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Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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gurkanwals Offline
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Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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Hello guys!

I graduated in Computer Science with 8.61 GPA in may'16 . I'm looking forward to apply for the fall 17 session in the states. I'm interested in Machine Leaning/Data Science (ML/DS). So either I'm gonna apply for CS with a specialization in ML/DS or I'll apply directly in these specific programs such as MS in Machine Learning or MS in Computational Data Science.

Here's my profile:
* GRE: 326 (Q:170, V:156, AWA:3.5)
* TOEFL: 114 (R:30, L:29, S:27, W:28)
* GPA: 8.61/10
* 1 Industrial Internship (6 months) as a Software Developer. Most of the work was in Java and C#.
* 1 Research Internship at IIT Ropar in Dec'15 (6 weeks). Work was in my field of Interest (ML). Used Matlab and Python extensively.
* 1 International Research paper (out of my work at IIT Ropar) has been accepted and published at IJCAI-16. It is considered to be one of the best Artificial Intelligence conference worldwide. However, I'm the third and the last author of the selected paper. I have no other selected publications as of now and won't be able to do so now coz of lack of time.
Link to published paper: http://www.ijcai.org/Proceedings/16/Papers/291.pdf
* Lots of completed relevant online courses (Stanford's ML course, UC Berkeley's AI course, UCSD's Big Data course and some python/R trainings too)
* Lots of completed relevant projects too.
* I've started working as a software developer in a well renowned Tech firm in India from June'16. So, I'll have 12 months work ex by fall'17. My work is completely relevant to my MS goals: I'm working on Big data tools such as Hive, Spark, Pig and also employing ML. Yeah I know I'm lucky.

I've followed fall'16 admissions closely and am a bit scared concerning this year's results. Even people applying to 10+ unis have got just 1-2 admits.

After a lot of research, I've chosen the below Universities:

1. CMU - CS/CDS/DS (not sure if I should apply to all three courses or which one to choose, need suggestions.)
2. UT Austin, UCB- Too acad centric as far as I have come to know, will love to hear more from seniors on this front if I actually have a shot at these or not.
3. UCLA, UCSD - These are main targets, correct me if I should be heading elsewhere
4. Gatech
5. UMass - really low intake, want to know if it's worth a shot
6. USC
7. NCSU
8. NEU
9. SUNY Buffalo

I need to cut down to total of 11-13 applications (I may apply to multiple courses in the same uni, for example: CMU has CS/DS/ML). Also, I need to add a few safe ones. I've gone way too ambi with this list I suppose.


Please evaluate my profile. I would be grateful if you could shortlist selected Uni's along with reasons. If you want to suggest other unis too, please do so.

Gurkanwal's Infobank
MS in CS [ML/DS] Fall 2017!
UCSD| UMass | UPenn | UMN | NCSU | CU-Boulder | UTA | CMU | UCLA | Gatech | U. Waterloo

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(This post was last modified: 01-08-2017 02:35 AM by gurkanwals.)
08-13-2016 01:52 AM
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RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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Tagging seniors for help.

MSinCS14
Ancalagon The Black
pulkitsachdeva
avneet15

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08-13-2016 01:57 AM
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RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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Tagging more seniors:

srivassumit
sridhar687
spurthialluri
Sjad

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08-13-2016 02:04 AM
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RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper

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RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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Please evaluate:

rish0708
sK947
devashishp
tan_m
suhasrpai

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RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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I've stopped doing evals nowadays, but I'll take a stab at this one because nobody seems to be replying.

1. CMU - CS/CDS/DS (not sure if I should apply to all three courses or which one to choose, need suggestions.) - I wouldn't recommend applying to multiple programs in the same school. You cannot upload 3 different SOPs with different "purpose"s. Doing so will only suggest that you're probably not able to make up your mind. Pick ONE program to apply to, and tailor your SOP accordingly.
2. UT Austin, UCB- Too acad centric as far as I have come to know, will love to hear more from seniors on this front if I actually have a shot at these or not. - Shot, you say? Sure, if you're lucky and if you play your cards right. I won't mince words though - understand that this is an ambi bet, because most people applying to UT have profiles similar to or better than yours. So yours has to stand out from the rest really well in order for yours to be noticed. Again, the SOP will be critical here (and elsewhere too, but that fact is even more important at ambitious schools like these).
3. UCLA, UCSD - These are main targets, correct me if I should be heading elsewhere - No, retain those. Ambitious bets, and expensive. But I think you have better chances at these two than at schools like UT or Berkeley. That said, they are quite expensive, so think on that count too. Personally I don't believe in trying to bite off more than what you can chew, and I do not recommend applying to schools you know you're not going to afford, because you'll only waste money in applying that way. That's the way I think, and if you agree, take a call on if you should be applying to expensive schools, which there are more than a few of on your list.
4. Gatech - Mod, IMHO.
5. UMass - really low intake, want to know if it's worth a shot - Quite ambitious. I wouldn't recommend applying here, but you might, if you want to.
6. USC - Safe. But very expensive.
7. NCSU - Moderate. Not as expensive as the others on your list. But not much AI work happening here from what I know.
8. NEU - Safe. Decent for AI from what I know. But expensive, both because it's a private school and because Boston is an expensive place to live in.
9. SUNY Buffalo - Mod. Decent for AI. Not that expensive. Do apply.

