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Found 6 results

  1. Hi all, I officially committed to UBC today for my PhD in Geography. As I'm an international student from the United States and won't have any close family or friends in the Vancouver area, it would be great to start building a network of ALL UBC Masters and PhD students. Comment here to connect and share what you'll be doing at UBC. This would also be a great place to share housing, neighborhood, activities and such. A bit about me: Married, have a dog, enjoy hiking and the outdoors, looking forward to Vancouver coffee culture. Cheers, C
  2. Hi! I have accepted an offer from UBCO for fall of 2018. I would love to connect with some other inbound students. I did not see a topic for the Okanagan campus, so I thought I would start one up! I will be new to the area, so it would be wonderful to know some great people when I get there. Please feel free to contact me here or via PM. I would be thrilled to chat with currently attending students as well. Thank you!
  3. I would like to provide some information regarding the reality of getting admitted to top 5 ranked Canadian graduate schools in the Computer Science Program. I work in the field and it appears to me that many applicants are not aware of some of the basic requirements to be admitted that are not overtly stated but definitely required. Unfortunately, I am unable to reveal my university or position as I wish to remain anonymous. Most of the time, you MUST have previous degree from a top school of your country, especially for students with a degree outside of Canada/USA/UK. This is extremely crucial for international students and unless you meet this requirement, it is extremely difficult to be admitted. For most countries, you will need to be in the top 5-10 universities in your country (excluding Canada/US/UK/India). For India, UK, and Canada you will generally need to be in the top 20 universities and for the US, top 50 may be considered, however, top 20 has a greater chance of being admitted. One of the first considerations of the reviewer is the school in which you graduated and how that school ranks in your country. To elaborate, having a degree from a top university is important because this is the only sure way to prove that you are performing well academically because the teaching standard and research caliber of top schools are widely recognized and can easily be compared top Canadian universities. It is impossible for each top Canadian university to understand the teaching, grading and research standard of hundreds of thousands of universities in the world, including many in a foreign language with public and private systems and most reviewers will not dig around for information regarding unknown institutions. For example, there are some universities that give a grade of 75% or above to only one in a few thousand students, whereas another university can have a graduating average of 3.7 GPA. With variations like these, unless you graduated from a top university in your country where the general grading trend and teaching quality is recognized by the Canadian school, your chances of admission are slim to none. Furthermore, the other reason a top university is important is that reviewers want to see reference letters from colleagues or faculty they know and value the opinions of. Since most top researchers in Computer Science meet in major conferences, presentations and events around the world, they are aware of each other’s work, reputation and standards when writing and reading reference letters. Most of these outstanding members of the academic community are also positioned in top schools coinciding with the reviewer’s search applications from top schools. The top Canadian graduate programs in Computer Science receive over 1000 and sometimes even over 2000 applications per year, with three reference letters per application this is an astronomical number of letters to read. Taking this number into account, while the content of reference letters matter, the respectability of the reference writer is arguably even more important. For example, a reviewer reading 100 applications a day would have to read 300 reference letters, 100 of them may indicate that the student is in the top 10% of their program. In the end, being top 10% may not mean anything because there are too many top 10%s and it does not indicate the quality of the student or education. Moreover, there have been examples where the same reference writer indicated that three different students from the same year and class were the number one student in their class. In cases like these, reviewers go back to looking at the top universities, since the caliber of education is known, and they may know the reference writers, therefore, ensuring the letter is reliable. If you believe that there are many exceptions to the rule, consider that the admission data from the previous year from one of the top Canadians schools: only TWO offers out of more than 100 offers made were outside of the guidelines above. Of course, an excellent statement, GPA, reference letters, GRE, and English proficiency are also required even from a top university. Moreover, other factors such as publications, conference experience, research projects and work experience, other achievements are also considered, however, if you do not meet the top university requirement, you will likely need astounding achievements in the other factors to even be considered for admission. The information provided refers to research Master’s and PhD programs in top Canadian universities and does not necessarily reflect industry targeted master’s programs in Computer Science. I am happy to answer any questions or clarify any points, feel free to contact me or respond to this post.
