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Chances of getting into Stanford MSCS with 3.2 GPA (two poor semesters) & Google Brain publications


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Keeping things vague to not dox myself. Primarily aiming for Stanford, but will only apply to similar programs (Berkeley, etc.) as I really do not need a MSCS to progress my career in the industry and I am interested in potentially doing a PhD at a top tier school.

GPA: 3.2 from a good state school due to two very poor semesters (D's in sophomore year, will touch on it briefly in SOP), otherwise straight A's, 3.7-3.9 other semesters of study. Also finished Stanford SCPD for AI over a year ago and I have straight A's as well. Two of the courses I took were CS221 and CS229.

GRE: I have not taken this yet due to not needing it for Stanford but I assume I should do so to supplement my poor undergrad cGPA? I am confident I can do well in it if I study for this, but I am not sure if it would mean anything to Stanford.

In-school exp: Internship experience at Apple/Meta/Google/Microsoft, 8x CS TA in school (I have helped with more than once course at a time while in school), lots of leadership extracurriculars. No undergraduate research.

Current exp: SWE at Google Brain for 2 years working on contributing to some publications before applying to Stanford, planning to apply with one or two publications from Brain. I believe I am in a sweet spot right now because I could theoretically amass infinite research experience where I am, but I do not think that would be necessary to get into a MSCS program...

Letters of rec: 2 academic letters and 1 industry letter

I am hoping to do the MSCS with research - is it possible to meet faculty supervisors before applying to express my interest? Is there anything critical that I am missing in my profile/something that I can do to noticeably strengthen my profile? Also, is the MSCS with research more competitive than the regular MSCS at Stanford?

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