Graduate school suggestions !
We like to suggest schools based on research capabilities. A graduate school should be ranked based on the capability of
their faculty and their ability to drive funds to the schools.
- How many schools should you apply to?
There is no rule about how many applications you should send out. People generally apply to 3 schools at their level, 2 schools above their level (you may get lucky), and 1 or 2 schools below their level (you need a safety school). If you are unsure about what your level is, find a student with a similar application to yours and consider where he was accepted/rejected. You can also ask your recommenders to evaluate your application and tell you your approximate level. In choosing a school, you may also want to consider schools which are very strong in your particular area of interest, but possibly not as strong overall.
- Importance of Previous Research Experience
To get into a top graduate school you need prior research experience. This is not necessarily true for schools below the top 10, or maybe even the top 5. Note that prior research experience does not mean that you need to have published a paper. It does not even mean that your research needs to have yielded a result Ė results can sometimes take years. We just need to have confidence that you know what doing research is like. At top schools they receive hundreds of applications each year from 4.0 GPA students who have never done research. These are all put into the high risk pile and are subsequently rejected.
So the question is, where can you get this research experience?
There are five places where you might get research experience:
i. As an undergraduate, you can do research with a professor. I did this. You can even get course credit for this, and sometimes if youíre really lucky you can get paid a little (e.g., during the summer).
ii. As an undergraduate, you can apply for a summer internship at a research lab, e.g., AT&T. I did this. They will pay you a little and you will learn a lot about doing research. This was a great experience for me! Hereís the web site for the AT&T summer program that I attended: http://www.research.att.com/academic/ When you go to this web site, click on ďSpecial Programs and Fellowships.Ē
iii. After graduating, you can get a job, where sometimes you can do research on the job. I did this.
iv. As an MS student, you will work on an MS project.
v. You can work alone or with a friend. Ask professors in your classes to tell you about interesting open problems and new research (most professors enjoy doing this). Ask them to tell you names of conference proceedings. Sit down and start reading these proceedings. You will come across all sorts of interesting problems. Think about how you can improve upon the solution proposed in the paper.
- How to ask a professor for research grants:
- i. Make a list of professors with whom you might want to work. Most professors have a web page with lots of papers and descriptions of their research. Take your time and read these.
ii. Make a summary sheet about yourself. This is a one-page piece of paper which you will be
giving out. It should have the following information about you:
(a) Your photo. Professors canít remember names, but they do remember faces.
(b) Your name and contact info.
(c) Brief description of your research interests.
(d) Your availability Ė are you looking for a full-time summer position, a part-time fall position, both? How many hours can you devote to this project? Are you looking for class credit?
(e) List of every class you took and your grade and the professor you took it with (professors like to talk to each other about you).
(f) Relevant previous experience and skills.
Be prepared for the following questions which he may ask you:
(a) Do you have any ideas about what you might want to do research on?
(b) Which of my projects are you most interested in working on?
(c) Describe your math background.
(d) Describe your programming background.
With very high probability the professor will thank you for your interest, but tell you that he
isnít taking on any undergraduates this term. This does not mean that he hates you! Be brave!
Warning for international applicants: The admissions committee needs to be able to evaluate
your research. If your publications appear in conferences/journals which we are not familiar with
and have no access to, then we cannot evaluate the quality of your work. In my experience, this
usually leads us to discount such publications. If you donít want this to happen, here are two things
you should do:
i. Publish in internationally recognized conferences Ė ask your advisor.
ii. Create a web site that has links to all of your papers in English in either postscript or pdf.
Explain in your application that all of your papers can be found on your web site.
Our counselors have put together a list of graduate schools in the US based upon the following factors:
1. For High scores - i.e ( V >500,A<=800,Q<=800)
2. Univís that have not specified their GRE score requirements
3. Univís that do not require GRE scores
4. For very low scores
5. Univís with low tuition fee ( <= 7500$)
6. Univís with high % of Research funding
7. Univís with high % of Teaching funding
8. Univís with high % General funding
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Desigrad.com does not assure any I-20's from the above listed universities.
The prospective student takes all the risk by applying to these universities.