Lalbadshah

Grad schools accepting people with profiles much "worse" than mine. Confused if I should even go there now?

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So I have applied to 13 Computer science schools, I am an international applicant and keep track of admits to these school using this site and another one called yocket.  Every day I observe people with much "worse" (lower GRE, GPA, No or much lesser research or other experience) getting accepted to my program. Looking at these results day in day out I find myself thinking, "Should I even go to these schools?". The sort of mental philosophy I have is that I want to go to a graduate school which is equal to or greater than my calibre. Is it fair for me to judge schools this way? I am in the wrong here? Any advice/counselling  would be appreciated! :unsure:

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49 minutes ago, Lalbadshah said:

So I have applied to 13 Computer science schools, I am an international applicant and keep track of admits to these school using this site and another one called yocket.  Every day I observe people with much "worse" (lower GRE, GPA, No or much lesser research or other experience) getting accepted to my program. Looking at these results day in day out I find myself thinking, "Should I even go to these schools?". The sort of mental philosophy I have is that I want to go to a graduate school which is equal to or greater than my calibre. Is it fair for me to judge schools this way? I am in the wrong here? Any advice/counselling  would be appreciated! :unsure:

In a previous post you say your stats are 158/162 and 3.36 (GRE and GPA) and that you applied for MS admission at some of the best schools in the U.S. and Canada. Honestly, you should be happy that your schools are looking beyond numbers instead getting all high and mighty.

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I think this is a good time for you to learn one of the first important lessons of being a graduate student: Stop comparing yourself to your peers. 

As you start graduate school, you are becoming a professional academic. Each one of us is going to go on very different paths in both our careers and our research focus etc. It is no longer logical or useful to simply compare things like GPA and GRE scores. These are only a very very small part of the decision making process. Remember that you don't know everything about these other accepted students and it is not right to judge them on these metrics only.

In addition, not everything that appears on the Results database here is correct. There is no explicit question for research experience so many people don't really put their experience here (I didn't, for example). For my field in particular, the questions you get asked when filling in the Results Survey is almost completely useless: those factors are not really going to make a big difference in the admission decision. 

To answer your last question, yes, it makes sense to want to go to a school that will challenge you and will make you into the best researcher that you can be. However, no, I do not think the method you are using to judge the school is fair. You should not judge the school by the other people they accept especially if you do not know all the details of their profiles anyways. Remember the lesson: keep the process focused on yourself. Ask yourself: Will this school provide the resources you need to succeed? Never mind the other students accepted.

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It may be the case that the school you are talking about is accepting students with lower GRE/GPA than yours. However, you must pay heed to the fact that graduate schools look at the overall profile of the candidate and not just the scores because taking a 3 hour long exam doesn't represent the kind of work one does over a span of  4-5 odd years. It would simply be illogical and skewed to think that they would. Schools look at the overall profile of the candidate to see whether that person would be a good "fit" for their program. Since you got the nod, it means that they find your profile suitable for their program. The reason is the same for accepting other candidates. They must have covered through work-ex/research/future goals (and intent) what they lacked in their scores. To sum up, congratulations on getting admitted into a school(especially MS in CS) that you want to attend. You should go to this school if you intended to, irrespective of others' acceptance,  and if you're not satisfied, you can try again. You may end up being overwhelmed by the caliber of students in your program after all. All the best!

Edited by kenstar

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19 hours ago, Entangled Phantoms said:

In a previous post you say your stats are 158/162 and 3.36 (GRE and GPA) and that you applied for MS admission at some of the best schools in the U.S. and Canada. Honestly, you should be happy that your schools are looking beyond numbers instead getting all high and mighty.

Thanks for the insight. Honestly, this was hard to read, but I think I really needed it. It's really unfair for me to pass judgements in the way that I did.

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17 hours ago, TakeruK said:

I think this is a good time for you to learn one of the first important lessons of being a graduate student: Stop comparing yourself to your peers. 

As you start graduate school, you are becoming a professional academic. Each one of us is going to go on very different paths in both our careers and our research focus etc. It is no longer logical or useful to simply compare things like GPA and GRE scores. These are only a very very small part of the decision making process. Remember that you don't know everything about these other accepted students and it is not right to judge them on these metrics only.

In addition, not everything that appears on the Results database here is correct. There is no explicit question for research experience so many people don't really put their experience here (I didn't, for example). For my field in particular, the questions you get asked when filling in the Results Survey is almost completely useless: those factors are not really going to make a big difference in the admission decision. 

