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SANDIEGO

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  1. Upvote
    SANDIEGO reacted to j_holtz_98 in The sub-3.0 GPAs ACCEPTANCE thread   
    You all make me laugh. I took the time to register this account, because I thought that I was looking at a thread of disasters. In-fact, almost all of you have decent GPA's. I dont think I saw anyone with below a 2.6....That's pretty good.
     
    This isn't a here's my story, it's better than yours. Rather it's a true disaster which cannot be fixed in any way.
     
    I finished my undergrad with a 2.41 in business. I was studying accounting, but if your GPA falls below 2.5 at the University of Colorado then you lose your emphasis. Mine was accounting. I read everywhere that with a 2.4 I can eliminate 98% of grad schools in the U.S.
     
    In my entire college tenure, my best semester was a 3.29 and my worst was a 1.6
     
    Between those two extremes I fit everywhere probably averaging around a constant 2.5 the entire time. But my backstory is what helped (which I don't encourage you to do). I was in Iraq where I was severely injured to the point where I now have seizures on a weekly basis. I'm a disabled veteran, and I found out that this doesn't play into anything when applying to grad school. Since I had saved money, I decided to take my 2.4 gpa and apply to every top school that I could think of. I don't have good grades, my professors won't write me letters of recommendations because of my grades and my work experience is non-relevant to accounting. Basically I have no help getting into grad school.
     
    However, I was wrong. I spent two days creating applications, paying fee's and writing countless essays as to why I would be a good fit. I then picked the six schools that I *knew* wouldn't accept me because of my bad grades and applied to them. I spent over $1000 in application fee's and other items. My top six schools that I applied to for a masters in accounting: Stanford, Michigan, Cornell, Wisconsin,California and Harvard. Then I completed five applications to schools that I thought I had a moderate chance of getting into: Texas A&M, Texas, Ohio State University, Nebraska, and Auburn. After finishing those applications, I tried some other one's that I thought would be sympathetic to my veteran status and applied to five more: North Dakota, Western Michigan, University of Utah, and Boise State University.
     
    I didn't think anything of these. At worst, I thought that I may have just submitted 16 applications which would end up in the trash can followed by a degrading rejection email that is sent to the auto rejected students.
     
    However here is my current problem:
    On my desk I currently have acceptance letters to every single school except Utah because of an application error which is supposed to be resolved soon. The first thought that came to my mind was "wow, I got into Stanford". The first idea was to immediately call/email all of the admissions staff to see what kind of marijuanna they were smoking because my acceptance likely ended the dream of a better qualified student at that particular school. To keep things short, I summed up the responses from all of the universities by displaying what Michigan wrote back. I did this because it generally follows what Stanford, Cornell and just about every other school said. Texas A&M said that my veteran status improved my rankings consideribly. But anyways:

    Michigan: "Your undergraduate grades were horrible, and frankly I cannot believe that you are applying knowing that the GPA floor is 3.3 for minimal consideration to the accounting program. After looking through your packet, I saw nothing which indicated that you would have the ability to complete a graduate level degree. Furthermore, after our interview it became very clear to me that you have no relevant experience in accounting outside of academia. I left the interview perplexed because nothing statistically showed my staff or myself that you belong at Michigan. However, I did enjoy reading your essay and listening to your thoughts on the Enron scandal. For having such a low GPA, I am interested in how you learned so much. While I am grateful for your service and terribly sorry for your injury I cannot simply put that in front of your academic performance. You got into Michigan because you can communicate well. It's not too often that a student will present themselves as a problem solver and a situational thinker yet not be able to test well. I think you will bring something profound to our program and that is the ability to hear and speak."

    So just so all of you know, having a 2.4 doesn't help but if you can overcome with something else then you can definitely go places.
  2. Upvote
    SANDIEGO got a reaction from dat_nerd in Reversing a rejection with an email? Sending email while waiting?   
    The professors had a meeting about the applications and the decisions were made then. There's just no way that a grad coordinator even has the power alone to admit you without the blessing of at least one POI. Asking for advice on what they thought were the weaknesses in your application so you can do better next time is one thing, but asking for them to re-consider a decision they've already made.. is probably not professional. Good luck if you go ahead and do it anyway
  3. Upvote
    SANDIEGO reacted to SeriousSillyPutty in What's it like being a woman in a STEM field?   
    My 2 cents that will probably turn into $2:

    1)I recommend people take this Implicit Association Test on gender and science:
    https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/selectatest.html

    Sometimes even though intellectually we know that women can be scientists, and that scientists can be women, the fact that they are underrepresented means that we can still sub-consciously group the occupation more with men. This is a test for that.

