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  1. Congratulations, it's good to know that your story had a good end! Good luck now with your studies!
  2. To begin with, I don't disagree with the other guys. In fact I think that applying to schools that you don't like might turn bad in the end. That's why I said you have to apply to safe schools that you also like. I don't know which country you come from (I understood that you are an international too, am I right?), but one thing you should consider is the extra amount of both time and money you have to spend. Translating documents, validating them, paying expensive shipping fees etc. It is not a procedure you can ignore and since you decided it to pursue a PhD you'd better do it right. I am not sure why you got stuck so much in the reputation. Let's say that you found an amazing professor in a top-40 school, that has a very active lab, with many intriguing projects etc etc. Will you turn this school just because it is not MIT? You are applying for a PhD, YOU will be the one that will work, write papers, make you a distinctive and great science. If you publish in the biggest conferences, journals... and you work along with the greatest minds in your field, do you believe that your potential employers will only see that you haven't graduated from the top-20 schools? And who makes these lists anyway? Study each university's website carefully, look for their labs, the faculty members, see their projects, their activity, the papers that they publish, their grants. It is not an easy decision, but in the end you will be the one to make it. P.S. About the GRE subj, I didn't take it and I come from a really unknown university. I found that everything in this procedure is frustratingly relative.
  3. Imo you should not apply only to the top30. It is important to have safety schools. If you apply to 15 schools, choose the 5 best, the 5 that you think that are pretty good and have a chance and 5 that you would like to go but are not so prestigious. I applied to 20! last year but I had already discussed with my recommenders this number. In the end it made them a little bit tired, but noone refused to continue, and in most cases you will fill online the majority of their information. So, I don't think that you should be concerned about how arrogant you might look, but if you really have a shot in all these schools. There is great competition, more and more applicants every year, less positions due to the crisis. Don't spend 1500$ just like that. Maximize your chances... and good luck!
  4. It seems that you tend to think SB is a better match for you. If this is the case go on, don't hesitate. You will be the one to spend 2 years there, you have to make the decision that feels right. That's how I decided and I think by this way you won't regret it in the end
  5. Hi and congratulations! I happened to visit both universities when I was admitted this year for PhD in computer science. I chose to go to Brown and I will try to explain why. This does not mean that it can be applied directly to your case, it is merely an attempt to help. LOCATION - HOUSING Brown - Lovely campus, very picturesque. Dorms are not that good but they are in the campus and I heard that the rent is about 800 USD. You can also find housing on your own and by sharing a house you can reduce it to 500 dollars or even less. Providence is a really cute town, you can walk almost everywhere, take a bike, bus etc. It also is 50 min from Boston with railway commute and 3 hours from NY in case you get bored. Stony Brook - Huge campus in a forest, you will absolutely need a car or shuttle to commute everywhere including classes, super markets etc. There are impressive (even though CS classes are held in an old building) and futuristic buildings like CEWIT. Housing is cheaper, but it is not near the class building (again bus every morning) and there are not so many options if you want to live outside of the campus. There is pretty much nothing else in the area, apart from a cute harbor 20 minutes from there. NYC is 2 hours with Amtrak and if you feel that you are very outgoing you will probably hate it. REPUTATION I think that you know that Brown is better, but I don't think that this should be the only factor in your decision. Stony Brook is really good too. UNIVERSITY You have to think of your character. Do you like to outstand or not? Master students in SB are not that unique. Actually since the open days where both for master students and phd I learned that getting a RA in SB as a MS student is very very difficult. A professor said that they don't have that much funding to spend on someone that will be able to work for a year. At Brown on the other hand I met almost every Master student and they blend really well with the PhD students. I don't about the RAs, but they are given TAs. MONEY Your case is the opposite of mine. When I considered the stipends that I will get I thought that Brown has a much higher one. But you have to think that SB is a state university and especially NY state has many difficulties in funding. In your case it will be easier to