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What are my chances for Masters programs at these top US schools?


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My profile:

Grades and scores: Undergrad double major in CS and Statistics at the University of Waterloo, graduating in 2022 and started in 2017. Finished every course taken so far with >= 90 (which translates to a 4.0 GPA), except for my introductory Probability course (I got 88). Have not taken the GRE yet but I expect to get "good enough" scores, maybe like 168Q, 165V, 5. The reason my undergrad took 5 years is because I did five internships and I picked up my second Stats major quite late.

Research: I did one part time undergrad research this past term. Since it was part time while I took a full course load, I did not accomplish much and basically just wrote some research programs and tried to extrapolate results from them. In any case, I think my relationship with the prof I worked with is quite good and he can write me a good recommendation letter. Next year, I hope to do one more part time undergrad research and get another letter out of that. My third letter will just be from a prof whose course I did well in, I guess (weak letter).

Internships: Will have completed five software engineering internships by next fall, including two at a good quant finance firm (one of Jane Street, Citadel, Two Sigma) and one at a post-IPO unicorn (one of Snowflake, Airbnb, Lyft). I've heard work experience can be somewhat useful for Masters programs?


I am aiming for mostly course-based Masters programs at top schools only. The reason is because I am not interested in a PhD or any long term career in research. My goal with a Masters is just to learn more by taking more courses, maybe dabble a bit in research by doing a thesis, network and meet people, get better internships. Overall, to boost my career as a software engineer rather than as a researcher.

My current list is: Harvard CSE, Stanford MSCS, CMU (not sure exactly which one), Princeton MSE.

I think I have little chance at getting any of these (except maybe Harvard CSE?), but to me, if I cannot get into a top school I may as well just work full time, which is why I am not going to apply to any backups. Moreover, the prof who I did undergrad research with already said he wanted to work with me if I did a Masters, so I guess the University of Waterloo is my backup if I really do want to do a Masters.

My questions:

1. What are my chances at the schools I listed?

2. What are some other top schools I can apply to? I've only just begun researching grad school opportunities last week so I'm pretty clueless still. My understanding is that MIT does not have a Masters-only program and Berkeley Masters is very research-oriented and difficult to get into for someone with my profile.  

3. Are my internships worth anything for course-based admissions?

4. My grades are good, and basically cannot be any better, but will the fact that my undergrad was 5 years look bad? I can explain in my SOP why it took so long. Hopefully "doing internships" is a good excuse.


Thanks in advance for any help. Re-reading my own post, I know it seems a little arrogant to only apply to top schools with a profile as not-outstanding as mine, but again, I am not interested in a Masters unless it is at a great school.



Edited by poopinmybed99
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I'm intimidated by the posts I see on reddit.com/r/gradadmissions by people with several published papers + (presumably) great letters still getting rejected from these schools. I'm concerned about my weak research experience and reference letters. I did not end up doing another research term so I just have the one letter from my previous research, a prof whose course I did well in (weak), and I don't know what to do with my third letter. I might ask my manager at my internship but some programs like Princeton require 3 academic letters.


Edited by poopinmybed99
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