    2)I was a physics undergrad, and I felt treated fairly. (It probably helped that I was the "smart kid" in class growing up, so I was academically confident even when I was no longer the "smart kid" in physics.) One of the other girls in one class noticed that, during the help session, the prof would start the problem if the boys asked, but would do the problem if the girls asked. It might have been because of sub-conscious bias, but the girls in that class were (on average) more studious as well, so maybe he assumed we wouldn't ask unless we had already attempted the problem. I felt a little conspicuous in the lab I worked in at times, but nobody was ever demeaning, said anything offensive, or treated me differently in a way I could tell. I felt more conspicuous because of my lack of musicality (it was an acoustics lab) than because of my gender.

    By sophomore year I was confident that I didn't want to become a physicist, even though I loved physics. It wasn't because of poor treatment (I didn't have any) or classes that were too hard (well, it was physics, so they were hard for everyone), it was because I enjoyed talking about the physics achievements of others far more than I liked number crunching or equipment trouble-shooting. Based on diagrams, this makes me one of the leaks in the pipeline that they're trying to fix, but I don't want to feel like a "disappointment" to the physics community because I didn't do my part to close the gender gap.

    3) I'm totally fine with acknowledging that the arm-strength bell curves for males and females have males stronger, on average, although there is plenty of overlap. If true, I'm equally fine with the possibility that,say, the number-crunching patience threshold of males is, on average, higher than females, or that the collaboration skills of females are higher than males, although there is a lot of overlap. If it were true that a smaller percentage of women were inherently interested in physics, then equality could be reached without a 50-50 split in the workforce -- BUT we have a long way to go before we have to worry about the exact ratio. Right now there are still girls who do have the disposition to be excellent scientists, but who are told (explicitly or implicitly) that science is a man's world. I was shocked to hear that a friend actually had a middle school science teacher that told her girls weren't supposed to be good at science. Entering college, it never occurred to her that she could major in science; instead she majored in journalism (which her inquisitive brain excelled at) and took science classes just for fun. (Who takes chemistry just for fun, and get to the lecture hall an hour early to eavesdrop on the physics class?!) I think this is easing, but we've still got a way to go. I've convinced my friend's 12-year-old son to pursue engineering instead of pro wrestling, and he recently told me, "My brother and I will become engineers, and then we can take care of our little sisters, because girls don't like that stuff." He said this to ME, the GIRL who had taught him to build a robot!

    4)I noticed that no female science grad students (who have identified themselves as such) have replied. That probably says something right there.

    5) http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=55 <- a classic!
  4. Upvote
    SANDIEGO got a reaction from josefchung in Evaluate my chances for PhD (CS) admission   
    I would re-take the GRE, as the quant score is on the low side. The writing is pretty low too, I'd try to get a 4. Your chances (as well as anybody else applying to those schools) for Caltech and Berkeley are obviously slim. You have a good chance at the rest IMO. If you re-apply I'd consider broadening the range of schools you apply to.
  5. Upvote
    SANDIEGO got a reaction from Goku_Naruto in Evaluate my chances for PhD (CS) admission   
    I would re-take the GRE, as the quant score is on the low side. The writing is pretty low too, I'd try to get a 4. Your chances (as well as anybody else applying to those schools) for Caltech and Berkeley are obviously slim. You have a good chance at the rest IMO. If you re-apply I'd consider broadening the range of schools you apply to.
  6. Downvote
    SANDIEGO reacted to fdhkjal in Phd in Computer Science at a different(better, maybe Top) school after Masters   
    Unfortunately, this isn't true. If you get a PhD in computer science, with an emphasis in say databases, then only employers who are interested in database people will want to hire you. The going rate for a PhD is higher than someone with a bachelor's degree, thus companies that want an entry/mid/rank-and-file level programmer, won't look at you. If, for example, you wanted to get a job in the video game industry, after finishing your PhD in databases, you would have a significantly harder time than if you simply had a bachelor's or master's degree.