survive in SB, it is much cheaper. PROFESSORS Brown has an excellent Theory group. Actually it is its best part. Professor Skiena on the other hand is a really terrific person and very very good in what he does. This is a tough one. You have to consider how many professors there are, what funds do they take, how many MS students they have in their webpages and what is the proportion, what is their reputation etc I will be a member of the Computational Biology group and it is true, it has a lot of money. Most of the CS professors are from the theory too. On the other hand, SB is about to establish a new institute in Bioinformatics which will include CS, Biology, Chemistry and some other departments and it will probably be well funded too. All these, in case that you like to see something more applied. Professor Skiena will be a part of it too GENERAL IMPRESSION I will be honest. I enjoyed myself much more when I was at Brown. Maybe this is why my decision was so easy between these two. One thing that annoyed me when I was at SB is that things were really random. They lack organisation and Brown is absolutely better in promoting itself. One more thing (in jeopardy of being characterized as racist) is that SB has a really big Chinese community. If you are from China that is really good. But if you are from another country you might feel a little bit lost when you see whole labs with only one race. To sum up Brown - better campus, great location, better reputation, more expensive, more funded, less master students Stony Brook - not that good location, good reputation, much cheaper, a lot of students I think that I am biased I wish that I could tell you what to do, but it is your call. Good luck and tell us what you chose
  6. 2100$. A lot of applications, express mails, transcripts to be translated. I hope that I will be able to return this money to my parents soon.
  7. Another one heading for Brown. PhD at CS, yeah!
  8. alexpap

    Providence, RI

    Heading to Providence this Fall for PhD at Brown! I already visited the campus and I really liked it. I am an international student for a much bigger city, but I found Providence charming and unique. My only concern is the freezing cold of New England...
  9. Hello, I have just obtained my Bachelor in Computer Science and I want to continue for a PhD in the field of Computational Biology. As most computer scientists don't know anything about this field I was wondering if you could give me your opinion on this case. I was accepted by UC Irvine and Brown University, both by the CS department (full funded) for a PhD with spezialization in Bioinformatics. Although their work quite differs I hoped that you can help me, especially if you know anything about the faculty members UCI http://www.igb.uci.edu/ Brown http://www.brown.edu/Research/CCMB/ I don't have any experience in this field, so I cannot decide based on my interests. I am just interested in the environment, mentors and activity of the groups, not so much for the reputation of the university, which in my case is definetely Brown. Thank you very much
  10. Do we know if they are done with the admittances (PhD)? Darn it, they don't reply on my messages
  11. I might sound shallow but keep also in mind the places that these two universities are located. I don't know much about Austin, but seriously I have heard the worst things about Cornell's environment (just think of the rate of students homicides there!). You won't be just a student, you will also live there for quite a time. Anwz, I hope that you choose the best
  12. Show maturity, that you have considered thoroughly before applying that this field is what you like, that you are passionate about research and that you can be reliable when it comes to projects and deadlines. Good luck! You should not only think of how to impress him, it is also an interview for him by you. Keep in mind that you will probably have to work with him for a year (at least). Try to understand if you like him, if you find him nice enough etc. Oh! And don't forget to ask questions. Insist on learning things about his lab/area, you have to show that you are particularly interested in his work. And don't hesitate if you don't know something that he asks you. You can always work hard on your own and lean it.
  13. Today I attended a lecture given by Professor I.Kakadiaris at Houston University http://cbl.uh.edu/ . He said that he was open till June to contact with prospective students (either Master or PhD) assuming that you have convinced him that you worth the chance. I don't know the area that you are interested in, but his general moto was "do what you want, escape from the narrow walls and think out of the box. There are times that you can do what you want without following the standard path. Just my 5 cents. Good luck with whatever you will do!
  14. It's 2011, for God's shake, do they still use snail mail?! Especially for the rejections, do they want to have us wait or to keep the rejection as a souvenir?
  15. I'm really sorry, good luck with the rest of them, don't give up!
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