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Civil & Environmental Engineering Spring 2015 Applicants


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Hello everyone,

 

I am planning to apply for Spring 2015 in MS program in Civil Engineering (Research in Geotechnical Engineering) in the following institutes:

 

1. UIC

2. University of Colorado, Boulder

3. NYU 

 

My credentials:

 

Undergraduate CGPA= 3.62/4.00

GRE 310 ( V=154, Q=156, AWA 4.0)

TOEFL (113/120)

About six months experience in the geotechnical lab and also in the field. (coursework consisted of nearly 10 months work on research project)

Currently, I am working on 2 international conference papers and hope that they get accepted in August.

 

What are my chances of getting in???

 

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Civil engineering is not my field so I won't be able to help you there but will just offer some general advice. You have a decent GPA but the GRE score is lacking. If you can, retake the GRE and try to score 163+ in Quant and ~320 total. Other than that, good LoRs, a well-written SoP and strong research matter a lot more than these numbers. Also, spring intake is relatively limited as compared to fall in most universities so you might want to reconsider and apply for Fall 2015.

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Thanks for the advice and yeah the GRE is lacking. Though, you are right, I need to work very hard on the SOP and get strong LORs. 

I know spring applications are limited but I am just trying my luck and hoping for the best.

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Qasim, now that I've gone through the application process myself, I can probably share a few things from experience. Your scores are pretty good but it's almost impossible to predict how they will be interpreted. Having said that, if you can improve on your GRE Quantitative, that'll make you a stronger candidate. The response from ahlatsiawa is spot on: SOP and LOR's have greater weightage when one's application package is being assessed by the admission committee. But then again, it's not easy to predict how these admission committees work. They are an enigma, I tell you. :)

 

Another bit of advice: apply to at least 5 schools; more if you can manage. That'll give you a school to fall back on. Btw, are you sure that UIC has a civil engineering school? When I was applying last Spring, I was interested in applying there (since I have relatives in Chicago) but, if I remember correctly, it doesn't have a civil engineering faculty.

 

Anyways, best of luck as you begin this journey! I hope you achieve what you set out to do, Insha Allah.

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Yeah UIC is an engineering school, UC isn't.....and I also have some relatives in Chicago that's y I applied.....after conducting thorough research on it.

By the way, how was your experience in applying in Spring term?

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Oh okay, my bad. Maybe I'm confusing UIC and UC.

 

Well, it already seems like a long time back when I applied. But I'll try to recall what I can. As you are aware, the obvious drawback of applying in Spring is that there are limited options. However, there are still a number of well-known engineering schools that do offer admission.

 

If you're not applying thru a scholarship (like me) then, in my opinion, there is a bigger issue when opting for Spring intake: As far as I know, all TA-ships, and most RA-ships, are allocated in the Fall semester since universities receive their grants at the beginning of the academic year. This is true for most state universities to the best of my knowledge. I think NYU is a private school, so their policy might be different. You might want to look into, and contact, your potential schools to be absolutely sure.

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Well....I am not expecting any sort of funding for this term...the objective is to get into the system and then work through towards a phd from a top institution

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Off-topic, but I feel I should share this. Visa officers tend to get suspicious and ask more questions if you are going to a city or state where you already have relatives. I was asked if I had any family in the US and when I said yes, the very next questions were which state and on what visa status. So just a heads up for you. If you're applying in Chicago, apply to only one university and, as suggested by Adil, broaden your pool a little. 5-7 universities should be healthy enough.

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Well....I am not expecting any sort of funding for this term...the objective is to get into the system and then work through towards a phd from a top institution

 

In that case, you're doing it the same way as me. I'm hoping to get some sort of financial assistance from the 2nd semester onward; but of course that entirely depends on how I perform in the 1st semester. Fingers crossed!

 

With deadlines approaching, how's the progress on your application materials?

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I have gone through this process last year (for Canada) so many application materials are ready (SOP and LORs). However, as I am free, so I am working on improving my SOP even more. 

By the way, did you get in touch with professors at Virginia Tech and do you think should I apply to Virginia considering their geotechnical department?

 

In that case, you're doing it the same way as me. I'm hoping to get some sort of financial assistance from the 2nd semester onward; but of course that entirely depends on how I perform in the 1st semester. Fingers crossed!

 

With deadlines approaching, how's the progress on your application materials?

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That's great, I took a couple of months off from work (don't ask me how :P ) for GRE preparation and my SoP. It helped a lot, I don't think I would've managed otherwise. I'm sure you'll be able to make the best of this time.

As for Virginia Tech, you should definitely apply! It has a very strong engineering pedigree and is highly regarded not only in the US, but internationally as well. To be honest, I don't know much about their geotechnical faculty, but rest assured it'll be good. One of my classmates from bachelor's went for an MS in geotechnical back in 2008; he only has great things to say about VT! So if you ask me, go for it.

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