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Fall 2018 | MS CS | GRE 320 (Q162/V158) | CGPA 8.4 | TOEFL 115 | Panjab University
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ghosthalfway Offline
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Post: #1
Fall 2018 | MS CS | GRE 320 (Q162/V158) | CGPA 8.4 | TOEFL 115 | Panjab University

Hi, I am applying for MS CS (non-thesis) for Fall 2018. I started this process only a few months ago, slowly taking the required exams and putting together my profile. Now for the final phase, I just have the SOP remaining. I need to verify that my shortlisted universities are properly balanced among safe / moderate / ambitious, and that my overall profile is coherent.

GRE: 320 (Quant - 162 / Verbal - 158), AWA - 4
TOEFL: 115 (R-30, L-30, S-28, W-27)
Bachelor of Engg (Information Technology) - UIET, Panjab University, Chandigarh
Undergrad CGPA: 8.4 / 10 (Graduated with honors) (Topper's grade was ~9 iirc)
No research papers

Work Experience: ~3.5 years (at the time of applying)
1 internship, 2 jobs at well-known startups in Bangalore
Main focus: Building full-stack web apps (proficient in UI dev)

Projects / Extra curriculars:
Interactive virtual Drumkit built w/ Microsoft Kinect
Android app that had 3k+ daily active users
Ran a tech-centric wordpress blog
Organizer/Speaker at event in college for Open Source Software evangelism
Member of student-run group helping peers/juniors contribute to open source
Held intro sessions on building a wordpress blog

Awards/Recognitions:
100% tuition scholarship in 11th & 12th for scoring 92% in CBSE 10th class examination
Academic Excellence Award for being in the top 5 scoring students (out of 100) in CS / Information Technology discipline.

LORs:
1. Dept. Coordinator (Asst. Professor) - Decent letter
2. Former employer (CEO) - Strong letter
3. Current employer (Company COO) - Strong letter

Shortlist:
UPenn (M.Eng CIS)
USCalifornia (MS CS)
Georgia Tech (MS HCI)
NYU
Cornell
CMU (MEng CS)
UCI
UC Santa Cruz
Ohio State University
SUNY Stony Brook

Tagging seniors:



Could you please help categorize these and maybe suggest other ones I should consider, or perhaps any I should drop?
I wish to apply to Cornell and CMU only if my overall profile is strong enough, because I know they are highly competitive.

Based on average quant scores I found online, does my quant score of 162 negatively affect my profile? I wish to mention in my SOP that I scored 100% in CBSE board maths. Would that alongwith my work ex balance out my profile? This has really been bugging me a lot, so any clarity is welcome.

Lastly, any tips / suggestions for strengthening my profile further?
Thanks a lot for all the help and guidance you folks provide.

(This post was last modified: 11-17-2017 04:34 AM by ghosthalfway.)
11-17-2017 04:31 AM
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The_Observer Away
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Post: #2
RE: Fall 2018 | MS CS | GRE 320 (Q162/V158) | CGPA 8.4 | TOEFL 115 | Panjab University

Your list is a little top-heavy. I'd add at least a couple of safe and moderate schools.


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
11-17-2017 06:29 AM
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ghosthalfway Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Fall 2018 | MS CS | GRE 320 (Q162/V158) | CGPA 8.4 | TOEFL 115 | Panjab University

(11-17-2017 06:29 AM)The_Observer Wrote:  Your list is a little top-heavy. I'd add at least a couple of safe and moderate schools.

Thanks for the quick response . Yes, my list did seem inclining a bit towards ambitious. Based on your suggestion, I have reduced my shortlist to the ones that I absolutely want to apply to, and now am including an extended list of safe/mod universities (based on Unisuggest and other sources).

Could you please evaluate these, and help pick suitable ones from the extended list? Please feel free to suggest any that you don't see here but think is a good fit for my profile.

Core Shortlist (most definitely trying my luck with these):
UPenn (M.Eng CIS)
USCalifornia (MS CS)
Georgia Tech (MS HCI)
NYU
Cornell
CMU (MEng CS)

Extended list:
UMTC, UCIrvine, UCSantaCruz, UIC, PennState, U of Cincinnati, NCSU, ASU

If I may pick your brain further, can you address my concern regarding my quant score as I mentioned above? Is that the weak part of my profile, or is it something else? Appreciate your feedback.

11-18-2017 06:14 AM
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The_Observer Away
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Post: #4
RE: Fall 2018 | MS CS | GRE 320 (Q162/V158) | CGPA 8.4 | TOEFL 115 | Panjab University

The core list is good. From the extended one, my picks would be UMN, UCI, UIC, NCSU and ASU. The only reason I'm not recommending you pick Penn State, is because you lack research exposure from what I see, and that school has been known to be keen on research-oriented profiles.

Quote:Based on average quant scores I found online, does my quant score of 162 negatively affect my profile?

Negatively? No. But it doesn't make you stand out either. Remember, that most grad school applicants to engineering programs these days tend to be international students, most of whom are from the Indian subcontinent, PRC, ROC, ROK and Japan. And, most of us from these places, especially engineering grads, already have a substantial quantitative background, and therefore generally do well on the quant section. Therefore, the unofficial threshold on the quant score generally tends to be higher for Asian (and specifically Indian) engineering grads applying to quantitative grad programs. That's why, in a sea of profiles that average scores of 160-165, your score isn't bad, but it won't do you any major favors.

Quote:I wish to mention in my SOP that I scored 100% in CBSE board maths. Would that alongwith my work ex balance out my profile?

Why? No need. The GRE tests for your aptitude for grad studies. It isn't about math alone, or verbal alone, but it also actually tests for your aptitude to follow instructions, think on your feet (to an extent) and deal with problems in a timely manner against different types of constraints. So, yes, while the fact that you got a 100% in high school math is a good thing, (a) it doesn't add anything to your SOP for grad school applying to a program that isn't an MS in Math or Statistics, and (b) it isn't relevant to what you want to do in grad school, so it's a waste of SOP space. Your SOP space is very valuable, because you have to impress the AdCom in 1.5 to 2 pages. So you have to be very specific, and focus only on three things: (1) why you're applying to that specific program, as in why is that specific program interesting and a good fit for you?, (2) why are you, with your unique experiences and background, a good fit for that program?, and (3) what is your intent (or the "purpose" part of the statement of purpose) in wanting to get into that specific program, as in, what exactly do you plan to do with the skills you learn in that specific program, and how would you apply them to your chosen specialization of studies, career or field of interest down the line? For more on this, read through the "Elements of a good SOP" thread here on Edulix, which is in the Academia forum.


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
11-18-2017 06:47 AM
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