All in all, decent list, but a bit top-heavy. If I were you, I'd apply to 2-3 ambitious schools (out of which one can be the likes of UT Austin which I'd term as being quite ambitious), 3-4 mod schools and 2-3 safe ones.

1) Please mention as many details as possible about your academics, research and work-ex, in terms of projects worked on, technologies used, roles/responsibilities handled, papers published/presented, awards/honors obtained, etc. All those have to be put in the misc details section of your UniSearch profile if you expect any help on Edulix. Also, before requesting for profile evaluations, please go through this excellent post.

2) Please take some time out to read these three threads in their entirety. PLEASE do that before asking questions about universities from a comparison perspective, or jobs, or coursework, or H-1B visas, or "placements", irrespective of which univ/department/program/major you're applying to.

I love to read, and then I regurgitate. I write - a lot - as my posts here and on other outlets would show. I do not make apologies for what I write (and how long it is). I do not sugarcoat things either. I don't tolerate vague questions, for any reasons - ignorance arising out of an inability to locate information when the necessary tools to do so (i.e. the internet, libraries, university websites, other forums/bulletin boards, etc.) are readily available, is not any kind of an acceptable excuse.

"Don't be daft." - Ancalagon The Black

"With the exchange rate where it is now, it should be a strong deterrent against picking a slightly better program for a lot more tuition fees." - coolguru
08-13-2016 09:28 PM
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Post: #7
RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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Thanks for replying. Gonna add to your views. Just like anyone else, I do want to apply to top universities but at the same time have limited funds (max 50 lacs for everything including tuition and living). I know you want to kill me already.

(08-13-2016 09:28 PM)The_Observer Wrote:  I've stopped doing evals nowadays, but I'll take a stab at this one because nobody seems to be replying.

1. CMU - CS/CDS/DS (not sure if I should apply to all three courses or which one to choose, need suggestions.) - I wouldn't recommend applying to multiple programs in the same school. You cannot upload 3 different SOPs with different "purpose"s. Doing so will only suggest that you're probably not able to make up your mind. Pick ONE program to apply to, and tailor your SOP accordingly.
You're probably right, I thought of that. But again, I've heard CMU selects students at a departmental level and applying to different coursesshouldn't be a problem then. I'll really keep this in mind though. For now CMU - ML is in.

2. UT Austin, UCB- Too acad centric as far as I have come to know, will love to hear more from seniors on this front if I actually have a shot at these or not. - Shot, you say? Sure, if you're lucky and if you play your cards right. I won't mince words though - understand that this is an ambi bet, because most people applying to UT have profiles similar to or better than yours. So yours has to stand out from the rest really well in order for yours to be noticed. Again, the SOP will be critical here (and elsewhere too, but that fact is even more important at ambitious schools like these).
I'm really really confused between these two. UT austin would perhaps be more ambitious than UCB because of (pretty) lower fees. I need to choose one here. Suggestions? For now: both out

3. UCLA, UCSD - These are main targets, correct me if I should be heading elsewhere - No, retain those. Ambitious bets, and expensive. But I think you have better chances at these two than at schools like UT or Berkeley. That said, they are quite expensive, so think on that count too. Personally I don't believe in trying to bite off more than what you can chew, and I do not recommend applying to schools you know you're not going to afford, because you'll only waste money in applying that way. That's the way I think, and if you agree, take a call on if you should be applying to expensive schools, which there are more than a few of on your list.
UCLA and UCSD fit in the budget. will stick to them. For now: both in
4. Gatech - Mod, IMHO. Gatech in
5. UMass - really low intake, want to know if it's worth a shot - Quite ambitious. I wouldn't recommend applying here, but you might, if you want to.
Agreed that it is ambitious. I saw mass rejects last year from Umass for profiles better than mine. However, the fee is at a lower side plus AI here is magnificent which makes it super Ambi. For now, Umass in.
6. USC - Safe. But very expensive. but great in terms of opportunities, isn't it?
Totally agreed that it's expensive. Out for now.
7. NCSU - Moderate. Not as expensive as the others on your list. But not much AI work happening here from what I know.
NSCU in
8. NEU - Safe. Decent for AI from what I know. But expensive, both because it's a private school and because Boston is an expensive place to live in.
Please suggest any else safe yet good university for AI/ML until then NEU in

