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Full Version: Fall 2018 | MS | CS | GRE 335 (Q-168/ V-167/ AWA-5.5) | 9.2 CGPA | MU
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Hello,

I am a final year engineering student at a premier Mumbai University college (now autonomous), SPIT

9.2 CGPA
GRE: 335 (Q-168 V-167 AWA-5.5)

Internship Experience:

2-month internship as Solution Architect Intern at Amazon Web Services

Projects:
Done multiple college level projects on Android, Python, etc

Conferences:
(This was before engineering, but was worthwhile nonetheless)
Presented proof of concepts at international security conferences

LoRs:
1 strong LoR from Project Guide
1 moderate LoR from college faculty
1 work LoR from manager

Which colleges can I target?

Currently I am thinking of the following (need to shortlist further):

UT Austin
UCSD
GTech
UCLA
NCSU
Stonybrook
Northeastern/Northwestern
USC

What are my chances at these colleges?
Nice profile. Personally, even though you have a great profile, I'd recommend getting some work-ex before applying, if possible. Not only would it help you getting into better schools, but it would also help you when you apply for internships/full-time jobs down the line.

With your current profile:

UT Austin - ambi
UCSD - mod-ambi
GTech - mod
UCLA - mod-ambi
NCSU - mod
Stony Brook - The place name has two words, and this one is mod-ambi
Northeastern - safe
Northwestern - ambi
USC - safe

Consider adding a few more schools such as UMN, NYU, Rutgers, Wisconsin, UPenn, UChicago and probably even the likes of Rice, Columbia, Dartmouth and Brown.
(09-11-2017 11:45 PM)blazing_forehand Wrote: [ -> ]Hello,

I am a final year engineering student at a premier Mumbai University college (now autonomous), SPIT

9.2 CGPA
GRE: 335 (Q-168 V-167 AWA-5.5)

Internship Experience:

2-month internship as Solution Architect Intern at Amazon Web Services

Projects:
Done multiple college level projects on Android, Python, etc

Conferences:
(This was before engineering, but was worthwhile nonetheless)
Presented proof of concepts at international security conferences

LoRs:
1 strong LoR from Project Guide
1 moderate LoR from college faculty
1 work LoR from manager

Which colleges can I target?

Currently I am thinking of the following (need to shortlist further):

UT Austin
UCSD
GTech
UCLA
NCSU
Stonybrook
Northeastern/Northwestern
USC

What are my chances at these colleges?
Great CGPA, Great scroe in GRE.
UT Austin- Highly Ambitious( Needs a research oriented profile)
UCSD - Ambitiously Moderate (Top school lots of applications , research profile would have made it moderate)
GTech Ambitious( Research profile would have made it moderate)
UCLA Ambitious (Regardless of profile, this school can't be in moderate category)
NCSU Moderate
Stonybrook Ambitiously Moderate
Northeastern Safe
Northwestern Ambitiously Moderate
USC Safe
Consider schools as The_Observer in addition to the above . All the best
Thank you for the replies. A few more queries:

1) Would you suggest taking a year off to get some work experience and/or carry out some research work?

2) Also, currently none of my projects are related to ML/AI, which would most likely be the field I would be applying to. I am assuming that to be a major drawback, how big of a factor is it really?

3) Even if I do take up a job, it most likely will not be in the field I would be applying to. Does work experience still matter then?

4) Any other universities you could suggest?
Quote:1) Would you suggest taking a year off to get some work experience and/or carry out some research work?

Only if you don't get employed in a run-of-the-mill ITSM job. If you can get involved with a research project, or employed with a product company or startup, then that's worthwhile, IMHO. If neither of those possibilities looks doable and/or possible, then I wouldn't wait a year.

2) Also, currently none of my projects are related to ML/AI, which would most likely be the field I would be applying to. I am assuming that to be a major drawback, how big of a factor is it really?

Well, it depends on a lot of factors. At the top schools, people would be applying with experience (either research experience, or work-ex) in a field relevant to their intended specialization, the exceptions being folks such as yourself with brilliant GPAs and test scores, but who are rather undecided on what they want to do. Now, to be very honest, a grad applicant is supposed to have some idea of what she/he wants to do in grad school, which is why the SOP plays a critical role. People with relevant research or work experience might find it a little easier to use that relevance to more easily relate to the MS they are applying to, but I don't think it's impossible for someone without relevant experience to justify wanting to get into a given program and specialization. That said, it is undoubtedly going to be harder for you than for someone who has some background in AI/ML/NLP/etc. Your profile is good and will prevent you from getting rejected outright from some of these top schools, but to go all the way, you're going to need to convince the AdCom in the SOP even more than someone else with relevant experience needs to. In that sense, yes, it is a big factor, but not one that cannot be overcome if you play your cards right.

3) Even if I do take up a job, it most likely will not be in the field I would be applying to. Does work experience still matter then?

Yes, and no. Yes, because like I said above, relevant experience is always beneficial in applications. But, in the long run, unless you plan to do - and are sure to do - just one thing during and after your MS, what you do before it, wouldn't really matter as much. Non-relevant work or research experience, while not being comparable to relevant experience, is still better than no experience at all in admissions. So, in that sense, it would matter. But, for the purpose of getting internships during your MS and full-time jobs after it, it's okay if you have something non-relevant to your MS specialization (and here, prior work experience matters much more than not, and even more than it matters for grad admissions). From that perspective, while non-relevant experience will not benefit you as much as relevant one in the short-run, it definitely wouldn't hurt in either the short- or the long-run, and would be beneficial regardless of what you want to work in, in the long-run. So, if you have the option of working at a startup or a product company or some research job now, before your MS, I'd recommend you consider taking it up, even if it isn't related to ML/AI (of course, assuming you're not going to be working for a company like Infy/TCS/Wipro/L&T as a code monkey or worse, in an offshore support role).

4) Any other universities you could suggest?

Could, oh yes, definitely. But I won't. Please go through the UniSearch and UniSuggest systems here on Edulix, as well as other threads, and come up with names of some schools that have been categorized as safe or moderate for other people. Then, go through the univ and program websites for each of them, see if you like the specific program, and if yes, add that to your initial safe and mod list. Then post that entire list here. But you have to do all this legwork on your own here. We're not here to give stuff to you on a silver platter. Ask for help if you need it, but you all need to be able to explain the rationale for adding each school on your list to it,
and explaining why you'd like to get into each specific program, because that's how you'll start building your SOP for each program. If you don't like the program structure, coursework or research being conducted at a school, it doesn't belong on your list, as simple as that. But you're the only one who can and should make that call, so get to it. We can only help you estimate the possibility of someone with your profile getting into the schools you'd like to apply to, after you've done all this background research.
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