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About an11

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  • Application Season
    2013 Fall
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  1. Can't agree with you more!! I had pretty much the same experience! Well, to be entirely honest, I wasn't feeling all that confident about the strength of my application profile to begin with. Being an international applicant, my chances seemed really tough and I decided to include a lot of mediocre/safe schools. And, I got rejected from most of them...only to land an acceptance from one of the best schools I applied to! Which, as you so rightly pointed out, is now making me nervous about my potential. Lol, guess I'm suffering from a bit of the ''impostor syndrome'', along with some good old fashioned ''newbie nerves'' .
  2. Agree with both of you again! I also feel I will be outclassed by my peers. I am an international student, and even though I joined arguably the best undergraduate program in my country, it still felt like a breeze and I was never really required to push myself. And now, I'll be joining one of the top graduate programs in the US and I'm afraid about how efficiently I will be able to handle the stress. I fear I will get swamped with too much work and won't be able to make any time for leisure or social activities, which I fear would lead to a burnout. I know graduate school is all about time management and I'm simply worried whether I will get to properly do that... Then, there's the entire process of getting adjusted with life in a country that I have never been to. But I think I wouldn't have any problems with that and I have always wanted to move! It was also one of my biggest motivations to pursue graduate studies in the first place. Having been getting the same feelings as Mississippi snow as well, to some extent. I pretty much knew that I would be having an unproductive time at home, before going off to the US, so it wasn't much of a surprise for me...nonetheless it does add in to the anxieties. Actually, it was one of the reasons that I decided to join the summer research program, instead of sticking to the fall joining date! Did not see any point in just sitting and waiting at home for a couple of months more.
  3. You pretty much spoke my mind there, Mary Queen of Scotch! I have been feeling quite apprehensive and nervous about starting grad school this fall...and now I am going to be joining the summer sessions research program, from the first week of July. So I'm setting off for this totally new place and this entirely new chapter of my life, in about a week...and yeah, it's giving me quite a bunch of mixed feelings !
  4. You can pretty much submit your online application on any date, from the commencement of the online application till the deadline to turn it in. So if the application is open online, I don't really think it matters when you turn it in, as long as you can do it within the deadline. So if the application is open before August 1st, you can go ahead and complete it early.
  5. an11