To answer your last question, yes, it makes sense to want to go to a school that will challenge you and will make you into the best researcher that you can be. However, no, I do not think the method you are using to judge the school is fair. You should not judge the school by the other people they accept especially if you do not know all the details of their profiles anyways. Remember the lesson: keep the process focused on yourself. Ask yourself: Will this school provide the resources you need to succeed? Never mind the other students accepted.

Thanks for providing me with this perspective. I realize now that I should focus on what my needs are from a graduate school and make a decision based on whether they are satisfied rather than comparing myself with my peers. Much appreciated! 

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I'm a "bad profile" applicant on paper. My GRE is okay (great V, ho-hum Q, decent AW), GPA is only a 3.2, academically suspended (flunked out) from undergrad twice, my only research experience was a tiny, unpublishable project. But when you read my statement of purpose you'll see that I have a 4.0 in all major coursework and a 3.8 over the past three years, my GPA is just shit because of my problems 10 years ago. My academic suspensions are a decade old. That "tiny research project" was my project (I did the IRB, wrote all grant proposals, collected all data, completed all statistical analyses, designed my poster, and presented it at a professional conference poster session).  My spring breaks were spent shadowing professionals and doing community service. One summer was spent studying abroad in an area specific to my top-choice grad school's aims. I wasn't employed in the field because I was  helping design lessons and editing the textbooks my undergrad used.

Of the schools I applied to I was rejected from the least prestigious and accepted to all three of the more prestigious programs.

When you boil everything down to a few numbers and when "research" can mean you did what I did or that you were the 14th author on a paper because a professor thought you should put your name on something you really can't compare yourself to what you see on gradcafe, especially when you also toss in the concept of program fit.

Edited by HiFiWiFi

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I second that. Former undergrad dropout in STEM - less than 3.0 GPA. Then was in a major-lifethreatening-health realted predicament. Then returned and aced the living h*ll out of everything I touched. And therefore it took 7 years to "finish" my bachelors. And 3 years to "finish" my master's. Due to my life experience, academic experience, and work experience, I find it difficult to sit down and study the 7th-grad vocabulary and math that's needed for the GRE. I hate the GRE and I think it is for people who have nothing else to go by. So my GRE scores are low, even after taking it 5 times. I just think it's so stupid I can barely force myself to study for it. I have also published in tier1 conferences. And in my spare time, I am going to publish a mathematics proof to a famous problem this year. Sometimes, people with perfect "stats" like GPA and GRE miss the bigger picture, which is what many professors are looking for. Why, oh WHY are you here? It's a worthwhile question - why do you want a PhD? You don't have to answer that, just be able to answer it to yourself. What will the PhD deliver to you in terms of education that you can't learn elsewhere?

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On 10 mars 2017 at 7:11 PM, HiFiWiFi said:

I'm a "bad profile" applicant on paper. My GRE is okay (great V, ho-hum Q, decent AW), GPA is only a 3.2, academically suspended (flunked out) from undergrad twice, my only research experience was a tiny, unpublishable project. But when you read my statement of purpose you'll see that I have a 4.0 in all major coursework and a 3.8 over the past three years, my GPA is just shit because of my problems 10 years ago. My academic suspensions are a decade old. That "tiny research project" was my project (I did the IRB, wrote all grant proposals, collected all data, completed all statistical analyses, designed my poster, and presented it at a professional conference poster session).  My spring breaks were spent shadowing professionals and doing community service. One summer was spent studying abroad in an area specific to my top-choice grad school's aims. I wasn't employed in the field because I was  helping design lessons and editing the textbooks my undergrad used.

Of the schools I applied to I was rejected from the least prestigious and accepted to all three of the more prestigious programs.

When you boil everything down to a few numbers and when "research" can mean you did what I did or that you were the 14th author on a paper because a professor thought you should put your name on something you really can't compare yourself to what you see on gradcafe, especially when you also toss in the concept of program fit.

I feel you. I applied to the federal scholarship here for student-researchers and I am probably not eligible because of 3% in my grades. BUT, I've been in media, have been published in a book, am a public speaker, have done a lot of community work and won awards for it, have research and work experience in my field of study, etc. I still won't get that scholarship because of 3%. It frustrates me. It's not always about grades. It's important to look at the whole package as well.

Edited by Adelaide9216

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