    This is normally called being "overqualified." International students especially tend to not understand the concept of being overqualified. Additionally, your time would be better spent in industry if you ultimately want to do industry. Only do a PhD if you want to be a professor or a researcher...
  7. Upvote
    SANDIEGO reacted to TakeruK in Dealing with Xenophobia   
    Even though a majority of a population (e.g. international students) share a particular trait, it's not fair/right to assume that all members of that population share that trait. The world doesn't always work this way and I also find myself making these generalizations from time to time. But, it's something I strive to change for.

    I agree with SANDIEGO -- most people who do this are doing it innocently. But some people use this to harrass others so when we let it go by, it appears that this behaviour is the norm and is socially acceptable.

    At my MSc school, in Canada, I was living in a university town with a population that was over 95% Caucasian, so almost everyone who looks different was a student. Many people assume that I was an international student, based on my visual appearance. People talked to me as if I did not understand English (e.g. really loud, slowly and exaggerated). It does not feel nice when you realise that you are being treated differently because of your appearance. Here in the US, I sometimes get the international student = cannot speak English label too, and that does not feel nice either.

    I agree that there is nothing wrong with stating the fact that "International Students" is a valid way to group students and the fact that "the majority of international students are not native English speakers". However, in my opinion, it is not okay to use the "international student" label to treat an individual member of that group differently. I think it is dehumanizing because I no longer feel like an individual, but as a "member of the group" instead. Instead of being TakeruK, I am now seen as "an International student".

    So this is why I think you (I mean everyone in general, not Eigen specifically even though his post is quoted above) should not treat International students any different (in this example we are talking about presumption of English proficiency) until you learn that they are indeed different. For example, speak to us as if you were speaking to any other student. Don't treat us differently unless we ask for it or show obvious signs that we do not understand. Similarly, comments like "Omg, this person writes like an International Student", or "oh, it looks like our TA/prof is International, I guess we aren't going to be able to understand his/her accent" are not okay. I think this is pretty obvious to most people though.

    To the OP, I got this a lot during my MSc and a little here in California too. It makes me feel pretty crappy about myself and sometimes it makes me feel like an outsider. But, for me, "hate" is a pretty strong feeling and I wouldn't say it goes that far. It's not bad enough for me to want to react violently -- I can always find better people to spend my time with. But, it's enough for me to speak out about it and try to prevent it from happening if I witness it. However, when it happens to me, sometimes I am too shocked that it actually just happened (even though it's not that rare) for me to react properly and I often wish I had spoken up earlier.
  8. Upvote
    SANDIEGO got a reaction from halfhipster in Dealing with Xenophobia   
    The problem with continually accepting this kind of behavior is that it continues to perpetuate and reinforce the same future behavior. For example, take the more charged topic of racial discrimination. If someone is continuing to use race as a means for harassment, it is not actually productive for society to "move on", but rather to make people aware of what's happening and the stakes involved.
  9. Upvote
    SANDIEGO got a reaction from TakeruK in Dealing with Xenophobia   
    The problem with continually accepting this kind of behavior is that it continues to perpetuate and reinforce the same future behavior. For example, take the more charged topic of racial discrimination. If someone is continuing to use race as a means for harassment, it is not actually productive for society to "move on", but rather to make people aware of what's happening and the stakes involved.
  10. Upvote
    SANDIEGO got a reaction from rising_star in Dealing with Xenophobia   
    The problem with continually accepting this kind of behavior is that it continues to perpetuate and reinforce the same future behavior. For example, take the more charged topic of racial discrimination. If someone is continuing to use race as a means for harassment, it is not actually productive for society to "move on", but rather to make people aware of what's happening and the stakes involved.
  11. Upvote
    SANDIEGO got a reaction from ssk2 in Do I have any realistic chance of getting into grad school?   
    Hi chron,

    I think you actually do have a shot at decent master's programs, but you'll need to frame your life in the right way in your SOP. You should touch base now with potential reference writers to gauge how they feel (if it's a cold reply then you should move on, but if they invite you to come in for meeting, do so). If you haven't been working or going to school for the last few years, you need to mention what you have been doing. Have you been involved in any projects that relate to Computer Science? Have you made websites or done any programming? They want to see that you're passionate and motivated in your SOP, not that you couldn't find a job and that going to their school is your last straw for employment..