  4. I love doing research, no doubt about that. I have 4 publications in international journals by the time I finished my Bachelors of which two were first-author. However, I realize the cost of a PhD - in terms of the time - that I cannot afford. Instead I have chosen Masters for probably having my last official research experience (though I am sure I would continue that independently later). So, I want to do research in Masters, but settle in the industry later as opposed to going for a PhD. With these possibly conflicting issues, I had applied to MSc at UBC and MSc AC at UofT. What do you suggest? If the UofT brand largely shadows UBC later for jobs, I would rather go there. Also, if the MSc AC included research component that is more of fundamental than applied, I would be okay. Since I would be going for a job for sure later anyhow (but applying to have my last dedicated research experience - to which I am fully committed), let me know what you would do if you were me? Thanks.
  5. Hi all, I would like some assistance in deciding on whether to attend the University of British Columbia or the University of Alberta's political science PhD program. UBC has offered me 5 years of funding and a tuition waiver for all five years. On paper it looks smaller than what UofA has offered, but I got an entrance scholarship, RA position and there's the possibility of extra funding through more TA positions. UofA has offered a larger initial funding package, but I have to pay tuition out of it, they offered funding for only four years, and I cannot pick up extra TA positions to supplement my income because they are already included in the initial funding package. I know that Edmonton is cheaper to live in than Vancouver, so a bit of a smaller funding package may not be the worst thing. They also say that UofA gets a lot of outside funding for the PhD students. So based on this, program prestige, and the cities themselves anybody got any suggestions?
  6. I. Did. It~ I am officially done with the application period for 2012! Summary: I initially set off with the idea of applying to about 5-6 schools, but once I realized that application fees were around $100 each, I backed off fast. And then when I found TheGradCafe things just got worse. I saw the pure competitive nature of getting into on of the top 10 MPA schools and just gave up. I had a strong GPA and undergraduate background, but no policy work experience. So with that thinking, I settled onto two schools. Seton Hall University: SHU has a reputation of being one of the better schools in New Jersey, and after I did some research I became really interested in their Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations. Its local, so I could live at home (and thus save money on rent) and apparently its ranked pretty high up there. It is in a great location (close to NYC and DC) and the school itself is beautiful (though really small in my opinion). I applied for - and was accepted into - both the Masters in Asian Studies program and the Masters in Diplomacy and International Relations program. It was my first grad-school acceptance and I was thrilled! If I do both degrees, I cannot qualify for any scholarships, but I can get TA-ships. The TA-ships pay up to 12 credits worth of tuition, which is good. Each degree itself is about 39 credits, but if I got both degrees I could complete it after 60 credits. Each credit for Seton Hall's grad program is 1000 dollars. So ultimately, it would be a 3 year, 60K program. If I somehow managed to get a TA-ship for every semester it would be completely free (as I would live at home) but that seems unlikely. University of British Columbia: When I told my professors that I was considering going to grad school for Asian Studies or Political Science, one of them mentioned UBC. He said it was a great school with a fantastic reputation - and I checked it out. It looks beautiful, and apparently its one of the top research universities in the world! And its in a major city (which I love!). When I mentioned it to two other professors I trust, both told me that its a great school that they love and that both have worked there in the past! One professor did a guest professorship there for a year, and the other did something there ( I can't remember if he taught or did research, whoops). With such great recommendations, how could I not apply to the program. I applied for their Masters in Asian Pacific Policy Studies. Essentially it combines Political Science/Policy Studies with Asian Studies. So while it is not a MPA, its pretty damn close. And I love its focus on Asia. It is ALL about North America-Asian relations. For Canadian students it costs (no lie) around $4400 A YEAR. For international students (meaning my American ass) its about $7500 a year. But they give out a scholarship to every international student worth about $3000 to help cover the difference. I think that is extremely generous of them. There are opportunities for other scholarships but they don't tell us much about them. In a perfect world I would get enough money to pay for all my tuition, but even if I'm stuck paying the hole $5000 I'm okay with it. The program