what can I say in my statement of purpose that will put my quitting in the best possible light?

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    These are some pretty broad charges and it's not clear what evidence or reasons you have for making them. This makes it difficult to know how to respond. – Nicole Hamilton Dec 12 '17 at 23:41
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    "The advisor meddled with credits to make sure that I cannot be in good academic standing even though I got A's in courses." This seems like something that can be proven. If you can show that, you should be OK as far as your transcript and grades go. – aeismail Dec 13 '17 at 1:27
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    I’m struggling to understand how an advisor could “meddle with credits”, or even what “meddle with credits” might actually mean. – JeffE Dec 13 '17 at 3:44
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    @padawan I am not familiar with any academic system where a professor has that power, and if you are at such a university, I would advice to get away fast, as that is a sign of a hugely dysfunctional system. – Tobias Kildetoft Dec 13 '17 at 10:49
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    @TobiasKildetoft It's not crazy, at my university you can register for as many research credits as you need to be "full time" if you aren't taking any classes (or just one, etc.) I read this as the professor reduced the variable-credit research "classes" they supervise to 1 instead of the 4 that was agreed on at the beginning of the semester. A little weird the professor has that unilateral power, but maybe no one ever considered that someone would abuse the variable-credit system. – Azor Ahai Dec 13 '17 at 22:46
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I planning to drop out of a PhD program after one semester and apply to another top university for a PhD program.

Not all universities allow applicants from current Ph.D students. Although not 'illegal' it is looked down upon based on the requirements that I've seen thus far in my applications. Also try to finish the year at the very least. Perhaps your struggles are due to you trying to adjust to a new environment rather than the institution itself.

This is because of my encounter with a professor with little experience and who is very intervening, non-perceptable, unapproachable and worst of all willing to go to any extent to sabotage your career.

You mentioned a number of extremely negative attributes. Have you tried to talk to this individual about your reaction to their actions? If so, don't you have alternative options within the university? As in, changing advisers? Your judgement of a professor after one semester as inexperienced, micromanaging, unintelligible, hostile, and malicious seems rather premature.

The advisor meddled with credits to make sure that I cannot be in good academic standing even though I got A's in courses.

Perhaps this is my lack of experience, but professors can only give grades to their class. The assignment of credits for different classes are determined well before you matriculated to the university. In other words, the class credit was predetermined when you signed up. At the same time, unless the same professor taught all of your classes, I don't see how it could have affected your academic standing. If you got all A's then the connection doesn't make sense.

Obviously, I have to submit my transcripts from all universities, and my quitting and grade will raise some questions. So, what can I say in my statement of purpose (or anywhere, I suppose) that will put my quitting in the best possible light?

Thanks in advance for all your help!

I say don't quit, yet. Finish the year before making drastic actions such as this.

The evidence you've provided thus far are self-contradictory and doesn't seem to lend the idea that you tried to resolve the issue within your dept. If you did, then within the institution as mentioned by Mohammad Ghassemi. See if you can sign up with another adviser. You are running away from the problem rather than addressing it rationally.

  • As I noted above, there are such a thing as "variable credit" classes that can be adjusted to fit the students situation: hcde.washington.edu/policies/variable-credit-registration – Azor Ahai Dec 13 '17 at 22:47
  • @Azor-Ahai "Each quarter, before a student registers for a variable credit course ... students must have written permission from the faculty member supervising their coursework" The designation is made before the class starts. – Frank FYC Dec 14 '17 at 0:42
  • I was addressing "The assignment of credits for different classes are determined well before you matriculated to the university." which isn't always true – Azor Ahai Dec 14 '17 at 6:14
  • No need to split hairs now, the part I left out were the list of classes that the policy applied to. – Frank FYC Dec 14 '17 at 6:16
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You should speak to your school’s Ombudsperson, most universities have such a person to handle these issues. I would submit a letter from him/her, along with your application materials. The letter should explain the conflict from a third party perspective.

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