9. SUNY Buffalo - Mod. Decent for AI. Not that expensive. Do apply.
SUNY Buffalo in

All in all, decent list, but a bit top-heavy. If I were you, I'd apply to 2-3 ambitious schools (out of which one can be the likes of UT Austin which I'd term as being quite ambitious), 3-4 mod schools and 2-3 safe ones.

Summarily: These are the ones that are in

Super Ambi: CMU - ML
Ambi: Umass, UCLA, UCSD
Mod: Gatech, NCSU, USC
Safe: SUNY Buffalo, NEU

Please suggest changes if you think this needs improvement.


Gurkanwal's Infobank
MS in CS [ML/DS] Fall 2017!
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It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. - Mark Twain
(This post was last modified: 08-13-2016 10:35 PM by gurkanwals.)
08-13-2016 10:33 PM
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RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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If you want to give a shot at one school among UT and Berkeley, I'd say go for UT.

Coming to USC, you said opportunities are great. What is "great" anyway? That's a very subjective term. If you ask me, if USC is a good school, yes, it is. But given the intake there, I don't see a lot of hope when it comes to getting involved in research there as an MS student (and I haven't heard of a lot of students who've been able to get those very coveted RA positions there). Apply there if you want to, sure, but then be prepared to deal with the situation if you don't get any RA position or even an on-campus job at USC. My intention here while giving recommendations isn't to dissuade anyone from applying to a school or program; it's just to make y'all aware of the pros and cons of doing so, so that you can make an informed decision. I believe that we seniors on Edulix have a responsibility of telling you things as we see them, but the final decisions should solely be yours. Whether you choose to accept or reject our opinions is solely up to you.

And I know this might be a bit too safe of a school for you, but have you looked at the AI work going on at the University of Georgia (Athens)? If not, have a look and see if you'd be interested in applying there. It's not that expensive to attend, and with your profile, I think you should be able to get some kind of assistantship if you put in the efforts from early on.

1) Please mention as many details as possible about your academics, research and work-ex, in terms of projects worked on, technologies used, roles/responsibilities handled, papers published/presented, awards/honors obtained, etc. All those have to be put in the misc details section of your UniSearch profile if you expect any help on Edulix. Also, before requesting for profile evaluations, please go through this excellent post.

2) Please take some time out to read these three threads in their entirety. PLEASE do that before asking questions about universities from a comparison perspective, or jobs, or coursework, or H-1B visas, or "placements", irrespective of which univ/department/program/major you're applying to.

I love to read, and then I regurgitate. I write - a lot - as my posts here and on other outlets would show. I do not make apologies for what I write (and how long it is). I do not sugarcoat things either. I don't tolerate vague questions, for any reasons - ignorance arising out of an inability to locate information when the necessary tools to do so (i.e. the internet, libraries, university websites, other forums/bulletin boards, etc.) are readily available, is not any kind of an acceptable excuse.

"Don't be daft." - Ancalagon The Black

"With the exchange rate where it is now, it should be a strong deterrent against picking a slightly better program for a lot more tuition fees." - coolguru
08-14-2016 12:35 AM
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RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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Yes I do understand that you're only trying to help me and I'm grateful for it. I have some questions:
1. Is it possible to get RAs/TAs in the first semester itself?
2. Does applying as early as possible have a distinct advantage?
3. I sent my free GRE scores to some of the unis in my list last year but did not apply. Do i need to send them again?
4. I looked at the University of Georgia website. They are doing some pretty interesting stuff. i'll definitely keep this university in mind while making the final selections. However, one of the reasons i did not apply in fall-16 (I had given my gre and toefl by oct'15 and was initially planning for fall 16) was that I did not want to go to a low tier school. I dropped the idea, worked hard to get a paper published, did some good projects and improved my GPA a bit. Also, got myself a job in the field which is aligned to my masters goals. I know this might sound childish, i'd like to get your opinion about this.


(08-14-2016 12:35 AM)The_Observer Wrote:  If you want to give a shot at one school among UT and Berkeley, I'd say go for UT.