    U Waterloo is obviously a good school. U of T, UBC, U of A, McGill, are good schools. You could also look into Queens and U of C. If you put a good application together, you have a small chance at each of these schools, which gives you a decent shot of getting into at least one.

    There are TONS of good CS programs in the states. Many are in California/Massachusetts. For a list of these look at the U.S. News rankings for Computer Science and you probably want to aim for the 20-50 range on that list. You could apply to a few stretch schools ranked higher as well.
  12. Upvote
    SANDIEGO reacted to fdhkjal in How's the first year of your PhD going?   
    Mine has been a fairly negative experience thusfar. I have an order of magnitude less work than I expected I would have (I expected to have at least as much as I did in undergrad), and am generally bored, although courses are generally what I expected. I've started research, but I was thrown on a project that already has more than enough people and I don't have anything of value to do or contribute (nor do older graduate students want me to; I think they see me more as a burden than an asset). I like my advisor a lot, but I don't work with him directly (he meets primarily with the older graduate students on a project, who then delegate tasks to the younger graduate students).

    It also doesn't help that I don't have much to do outside of academics. I left to go to the other side of the country, and left behind hundreds of friends I'd made back in my hometown/undergrad, and haven't really met any people here (I didn't realize how much of a minority I would be as an American in a PhD program).

    I guess in general, grad school isn't at all what I expected it to be.
  13. Upvote
    SANDIEGO reacted to prefers_pencils in need help to make a crucial decision regarding my PHD   
    If you like your advisor, his research and you like your school enough, I would take his offer to stay. If you do not like your master's program and really want to leave that school, it makes sense that you want to apply elsewhere. But if you like it or feel ambivalent and your main motivator is university rank, I would not support giving up a sure thing for a chance.

    Applications are a risk - you might get in, you might not. Even if you do get acceptances, it's not a guarantee that you will like your program or your advisor - as evidenced by a lot of the posts on GradCafe. Not to mention the time, energy and stress you'd invest in the application process. You could probably even shave some time off of your degree by entering into a program with which you're already familiar, versus relocating to another city/state/country and starting from scratch. It's a huge advantage.

    I definitely would not share your plans to enter the program and apply to other places - your advisor might retract the offer because you'd be making it pretty obvious that you don't really want to be there. Unless his offer of admission & funding is on paper, he could take it back without consequence. Either way, he'd probably be insulted and you'd hurt your relationship with him, which might have a greater impact than you could imagine. Academia is a small world.
  14. Upvote
    SANDIEGO reacted to memyselfandcoffee in Failing my first semester in grad school, what to do.   
    I am not sure what should do, but perhaps if you talked to someone in career advice centre they could tell you if too much is being expected of you, and what you can reasonably do about it.

    one thing, though, I don't think part of your teaching job should entail answering tons of emails from students on a daily basis. why not set up a discussion forum on your elearning site, to field questions, which you could tell them will be replied to on a certain day each week. so then you could just spend a couple of hours one day week on that. or else could you set up a 2 hour slot in the week to have office hours?

    good luck1
  15. Upvote
    SANDIEGO got a reaction from crazygirl2012 in Failing my first semester in grad school, what to do.   
    It sounds like you're trying to do too much, and then not doing a good job at any of it. Are you really trying to do two program's worth of work?? You should speak to your adviser(s) and/or graduate counselor and figure out a course of action that makes sense..
  16. Upvote
    SANDIEGO reacted to TakeruK in NSERC 2013 - 2014   
    The NSERC page says: to be eligible...

    you must have completed, as of December 31 of the year of application, between zero and 24 months of studies (full-time equivalent) in the doctoral program for which you are requesting funding

    Assuming that this is currently your first year of PhD, and you are a full-time student, then by December 2013, you will have completed 16 months of studies, so next year is the last year that you will be eligible to apply. However, you will only be eligible for the CGS/PGS D2 (i.e. the 2 year award) because you would have completed more than 12 months of PhD next year. So if you get it, you will be funded for years 3 and 4 of your PhD.

