Congratulations! You have embarked on an extremely challenging academic endeavor!

And you can do it!

The Current Stats on Doctoral Completion Rates

Attrition rates for doctoral students, regardless of discipline, are concerning. The most recent statistics indicate overall attrition rates for traditional face-to-face programs have remained steady at, or just above, 50% (Rigler et al., 2017), with some disciplines reporting upwards of 60% (Hurt et al., 2022). Rates for underrepresented students are even higher, hovering around 60–65% (Sowell et al., 2015) while online programs report the worst completion rates with as many as 75% of doctoral students leaving before finishing their degree (Rigler et al., 2017). That’s the not-so-good news…but you’ve come to the right place to hear the good news!

How we can help you!

The numbers might be intimidating, but despite other students’ low completion rates, your picture is bright. Why? Because doctoral students do not drop out because they lack the intelligence, aptitude, astuteness, or ingenuity to finish. No! Students decide not to finish doctoral programs for much more manageable reasons. Repeatedly, research into factors that undermine PhD success reveals mundane issues such as ineffective academic support, poor mentoring, unclear expectations, a weak sense of community, and simple frustration over the labyrinth of forms, deadlines, benchmarks, and conditions established by universities (Hurt et al., 2022; Rigler et al., 2017; Sowell et al., 2015; Stracke & Kumar, 2020; Young et al., 2019). All of these obstacles are fixable, and we can help.

A doctoral dissertation is an incredibly effective final exam because it tests you on so many points. Not only does it evaluate your academic acumen from designing your research to executing it and interpreting your findings, but it also tests your ability to manage a complex research project, establish a support team, address surprise developments, work through challenges, maintain your motivationand handle your normal day-to-day life and its surprises! Whew!

E B Consultants——can be a key part of your team and your success. Since 2010, we have worked with roughly 200 dissertation clients. We bring a wealth of experience, skill, knowledge, and know-how to you. We are a full-service dissertation coaching and academic editing organization. We help with all sorts of challenges you may encounter in your very unique and very personal dissertation process.

One of the most common challenges we encounter is that you feel disconnected from your chair. Professors are busy. They have multiple responsibilities and very demanding jobs. Students are often hesitant about imposing on their professor’s time. We can help! When we believe your work is ready for their review, that’s when we advise you to send it to them. That respects your chair’s time and showcases your professionalism.

Another common hindrance is uncertainty about the content of specific sections in a dissertation or only a partial understanding of conceptual or theoretical frameworks, for instance. Again, we can help! We know the sections of dissertations backward and forward. We have experience using distinctive theoretical frameworks to creatively evaluate a variety of phenomena. For instance, what about using turbulence theory—typically used to train pilots—to analyze how working moms with pre-school or special education children responded to the unanticipated challenges of COVID-19? Or, what about applying the tenets of professional specialization and organizational safety to the idea of incorporating licensed professional counselors into the therapeutic options available to high school counselors? We’ve worked on those.

Here are some of the issues we have helped clients work through…

How do you write a research question that captures what you really want to dig into?

How do you design a questionnaire that obtains the data you need to run your analyses?

How do you write interview questions that prompt strong answers to your research questions?

What if you failed to thoroughly consider all of the little nuances in your research design, how do you avoid figuratively painting yourself into a corner?

What happens when you discover too late that you do have a major flaw in your design?

How do you report non-statistically significant findings?

How do you manage an advisor who gives you conflicting feedback every time you meet with them?

What happens when your chair retires before you finish your dissertation?

What if you decide you really need to change advisors?

We have experience surviving every single one of those challenges, and more. We can help you survive too.

Our promise…

I promise: First, we are with you until you finish—beyond final defense. Post defense, the graduate college still needs to accept your dissertation, and virtually all graduate colleges have very specific acceptance criteria. We are with you until the graduate college gives you its stamp of approval. Second, if we don’t know the answer, we will find it! That’s who we are and what we do.


Hurt, S., Woods Ways, E., & Holmes, B. (2022). Wait! Don’t quit! Stay with your doctoral program during the global pandemic: Lessons learned from program completers. The Journal of Advancing Education Practice, 3(1), Article 2.

Rigler, K. L., Bowlin, L. K., Sweat, K., Watts, S., & Throne, R. (2017). Agency, socialization, and support: A critical review of doctoral student attrition [Paper presentation]. International Conference on Doctoral Education, 3rd Annual Meeting, Orlando, University of Central Florida.

Sowell, R., Allum, J., & Okahana, H. (2015). Doctoral initiative on minority attrition and completion. Council of Graduate Schools.

Stracke, E., & Kumar, V. (2020). Encouraging dialogue in doctoral supervision: The development of the feedback expectation tool. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 15, 265–284.

Young, S. N., Vanwye, W. R., Schafer, M. A., Robertson, T. A., & Poore, A. V. (2019). Factors affecting PhD student success. International Journal of Exercise Science, 12(1), 34–45.