is designed to be finished in 1-year, and about 1/3 of students finish in that time. Another 3rd take an half a year. I think if you are dong a practicum (internship/work experience) or a complex thesis or field work its hard to finish in 1 year. If you're doing a Thesis its probably easier because you just cram it in (and die) with all your other course work. As of right now, I am going to do a practicum because I think its the smart thing for me to do. For one, my degree will be Canadian. I don't think this matters really, especially because UBC is such a great school overall, but I feel like there's going to be at least one loser out there who's going to look down on my resume and reject me because of where my degree is coming from. Second, I don't have any policy work experience. All my work with policy and asian studies has been academic. I've only been out of school for 2 months (undergrad), and when I was living in Tokyo I couldn't afford to do an internship AND work my English teaching job. So a practicum gives me a good working experience background ( I think so anyway ). This gives me the ability to back up my degree with work experience when it comes to snagging a job. Third and finally, I do not want a PhD anytime soon, and that's what a Thesis helps build up to. One of the issues/strengths with MAAPPS at UBC is that you have to pick a 'stream' to help guide you. They are "Economy and Social Change", "Gender and Development", "Security", "Governance and Human Rights", and "Media". In a perfect world, I would erase "economy" and just do "social change". That's what I love studying - social changes and pop culture. I'm HUGE into Japanese modern society like Yakuza, Enjo Kosai, sex drugs and rock n' roll. You know, the cool stuff But I also love security and human rights. Its going to be a tough choice. I think on my resume I hinted I wanted to do gender, but I'm not sure if I want to spend another year studying feminism. Ultimately If I haven't made myself clear, I am so excited about getting into UBC. It was my top choice of the two, and I love that it is in a big city in a foreign country (I did spend the last 2 years of undergrad in Tokyo, after all). Even though I only found out 2 days ago, I am already day dreaming about living in Vancouver. I haven't formally accepted yet, but I can't think of any reason why I would turn it down. Even if I get no money what-so-ever, the Graduate Student Stafford loan would cover everything (tuition + housing), so I know I can afford it. I'm trying to find a job now (will not be telling them I'm leaving in six months haha) so I can start saving future-rent money. I had an amazing interview somewhere, and they said they'd get back to me in 2 weeks. Its been 12 days. ANYWAY: I'm just really excited that I got into UBC. I was told that they only accept 20 students a year and get about 80-100 applicants, so I'm feeling pretty strong. But I'm also worried. Worried beause I have a lot of... bonuses on my resume that might make me look better that I actually am. 1 ) The program prefers people with Asian studies experience and language ability, and I lived in Tokyo for two years. On an application, that gives me a big bonus, and they probably assume I'm much better at Japanese then I actually am (I'm horrible). 2 ) I wrote a thesis on feminism and female agency in Japan and the United States for my last semester as an undergrad, and I wrote about it in my personal statement. One of their 'themes' is "Gender and Development" so any gender professor who read my stuff would have liked me, but I do not plan on doing Gender as my theme. 3 ) I met the Graduate Director for the program at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. Not only was I the only American in the room, but I was the only one who spoke fluent English so he and I had a nice conversation. I'm sure this didn't hurt my chances. 4 ) One of the Professors who wrote my letter of rec worked at UBC as a visiting scholar for over a year. Part of me is a little worried I am not cut out for graduate work and they think I'm a better student then I actually am: but the worst that can happen is I fail (oh god!). I have faith in my abilities, but I'm not sure if I have faith in their faith of my abilities. Thank You for reading my blog entries. I only wrote a few, but they were always helpful for me in getting my thoughts out. Its really been a great experience. And if you take any advice from any of my entries, it should be this: Take everything said on this forum with a grain of salt. Just because someone appears to be Buddah himself or the perfect candidate doesn't mean they're getting in and you're getting rejected. Just because people are touting GRE's like their the end-all of all application killers doesn't mean they always matter or you need to study for 4 years. Just breath. Just relax. And apply. If anyone has any questions, or has been Waitlisted at Seton Hall, please let me know. I haven't rejected Seton Hall yet just in case something bad happens, but if you're wait listed PM me and we'll see if I can back out for you. Thanks Again
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