Why you would want to go to grad school - and how to get there

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Why you would want to go to grad school - and how to get there. Jacob Scott 3/21/2006 UC Berkeley. Relax, I understand j00. (CS 162). "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham www.phdcomics.com. UCB CS Mike Franklin, Barbara Hightower, Shareena Samson, Mary Byrnes MIT Frans Kaashoek - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of Why you would want to go to grad school - and how to get there

  • Why you would want to go to grad school - and how to get thereJacob Scott3/21/2006UC Berkeley

  • Relax, I understand j00 "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Chamwww.phdcomics.com(CS 162)

  • AcknowledgementsUCB CSMike Franklin, Barbara Hightower, Shareena Samson, Mary ByrnesMITFrans KaashoekNorthwesternJamie TranCSUA Michael Rauser, PolitburoHKNChris Crutchfield, Sahand Negahban, StudRel, PubUPE Kaisen Lin

  • About mehttp://www.mit.edu/~jhscottClass of 2005, BS EECSCS162/4,170/2/4,184/6, 270/6Researched with Professor Karp1st year grad, CSAIL MIT6.829, 6.854, 6.687Researching under Professor Karger

  • About the talkWill coverWhy you would want to go to grad schoolHow to decide if you want to goHow to get thereWill not coverHow to select an advisorHow funding works

  • Why goResearchPushing the fieldExploringAutonomyNo quarterly reportsCareer OptionsIf you want to be a professor, you need a PhD

  • Why not to goMoneyGrad school: $30K (if youre lucky!)Industry: $60K (if youre unlucky!)HoursYou work as long as you want or as long your advisor wants you to or as long as everyone around you doesHowever, you usually can set your own hours at grad school

  • How should you decideTry researchApproach professors (or their students, or TAs) in classes you've done well inTaking the initiative takes guts and is admiredTry industry internshipsTalk to peopleGrad studentsProfessorsGet accepted and go to visit weekend!

  • How to get there to MITA virtual conversation with Professor Kaashoek, head of admissions for CSAs relayed by me - most words and ALL errors are my ownIncludes other input

  • MIT - the process15 member faculty committee decides1200+ applications --> 60 admitsThis year 3 from Berkeley, last year also 3Two initial roundsAdmits folders ranked 1-4 (4=top 5%, 3=top10%, 2=top 20%, 1=reject)1st round: one professor looks at each folder50% of folders survive (600 left)Rejects double checked by chair2nd round: two more professors review the folders

  • MIT - the process (2)After initial rounds, two meetings1st meeting - 600 -> 100-150 admits2nd meeting - Final admits decidedAt this stage, judgments made by collective review

  • MIT - the evaluationFolders are ranked based on average score assigned by facultyScore breaks down into a number of areasLetters of recommendationStatement of purposeResearch experienceGradesGeneral experienceEducation No hard weighting of each area

  • How to get there to UCB

    A virtual conversation with Professor Franklin, vice-chair of admissions for CSAs relayed to me by Kaisen Lin - most words and ALL errors are oursIncludes other input

  • UCB - the processCommittee made up of 50% professor, 50% senior grad studentsEach application assigned to 2 reviewers based on areaEach application is fully reviewed without automatic cutoffsCandidates are ranked in each areaCommittee determines available slots in each area

  • UCB - the process (2)Candidates are presented to whole committeeThe entire committee must approve each admitThis is where outstanding letters of recommendation can help youBest candidates are quickly approved, others can be debated

  • UCB - the evaluationWhat school did you come fromGPA (recent technical grades weighted more)GRE (bad score red flags you)Research/PublicationsActivitiesPersonal Statement Letters of Recommendation

  • Drilling DownNext few slides will focus on important application areasSynthesis information gathered at both schoolsprimarily MITMany of the following points apply generally to other schools

  • Letters of recommendationYou need three lettersWhat makes a good letter?Professors are preferred over grad studentsThey should know youAsk if they will write a good letterThere should be details and specificsIt is nice if the letter writers are known (most UCB profs are)However, not necessary

  • Statement of purposeWhat are schools trying to find outCan you write well?Are there signs you are creative?Are there signs you would make a good researcher?What you should doSpend time on itExplain what you want to do and whyDemonstrate interest and curiosity

  • Research ProjectsDo something (anything)Publications are a plusVery well may get read (skimmed)Even un-refereed (e.g., in submission or class projects)Demonstrate that you can do researchInteract with facultyBetter letter of recommendation!The rest is straightforwardCommittee determines if you did a good job on the research

  • Grades, General Experience, EducationIt is nice to see good grades in hard subjectsHowever, usually no GPA cutoff (beyond university requirements) Your resume is consideredInternships, work experience, other activitiesEducationDo you have the right background to do good research

  • Some general adviceIt is not what you say, it is what they hearLook for the mutual benefit in any situationReconsider your actions if you cant find anyThe Five Minute Magic TrickBe nice to people!

  • Why you should take my adviceBeforeAfter

  • Thanks and QuestionsReading listFlow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything

    Fellowships LOOK AT AGAINFrom Jamie:also i remember when i was applying that profs really like it when you are organized it makes their life easier, i made a packet with my resume+CV (or something that states all the wonderful things u did), transcript, cover letter with schools you are applying to and due dates, and ANYthing that will help them write the best letter

    oh also a few paragraphs/a reminder of how you know them to refresh their memories (although the letters should be from people who know you well, some people dont interact too much with professors)

    I knew some people who strugged the most with recs