Similar questions have been asked but my specific concerns have not be addressed.
Like many others, I'm currently in the first year of a PhD program (A) in US and resolve to transfer (reapply) to other programs because of unmatched research agenda here. Last year I was also admitted to another program (B) and, after communicating with the target professor there, I decide to reapply to that. For the re-application this year, logistics are simple because I could retrieve all the materials from last year and I've found potential reasons to convince. Of course, there is no guarantee: I could probably end up being rejected by B. If that happens, I will decide to try again next year.
Now the problem comes. I really hesitate to tell my advisor at this time (before my first attempt). If he knows and I get rejected this year, I might end up nowhere at all. Even if he lets me stay, I think it's hard to tell about the second attempt next year without irritating him.
As in the first year of PhD I focus on coursework and get less involved with his research projects, I do not use his recommendation letter for my first attempt of transfer. That way, it seems safe to tell him only if I get accepted at my first attempt. If rejected, I will simply ignore this attempt and only tell him about my second one next year (also I will need his letter then). What's your advice?
- I'm in a social science discipline, where it's not uncommon for students to change advisors halfway and/or simultaneously work with multiple professors within the same program. But I still resolve to transfer because there's no other professor in my field within program A.
- I will be funded through my current advisor's project funding from next spring semester.
- The target professor at program B knows my current advisor, but when I talked to him about my intention to transfer he didn't discourage me, which is why I feel it a decent step to take.