    All the information is here: http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/students-etudiants/pg-cs/bellandpostgrad-belletsuperieures_eng.asp
  17. Upvote
    SANDIEGO reacted to dat_nerd in Sh*t people say when you are applying to grad school   
    Them: "So you're graduating this year? What are you going to do after you graduate?"
    Me: "Well, if all goes according to plan, graduate school."
    Them: "Oh, what do you want to study?"
    Me: "I want to get my PhD in computer science with a focus on artificial intelligence and robotics."
    Them: 0_0
    Them: "...So like Terminator and stuff?"
    Me: Sigh...
  18. Upvote
    SANDIEGO reacted to sgp3213 in PhD admission difficulty: Princeton and Harvard   
    You should not focus on the ranking order of programs in my opinion. The rankings are not formed to represent order of competitiveness, so it is not always true that a school of rank x is easier to get into than a school with a worse rank.

    That being said, if you want to gauge competitiveness I would say that schools with nearby ranks are probably generally similarly competitive. I wouldn't necessarily agree with your school tiers, especially because this depends largely on your particular interests and on who you'd want to work with. But at any rate, there are a handful of schools that have some admissions data that is available from which you could extrapolate rough pictures for other schools.

    On another note, your title mentions Princeton and Harvard which would suggest that you probably care more about the overall brand name of the university than the actual strength of the AI/Computer Science programs at these schools anyway.

    All that being said, here is a good chunk of the schools I've seen admissions data for:
    NOTE: Not all of these are necessarily up to date!

    University of Pennsylvania
    -http://www.cis.upenn.edu/grad/admission-stats.shtml

    Princeton University
    -http://www.princeton.edu/gradschool/about/docs/ratestable/tablea/COS_PhD.pdf
    -http://www.princeton.edu/gradschool/about/docs/ratestable/tablea/COS_MSE.pdf

    UCLA
    -http://www.cs.ucla.edu/academics/graduate-program/graduate-admission-frequently-asked-questions

    Duke
    -http://gradschool.duke.edu/about/statistics/admitcps.htm
    -http://gradschool.duke.edu/about/statistics/masters/admcps.htm

    UNC
    -I don't have the link anymore, but I have written down that the average admission stat was like Q771/V567 with a 3.6GPA which I probably formed by averaging a few years of data. I can't find this information on their website anymore. I assume this was for PhD admissions only.

    Maryland
    -http://www.cs.umd.edu/Grad/catalog.shtml

    Columbia
    -http://www.cs.columbia.edu/education/phd/faqs/applying
    -http://www.cs.columbia.edu/education/ms/appfaq

    Ohio State
    -http://www.cse.ohio-state.edu/grad/prereq.shtml

    Northwestern
    -Another school I can't find a link for. I have written down a 770Q/638V/4.9W and 3.53GPA with an acceptance rate of about 10%.

    Rutgers
    -http://www.cs.rutgers.edu/graduate/ms_program.html#mscadmission

    UC Davis
    -http://www.cs.ucdavis.edu/graduate/recruit/faqs.html

    UT Austin
    -Can't find a link. Here's what I wrote.

    MS GRE: Q776 V613 W4.3
    CS: 840 (92 percentile)
    GPA: 3.74

    PhD GRE: Q790 V619 W4.5
    CS: 830 (90 percentile)
    GPA: 3.79 830 CS

    UC Boulder
    -http://www.colorado.edu/cs/admissions/how-apply

    Harvard
    -http://www.seas.harvard.edu/audiences/prospective-graduates/grad_data
    NOTE: This is for the entire School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

    UMass Amherst
    -https://www.cs.umass.edu/admissions/application-faq
  19. Upvote
    SANDIEGO got a reaction from robotsareourfuture in How much does GPA matter? Can research experience outweigh it?   
    I think research experience is your best bet to make yourself more competitive, which you said you're already doing.

    3.53 really isn't that bad, it certainly doesn't disqualify you from any schools, but it doesn't help at really well ranked ones either. Getting accepted on a PhD track is about a good fit, not really your GPA. Just continue to do your best, try to raise your grades, but realize that it's still very possible to get into great programs (like UT Austin) with what you have + research experience.
  20. Upvote
    SANDIEGO got a reaction from intirb in How much does GPA matter? Can research experience outweigh it?   
    I think research experience is your best bet to make yourself more competitive, which you said you're already doing.

    3.53 really isn't that bad, it certainly doesn't disqualify you from any schools, but it doesn't help at really well ranked ones either. Getting accepted on a PhD track is about a good fit, not really your GPA. Just continue to do your best, try to raise your grades, but realize that it's still very possible to get into great programs (like UT Austin) with what you have + research experience.
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