    Contacting Faculty

    Yes, it is a good idea to contact professors at the schools you are interested in, before sending in your applications. If you are totally unsure about the exact field of research that you would like to pursue, then I would suggest that you go through the recent publications of the professors you are interested in and try and segregate them, on the basis of whoever's research you find more fascinating. This way, you can avoid sending in bulk mails to a large number of different faculty members in your department (which would, in all likelihood be ignored) and rather contact only the ones you are interested in, with specific queries pertaining to research being carried out in their group. They will definitely help you out, if you can personalize your mails and show genuine interest in their research. Keep your mails crisp and succinct and try and give a small background about yourself as well (you don't really need to send in your complete CV). You should start contacting faculty members, some time around August and September, about a month before the graduate applications start. Good luck !
  6. Hi...I put the address of the contact person mentioned on my I-20, which was basically the address of the university itself. I've already received my visa, so I guess that's pretty much the norm.
  7. Yeah, you should definitely remain in touch with the graduate office at the university and/or the international office, if you haven't received your I-20 yet! Sometimes, it does take a while for the I-20 to come along...it took more than 4 months for a friend of mine to receive his I-20 (he accepted his offer from Virginia Tech, in January and received his I-20 at the end of May!). The visa process in it's entirety, can take upward of a month to complete...so you should definitely try and get it done on time. Also, just get in touch with other international students who are joining the same program as yours, if you can and find out whether they are facing the same issue! I was pretty fortunate myself and got my I-20 within a couple of weeks of accepting my offer at UCLA! I've even got my visa and would be going there for the summer sessions, starting this July!
  8. Well, I don't really think there is really a huge difference between the two. An essay is supposed to primarily highlight your career objectives and your research/work experience (or any other points that the original essay asks to elaborate)...whereas, a personal statement, as the name suggests is supposed to be more personalized. So, basically you can take the liberty of going into personal details and experiences, that have shaped your career or your objectives, and helped you come closer to your goals, that you would have otherwise left out on a general essay. Having said that though, I don't really think there would be a stark difference between the two...and after completion, a generalised personal statement wouldn't look too different from a generalised essay. Of course, that depends a lot on what is required from you to begin with...just stick to the points that they have asked you to elaborate on.
  9. It is unlikely to be too significant, since you aren't applying to a program involving hardcore mathematics or statistics. Besides, you can try and explain it on your SoP and give a valid reason if possible, for getting an F in your freshman year. Good luck !
  10. Yes I have been to all three . You made a wise choice by allotting an entire week for Paris, because trust me, not even a lifetime is sufficient for taking in everything this city has to offer! But a week is long enough to have all the experiences that make Paris, such a popular destination for tourists all over the world. The way you should chalk out your itinerary, depends entirely on your interests. Paris has something for everybody! The history and art enthusiasts would remain inordinately busy with the Louvre, the Versailles and the innumerable other museums, palaces, art galleries and historic sites strewn about all across the city. For people who are more interested in having fun, there's Disneyland nearby and there's Montmartre, if you want a taste of that world-famous nightlife. Besides, the city itself has that romantic and elegant charm of its own, which never fails to beguile anybody who sets foot in it! You can also go for a couple of trips into the countryside and visit Givery or Fontainebleau. There's only one thing that you need to be wary of...the Parisians themselves are notorious for being cold, unfriendly, snobbish and unhelpful towards tourists and this is partially true, from personal experience. You would have a relatively easier time in the city, if you have a decent working knowledge of French. A couple of days is okay for touring London, though you would miss out on a few things. Once again, you should select the places you want to visit, based on your interest. I visited London with similar time constrictions as well, and being the history buff that I am, I made it a point to squeeze in a half-day trip to the Stonehenge, within my schedule. Edinburgh is a pretty unique city...far different from any of the others that I have been to (and I have been to quite a few all over Europe)! You would either love it or hate it, and I loved it . Try exploring the different alleys, kirks and old courtyards, around the old town in the evening right after sunset, it truly is an indescribable, fascinating and unworldly experience! Take a day trip of the Scottish highlands as well, if you can. Hope you have a really nice time and enjoy your trip ! And, wishing you get accepted into the program at the University of Edinburgh as well!
  11. You're welcome ! I sure do hope everything works out for you! On a side-note and just out of curiosity, where all do you plan on travelling during your trip?
  12. I personally think you should proceed with your plans of meeting up with this faculty member, when you visit the University of Edinburgh during your trip. Clearly the decision to meet with him/her, has absolutely no connection with yours getting accepted into the program...and as you mentioned, you would like to meet him/her, to just discuss his/her research and express your personal gratitude for all the help he/she provided, irrespective of whether you get accepted or not. So I think it wouldn't be all that awkward or untoward, if you stick to your plans and send in your request to him/her, whenever you want. Of course, it would be wise to clarify your thoughts to him/her as well and inform him/her of the fact, that you would just like to meet up because of your fascination with his/her research, if not anything else. But I am sure you would be able to figure out how exactly you want to put forward your request. In the meanwhile, I think it would be best for you to just relax if you can ! Try and enjoy your trip...Europe is an absolutely amazing place, and don't let your anxiety keep you from having a good time there!
  13. You pretty much need to have an impressive profile! Harvard is possibly THE BEST university in the world and it only stands to reason, that they would select the best amongst the very best applicants, into their graduate program. So you should have a pretty high GPA, extensive research experience with a number of publications (possibly in top-tier journals), good LoR's and decent GRE scores. Good luck!
  14. Your research experience would basically constitute, any form of research work that you have undertaken in a lab, either as a part of your undergraduate curriculum (e.g, bachelor's or master's thesis projects) or independent of your curriculum (e.g, the short-term projects you did during your internships). So, if you have worked on a research project, irrespective of its nature, you can include that in your CV and SoP as part of your research experience! Lol when was the last time that somebody embarked on ground breaking new discoveries or bagged a nobel prize, while still being undergrads ? Besides, usually the research projects assigned to undergraduate students, form a part of a bigger project which is being handled by a graduate student in that particular research group. Getting a publication, is indeed really beneficial though, and if you have one, it will definitely increase the credibility of your application! Good luck !
  15. Usually, north american universities tend to stress a lot of importance on research and work experience for international students, more than any other credentials! Your GPA and GRE scores generally serve as filters, so basically having a bad GPA/GRE score, would ensure that your application would not receive due consideration...however, conversely a good GPA/GRE score, doesn't necessarily guarantee an acceptance, but it sure does boost your chances! But extensive research experience, can easily trump other short-comings in your application profile and with my limited knowledge concerning your field, I believe your CV looks strong on the basis of the experiences that you have. It is really easy to get accepted into a non-funded master's program in north american universities...but it's a lot more difficult to get a funded offer, more difficult even than getting an offer for a PhD! But it also depends on the universities you would be applying to...and the most important aspect of applying for grad studies, is to make smart choices for the universities that you would apply to; balancing safe and ambitious schools in the right ratio. And, the general GRE scores are needed in all universities in the US and Canada. The subject GRE, however, is not as important and you need to check whether the specific universities you are applying to, require it. Any score above 320, is quite good enough on the general GRE. Good luck and wish you all the best! Don't be anxious, things tend to work out just fine in the end !
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