Coming to USC, you said opportunities are great. What is "great" anyway? That's a very subjective term. If you ask me, if USC is a good school, yes, it is. But given the intake there, I don't see a lot of hope when it comes to getting involved in research there as an MS student (and I haven't heard of a lot of students who've been able to get those very coveted RA positions there). Apply there if you want to, sure, but then be prepared to deal with the situation if you don't get any RA position or even an on-campus job at USC. My intention here while giving recommendations isn't to dissuade anyone from applying to a school or program; it's just to make y'all aware of the pros and cons of doing so, so that you can make an informed decision. I believe that we seniors on Edulix have a responsibility of telling you things as we see them, but the final decisions should solely be yours. Whether you choose to accept or reject our opinions is solely up to you.

And I know this might be a bit too safe of a school for you, but have you looked at the AI work going on at the University of Georgia (Athens)? If not, have a look and see if you'd be interested in applying there. It's not that expensive to attend, and with your profile, I think you should be able to get some kind of assistantship if you put in the efforts from early on.

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08-14-2016 01:09 AM
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Post: #10
RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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1. Is it possible to get RAs/TAs in the first semester itself?

Possible? Yes. Likely? Depends on a lot of factors, not restricted to but including how competitive your school is, the competition (in terms of both, the quantity and the quality), the research area, the strength and renown of the faculty member you're interested in researching with, the strength of your recommendations, etc. Anyway, this topic has been discussed to death (and beyond) over here on Edulix, so please do search through the forum for many detailed replies on that topic.

2. Does applying as early as possible have a distinct advantage?

Not necessarily. Many schools, at least at the grad level, do not offer rolling admissions. Rolling admission cycles are essentially ranges of dates, where applications received between certain date ranges are considered for evaluation as soon as the applications are complete. In non-rolling admissions, schools wait and collect applications up until a given date, and all the applications that are complete by the deadline, are picked up for evaluation.

3. I sent my free GRE scores to some of the unis in my list last year but did not apply. Do i need to send them again?

If you intend on applying to the same schools where the scores were sent last year, email their graduate schools individually and ask if they'd be okay with using a year-old score report. This is something each individual school would decide.

4. I looked at the University of Georgia website. They are doing some pretty interesting stuff. i'll definitely keep this university in mind while making the final selections. However, one of the reasons i did not apply in fall-16 (I had given my gre and toefl by oct'16 and was initially planning for fall 16) was that I did not want to go to a low tier school. I dropped the idea, worked hard to get a paper published, did some good projects and improved my GPA a bit. Also, got myself a job in the field which is aligned to my masters goals. I know this might sound childish, i'd like to get your opinion about this.

No, that's fair. But don't discount a school just because it's "low-tier" just because of that one factor. You need safeties, that's one reason why to applying to schools you'd probably easily get into, and if you're going to apply to them, why not apply to those that are doing good research in your area of interest anyway? And you don't have to decide right away whether you want to attend a specific school - that comes almost a year down the line from now, but right now, you want to think about (a) what your intended specialization is, and (b) how to maximize your application options, keeping that specialization and other factors, such as the costs, in mind.

1) Please mention as many details as possible about your academics, research and work-ex, in terms of projects worked on, technologies used, roles/responsibilities handled, papers published/presented, awards/honors obtained, etc. All those have to be put in the misc details section of your UniSearch profile if you expect any help on Edulix. Also, before requesting for profile evaluations, please go through this excellent post.

2) Please take some time out to read these three threads in their entirety. PLEASE do that before asking questions about universities from a comparison perspective, or jobs, or coursework, or H-1B visas, or "placements", irrespective of which univ/department/program/major you're applying to.

I love to read, and then I regurgitate. I write - a lot - as my posts here and on other outlets would show. I do not make apologies for what I write (and how long it is). I do not sugarcoat things either. I don't tolerate vague questions, for any reasons - ignorance arising out of an inability to locate information when the necessary tools to do so (i.e. the internet, libraries, university websites, other forums/bulletin boards, etc.) are readily available, is not any kind of an acceptable excuse.

"Don't be daft." - Ancalagon The Black

"With the exchange rate where it is now, it should be a strong deterrent against picking a slightly better program for a lot more tuition fees." - coolguru
08-14-2016 01:20 AM
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RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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Thanks for all the advice.

To be honest, I know the repercussions of not keeping safe options, yet I do not want to apply to them. I know this would be categorized as over confidence but applying to a school that I don't want to attend isn't a good thing either. I'm sure you'll understand what I feel.

I've often seen people trying ti save money on application fees and ending up getting just a single admit from the school they no longer wish to attend. Therefore, I am willing to apply to as much as 13-15 different courses (this would at max cost me 50k INR additional but atleast I'll have options at the end). I intend to keep 10-11 in the US, 2 in Canada (Waterloo and Toronto), and 1-2 in Germany (TU Munich, RWTH (maybe)).

