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About milara

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    Espresso Shot

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  • Location
    Northwestern University
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    Technology and Social Behavior

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  1. You seem like a pretty strong candidate to me! The one thing I'm noticing that is really missing from all of the posts like yours is that people are not talking at length about their own goals/research interests. Do you want academia or industry upon graduation? What do you want to do with information retrieval and machine learning? Those are huge areas of interest and it could mean many different things. IME, once you have established your competency, what decides your admission is related to how well you match professors on the faculty who are looking for more students. If the professors that suit your interests are full up with no room for more students, then you could be the second coming of Alan Turing and it wouldn't matter.
  2. I think the longer you wait to apply to a competitive program, the more of the stink of your failure in that first MSc will slough off. I think it is possible to overcome the difficulty you've created for yourself, but it won't be easy. I suggest: 0. Finish the current MSc. You need to prove that you can finish what you start. If you withdraw for financial reasons, save up the money and go back in a few years. But do not go back unles you are prepared to kick ass and take names. 1. Try to publish some papers. If you're doing security work, this may be difficult. But a track record of being able to do research means a lot in academic circles. 2. Reference letters could make a huge difference. If you can get really enthusiastic reference letters that describe you as being both intelligent and hard-working based on recent contact, then this will be taken as a sign that you have matured and that the problems that led to your poor performance in that first MSc are behind you. 3. Get personal. Speak with your POI in person by preference, Skype or over the phone if necessary, and by email preferably only to facilitate a more personal contact. Be frank. They're not going to miss that gaping wound in your resume, so there's no point in trying to hide it. Tell them that you've had a chance to mature and you know where your priorities are now. They need to feel that you are committed and that you can stay the course for the duration of a PhD. That means staying in a single job for at least four years before applying again.
  3. Why are you drawing a distinction between research that originated in a class and research that did not? Unless your publications based on the class work were in student-only CfPs, whether it originated in a class or not is irrelevant. You did something that your peers determined was worth publishing. As for safety schools... I suppose I can suggest my school, Northwestern. We have some coursework that might interest you. We have a class in sparse and low-rank recovery problems that I took which was excellent, albeit experimental, since there are no textbooks on the topic. There's a class in probabilistic graphical models which I didn't take, but which I've heard good things about. We're also one of the schools that is getting access to IBM Watson for a projects class... I don't know if that's a one-off thing or if it will be offered again, but it's worth mentioning. When you say your research interest is machine learning, do you mean that you need to learn machine learning, or that you already know machine learning pretty well and want to apply it to research? And, do you want to be developing new methods, or applying it in innovative ways, or both?
  4. What do you want to do with your doctorate once you graduate? How you present that in your SoP may make a big difference. I'd also say that your experience doing research involving computational methods will stand you in good stead. Some schools are very welcoming to non-traditional students (i.e. students without a standard background in CS). Some are not. Your chances with any given school will probably depend strongly on their culture regarding non-traditional students. A few thoughts about UW Madison. 1. Notorious funding problems (I was offered the University fellowship there, and it was still not as good a funding package as other schools offered) 2. If you have standard health issues, they're fine. If you take any expensive medications that are not dispensed by the university pharmacy, then you may run into serious fiscal issues; I had to drop them from consideration for this reason alone. 3. On the other hand, UW Madison has strong ties to the grid computing community (When last I checked, the PI for the Open Science Grid was a professor there), which in turn has strong ties to the physics community. If you hope to continue to apply CS to physics, then this may be a big advantage. Those ties reach to Fermilab, which is not so far away, where the current Council Chair is located. And to be clear, grid computing isn't just used by the LHC, nor just by particle physics. It's used by all branches of science.
  5. milara

    NLP schools

    I think the answer is, "It depends." What are your goals after your masters degree?
  6. Hi again, Nate! I'm glad that they were able to transfer your application. You're right about TSB. It's half CS and half MTS. You could say that RPC overlaps with MTS, MTS overlaps with TSB, and TSB overlaps with CS. I also suspect that MTS is better-funded than RPC. I have no involvement with any of the clusters, unfortunately, and I don't know anything about them. As for hearing from people, last year visit weekend for MTS and TSB was Feb. 14-16. I don't know if they're on the same schedule as last year or not, but if they are I'd guess you'd hear from them in the next 1-2 weeks.
  7. Hi Nate! I'm a doctoral student in one of the three comm programs at Northwestern -- specifically, Technology and Social Behavior. I was an active user of grad cafe when I was applying. When I decided to peek in here and see if any of our applicants were posting on here, I saw your post. I'm sorry to hear that the person you spoke with was unhelpful! It's a little late at this point, but if you have any questions about MTS or TSB, I can probably help. I don't know anything about the RPS program, though. Anyway, good luck to all with your apps. The pain will be over soon. p.s. Nate, I like your non-academic interests.
  8. Aren't there problems with pre-existing conditions in those cases? I mean, in my case I imagine they'll take one look at the list of my medical conditions and medications, and turn me down.
  9. So I've come to the realization that several of the schools from which I've received offers have student health plans that are not good enough to meet my needs. It really sucks to have to choose a school based on something like medical care. Has anyone else run into this situation? What did you do? The other schools have much better health plans, but apparently the insurance company has to approve one of my meds before they'll pay for it. Anyone know anything about that process, and how likely it is to get approved if the doctor recommends it wholeheartedly? I've tried to get answers out of the insurance companies, but they can't tell me until I'm a plan member actually making a claim. Which sucks a lot.
  10. I know some people who applied to school to start in the fall are still reading in Waiting it out, and some of us have migrated over here to Decisions, Decisions. This poll is relevant to both categories, though, so I thought I'd cross-post it. Basically, the idea is to get some sense of how likely people invited to interview are to get an offer.
  11. I've been wondering how closely related interviews are to acceptances. I thought about creating a SurveyMonkey poll, given how limited this system's polls are, but I decided to start with just this basic format and see if people are interested enough to want to approach the question more thoroughly. The other thing I've been thinking would be interesting would be a survey to see if there is any correlation between visiting a school/having significant communication with faculty prior to applying, and being accepted. So, have at. I know the poll isn't perfect, but I figured a quick and dirty attempt is better than nothing.
  12. @commphily: The visit day for Madison is March 23. Are you going to wait to go then, or go next week? Lots of schools are on break next week, which could make it a bad time to visit.
  13. FWIW, I just declined one of my offers from a communication program. Here's hoping that trickles down to an offer for one of you! I am blessed to be faced with the problem of having to choose between five programs. I went shopping while I was freaking out yesterday about making the right choice, and came home with: two tubs of ice cream two packs of raw cookie dough two boxes of dove ice cream bars *wry grin* I guess I'll just have to find people to share my yummies with. Anyone else struggling with making the right choice? Do we want to start a new thread for that, since it might be a little rough on those who haven't heard from anywhere to listen to us angst?
  14. I have to agree with what @cyberwulf said. Canadian universities tend to have strict cut-offs and regulations that they will not budge on. Often the regulations are imposed not just at the university level, but by the governing body that sanctions programs as able to grant doctoral degrees. My suggestion is that you follow up on it, but expect to fail.
  15. But... which rankings is he paying attention to? There are multiple rankings out there with varying methodologies, some of which are more scientific and some of which are less so. Does he realize that reputation and ranking is an unreliable measure?
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