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Chances to get into top universities like MIT, Stanford etc?

Aisha Urooj

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Hi All,


My profile is as follows:

  • Secondary Education with 84%
  • Higher Secondary Education with 80% (got Top position in my college)
  • B.Engg in Computer & Information Systems from NEDUET (Best Engineering Univeristy in my city, Pakistan) with a CGPA of 3.76, 9th Position out of 140.
  • 2+ years work experience in Software Development
  • MS in Computer Science from LUMS, Pakistan(considered to be the best university in Pak) with a CGPA of 3.14 (Main cause of low gpa is that I completed 2 years program in 3 Semesters due to financial constraints)
  • Right now I am a lecturer at a private university.


I want to apply for Full Bright Scholarship for PHD in Computer Science for which I need to give GRE. Can anyone suggest how can I make my application stronger. What average GRE score I must acheive in order to make sure my admission in Top universities of US like MIT, Stanford etc? and what strategy I should follow in order to get successful in my goal.


Any help would be highly appreciated.





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For the top Universities, your GRE Quant score should be 170 or 99%...or as close to that as you possibly can get. Not that people with lower GRE scores dont get in, but just that there are plenty of applicants out there with even these scores that do not. Having said that, GRE is probably nothing more than a low level hygiene factor when it comes to top tier Universities, and by no means "makes sure" that you do get admitted. Having a top profile from your country is a big positive, a fantastic GRE score will also help, but remember that you will be competing against very similar candidates of whom only say 5% or so will get admitted to a particular top tier school. Ensuring strong LORs, SOP and research fit with the programs will weigh far more on your app than a GRE score or even your GPA will. Highlight your top position / ranks etc. - for international students where GPA etc. can be misleading, showcasing that you have been amongst the top percentile in your class can be a big plus. Is there any undergrad or masters research work, thesis, project etc. that you can highlight. Start writing to POIs early with a brief of your profile and research interests (there are many threads on this forum that discuss this) - this will give you a good idea of where you might stand. In your SOP, show that you are conversant with classical as well as contemporary research in your area of interest.


Best of Luck!

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Thanks for your reply. I have written 2 research papers during my MS but have not published any of them yet. I am planning to improve them and try to get them published as early as possible.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

you have no chance.....just kidding :) But really, with top tier schools in the USA, getting in is really a crapshoot.....I know people with 4.0 GPA, perfect GRE's, publications, work experience, etc etc, and still got rejected by schools like MIT and Harvard. The trick with getting in these types of schools is to try to publish stuff with professors from the universities you want to go to. Contact them via email and get involved with their research. Gain their trust by showing them that you are at the top of your game.


But keep in mind that getting into schools like MIT, Stanford, and the like will NOT guarentee you a successfull career...They will definitely help you get in the door, but the rest is on you....It's what YOU make out of your education, no matter what rank the university has.....especially with research

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