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Applying for MSCS


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I'm applying to the masters in computer science at the following schools and would like to know what you think my odds are at getting in.

Carnegie Mellon


UC Berkeley

Cornell (MEng)





My credentials are as follows:

Major: Computer Science

Minors: Mathematics, Animation

GPA: 3.68 

GRE: 470 verbal, 770 quantitative, 4.5 analytical writing

Work experience: 2 years part-time application developer, and an internship with Goldman Sachs

I know that my verbal GRE score is low, but I'm not sure if it's worth taking again. Will it have a big enough effect on my application?

I'd appreciate any feedback you have, thanks!

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Those are all tough schools which even for the best of applicants wouldn't present particularly high chances. It would be worth your while to apply to a few schools that aren't as competitive as those are. Are you applying for a terminal MS or a research based MS? If it's a research based MS, the most important thing they consider is your research experience and interests. You don't mention that you have any research experience, so you would have to convince them in your SoP that you have research potential. The GRE isn't very important at a lot of these schools, especially the verbal part. What would concern me about your GRE (remember though that its not particularly important) is your quantitative score. The average quant score for admits at these top schools you mentioned is likely to be somewhere from 780 to 800 (and closer to 800).

My advice would be that without research experience or sparkling recommendation letters that speak to your research potential, the very top schools like CMU, Stanford and Berkeley would very difficult for you to get in (like less than 5%). If I were you I would focus on a couple top 20 schools as 'reach' schools (like UCLA, USC) and then apply to others in the 30 to 50 range that have good programs in your area.

I know this advice must be tough to hear, but I wish someone had told me this last year when I applied to top 10 schools without research experience and came up 0-for. Best of luck!

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Thanks for the feedback!

I have very little research experience, but I don't think that will be necessary since I'm applying to the non-thesis/research degrees and don't plan to go on to do a phd. For example, I know that the MEng at Cornell does not require any research experience. Also at CMU, I'm applying to the Entertainment Technology program which favors those with portfolios (which I have) and doesn't require research experience. My intention on going to grad school is not to do research, but to develop my professional skills, which is why I'm applying for a masters and not a phd.

Also, it was my understanding that the phd applicant's average GREs were as high as you say, but that the masters were lower. For example UPenn (I'll be applying to the CGGT here) has published their stats here http://www.cis.upenn...ion-stats.shtml. I doubt that GRE scores matter much anyway.

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Ok, well then your chances should be better, especially at places that say that they don't require research experience like Cornell. I'm not sure how to access your chances at a terminal program since I'm looking at research based programs myself, but I would still suggest that you look at other programs outside the top 20 that are strong in your area, to give yourself more of an opportunity to gain admission to a good program.

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