Correct me if I'm wrong but getting all rejects would require a lot of bad luck. Keeping this in mind, applying to safe ones doesn't seem like a good idea. What do you think?

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08-14-2016 01:34 AM
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RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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(This post was last modified: 08-15-2016 02:59 PM by gurkanwals.)
08-15-2016 02:54 PM
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RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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08-15-2016 03:00 PM
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RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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That GRE score is awesome so you will definitely get some brownie point for that. That GPA looks good too. I second The_Observer. No point in applying to schools like USC which are super expensive and which don't offer aid or assistantships of any kind. You are better off applying to the lower rung UC's like UCI/UCD/UCSC or even UCR as you will be getting the same or even better job opportunities at a far lower cost. Plus you will have a shot a good research. Btw I read your paper. Pretty good work I must say. Try and get theLoR from the prof at IIT-Ro. Would go a long way in securing a good admit. Also apply to just one program. Not doing so, will make you look like a student desperate for an admit. Most of the time, the same group of profs and regents sit on the AdComm for programs offered by the same department.

1. CMU - CS: Mod+/Ambi You have good shot here. But it is pretty expensive and Pittsburgh ain't cheap.
2. UT Austin, UCB- V Ambi Your GPA is "low" and you are not from an IIT.
3. UCLA, UCSD - Mod+ and gettable, especially UCSD. Good work going in SDSC.
4. Gatech - Mod+/Ambi They have begun taking many students each year for ECE,CS so lots of competetion again.
5. UMass - Mod. Low intake but a profile similar to your, 326, 8.5 RVCE made it here. Minus any good Research work.
6. USC - Safe expect to get an admit
7. NCSU - [/b]Safe
8. NEU - [b]Safe. Expensive but good placements.

9. SUNY Buffalo - Safe, cheap, good job opportunities. What more do you need ? And yeah it is in NY state !!


ATB
08-16-2016 01:53 AM
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RE: Fall 17 | MS in CS | GRE: 326 (170,156, 3.5) | 114 | 8.61 | 2 Internships | 1 Paper
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(08-16-2016 01:53 AM)samahuj1994 Wrote:  That GRE score is awesome so you will definitely get some brownie point for that. That GPA looks good too. I second @[The_Observer]. No point in applying to schools like USC which are super expensive and which don't offer aid or assistantships of any kind. Yeah Agreed. Gonna try and look for a scholarship/TA/RA beforehand if things don't turn up to be good, won't apply.
You are better off applying to the lower rung UC's like UCI/UCD/UCSC or even UCR as you will be getting the same or even better job opportunities at a far lower cost. Plus you will have a shot a good research. Btw I read your paper. Pretty good work I must say. Thank you so much!
Try and get theLoR from the prof at IIT-Ro. Would go a long way in securing a good admit. I was of the opinion that I probably shouldn't get the LoR from him. Firstly, my interaction with him is pretty low to be honest (Most of my work was with his PhD student). Secondly, I only worked under him for some 40 days, which is quite a low amount of time to judge someone. Thirdly, he won't be willing to share the contents of the LoR (which is both good and bad). Fourthly, I have three other great LoR sources with 100% confidence on the stuff that goes into it.
Also apply to just one program. Not doing so, will make you look like a student desperate for an admit. Most of the time, the same group of profs and regents sit on the AdComm for programs offered by the same department. CMU has a different ML department altogether, and it is the only school where i want to apply for CS and ML both. Will have to research more on this.

1. CMU - CS: Mod+/Ambi You have good shot here. But it is pretty expensive and Pittsburgh ain't cheap. It's CMU man, this is the dream. I'll arrange funds if I get here, but that won't be necessary, since I won't get in :')
2. UT Austin, UCB- V Ambi Your GPA is "low" and you are not from an IIT. Not gonna apply to any of these
3. UCLA, UCSD - Mod+ and gettable, especially UCSD. Good work going in SDSC.
4. Gatech - Mod+/Ambi They have begun taking many students each year for ECE,CS so lots of competetion again.
5. UMass - Mod. Low intake but a profile similar to your, 326, 8.5 RVCE made it here. Minus any good Research work. That's a boost in confidence
6. USC - Safe expect to get an admit
7. NCSU - [/b]Safe
8. NEU - [b]Safe. Expensive but good placements.

9. SUNY Buffalo - Safe, cheap, good job opportunities. What more do you need ? And yeah it is in NY state !!

Gonna add UoColarado at Boulder as a safe one and probably remove NEU. There's some great work going on in ML there. Will be great to hear from you as well as others on this.


ATB

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08-16-2016 03:13 AM
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