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I want to apply to a school in US for a PhD in Machine Learning / Data Mining. Please give me some suggestion on a schools I should apply to. My profile follows.

Graduated from mid-ranked university in Germany with major Comp. Science. German system grading and academic ranks is a bit different, but you can say that I have a M. Sc. with a GPA of 3.2

GRE: Quant 780, Verb 580, AW 3.0

TOEFL: don't have a score yet but should be ok.

I did my master thesis at a research center of a large multinational corporation. It was related to Data Mining.

Worked during my studies and a year after graduation as a research assistant at my university, however in Image Processing field.

My paper, where I'm a first author was accepted to this conference http://www.icaart.org/ . Topic is Data Mining.

I realize that my profile is probably not strong enough for Stanford or Berkeley, but here is a list of schools I am thinking about.. tell me what you think.


UT Austin


UMinnesota Twin Cities

UMichigan Ann Arbor

UMass Amherst

Rennselaer Polytechnical

So, I am looking forward to responses :)

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TOEFL Score just came in: 112.

Also I forgot to mention recommendations. One will be my from my supervisor, manager of known research center belonging to university, co-supervisor of my thesis, PhD. One will be from a group leader of corporate research center where I did my thesis, also a co-supervisor, PhD. One from the supervisor of my student project, PhD, currently a PostDoc at CMU.

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One from the supervisor of my student project, PhD, currently a PostDoc at CMU.

I am under the impression that letters from postdocs carry little weight during admissions. You may want to find another recommender.

Edited by waddle
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  • 2 weeks later...

You seem to have a pretty good profile. You research experience looks solid and having a publication is definitely an asset. I would think that you would have a better chance than most at applying to top schools like Berkeley, UT Austin and UPenn due to your research experience. Bear in mind that those schools are super competitive, so while your chances may be better than most, they would still be relatively small. Michigan and UMass are top 20 schools that would still be tough to get into, but you would probably have better chances than at the first 3. I think you should have pretty good chances at Minnesota and RPI. Bear in mind that how well you fit at these schools will have a strong impact on your acceptance chances as well. All the best!

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Thx for responses :)

Firstly, I might be able to get a recommendation from professor, instead of postdoc.

Secondly, I have been communicating with professors from some schools. Got quite positive responses from UMinn and USC and somewhat neutral responses from Michingan and UT Austin. We'll see how it goes further, I will post the news.

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