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What do you think are my chances for a masters in CS (AI)? Judgement welcome :)


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(Sorry for another chances thread, if anything I'm just curious what people think...)

Hey everyone, I'm applying for a masters in CS and would love to know what people think are my chances at some of these places/come from any similar backgrounds.

Residency: Cal

Purpose/Reason for applying/Writing:

I've been working as an ML engineer for a few years after graduation, but I really want to go back to get a masters in AI. I am aiming to focus on adversarial AI/robustness/correctness and secondarily programming by example/NLP. For professional (i really think formal learning in secure AI is critical for me to implement this stuff in industry) and personal (its been a dream of mine to get a masters) reasons.

SOP/Personal Statements are strong cause i've been working on them for several months and gotten them edited many times. They'd be stronger if i had more experience, but i think i've done the best with what i have.

Education (2013-2017):
UC Berkeley
BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS)
GPA: 3.525
Major GPA: 3.4

Last 2 years GPA: 3.7

Bunch of Fs/Ds on my transcript (like 4 i think). I retook everything I got an F or D in, and those gpas^ are with those taken into account, so if you use an averaging method or something my gpa is probably much worse. I'm basically just convincing myself it doesnt matter, lol, even though I know it does. Went through hell sophomore year and talked about it in my personal statements where possible. Last two years i at least managed to get As/Bs for most classes, although actually my biggest worry is that I got a C+ in Machine Learning, and that's what i'm trying to specialize in?

GRE : 169 quant 167 verbal 5.5 writing (even though most places aren't accepting it anyways)

Research: Here's where it gets a tiny bit better. Name on conference paper in the digital humanities (NLP + data viz to help answer questions about a religious text)  freshman year. Wasn't really a great contribution or anything but at least its there.
Then, two preprints in the field i'm interested in (adversarial ML), coauthored with some PhDs in a seminar i took. Both rejected from ICLR/NIPS  (were close :/), and honestly we didn't push them forward after that but are on arxiv and cited by other folks at least. I'm playing those up a bunch and hoping they get read lol.

-3 years of experience at a startup. Started as a software engineer, ended up as "senior machine learning engineer", only one in company, have lots of experience building software features there. Gave a talk at 2 conferences as well
-1 year of experience as a 'machine learning engineer' at a FAANG company

- Github is like meh, few NLP projects I put up there but nothing of note ?

- Volunteer crisis counselor + on board of a (religious) nonprofit

Letters of Recommendation
- Undergraduate compilers professor, I did really well in his class and was a course reader the semester after. Think he likes me enough tho probably still gonna be somewhat vague cause i haven't talked to him in a while
- Professor who worked with me at the startup, he's a gem of a person and we've talked a bunch. I think his letter will be positive.  He's super well known, not in the ML field, but still.
- My manager, who managed me for 3 years at startup + current company. His letter will be extraordinary, we're close friends and he knows me very well.



Berkeley (M eng, not MS)


U of I

Northwestern (MS CS for now, professional MS AI later if i dont get in other places)

Georgia Tech

UMass Amherst

U Maryland

U of W Professional masters program

SUNY Stony Brook


ETH Zurich (why not, i know some german, and can pretend i'll be able to afford it)

thanks :)

Edited by filmic
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