Application Tips for Top Computer Science Schools

To get yourself enrolled in the best grad school, one needs to follow certain norms and steps. Preparation is essential. Graduate school admissions take considerable time and follow a procedure like filing of the application, choices and decisions, essay writing, college visits and interviews. This preparation phase acts as a turning point for student’s future career path considerably. Entrance into best grad school is increasingly competitive.

Following are the preparation/applying directions:

Choices and Decisions

In order to make an appropriate decision, shortlist some best grad schools. Visit those shortlisted grad schools preferably when school is in session. Take a tour of the grad school, talk to students present and faculty and make notes for reference later when applying. Visit days are a recruitment opportunity for the grad schools and an opportunity for you to get a taste of what grad school will be like at different institutions. This is your chance to assess the best place for graduate study.

You can apply by early November and get the result by mid-December, although specific deadlines vary by graduate schools. Few grad schools follow the policy of a single-choice early action program, wherein an applicant can only apply early action to one school.

Organizing Application

Most grad schools have online applications but know that some schools have specific requirements for the way applications are submitted.

In general, your application should include:
i. Application form(s)
ii. Statement of Purpose: Prepare the statement of purpose that includes your interest in the course and grad school. It gives you a voice and explains your motivation for wanting to go to the course and the grad school.
iii. Standardized Test scores (General and possibly Subject test): Take the Standardized Test like SAT (Scholastic Aptitude test) Subject Test, ACT (American College Testing), and applicants who are not Americans are also required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign language).  The scores of these standardized tests take an applicant’s application one step ahead.
iv. Academic records: include a copy of courses taken, grades or marks received, all honors and awards pertaining to academics conferred to the applicant. Listing them adds weight to the application.
v. Letter of Recommendation: is the one that depicts the characteristics and capabilities of the applicant. These help build a coherent, personal attitude and picture of the person behind the numbers.
vi. Extra-curricular activities: An all-rounder is the first choice for any grad school. So, do list your interest, personal initiatives, hobbies and extracurricular.
vii. Essays: Essays are considered as a way to judge the applicants potential and skills. They have supplanted interviews as a major way to evaluate applicant’s personality. They are meant to learn how the applicant thinks and their intellectual levels. Admission Essays are also called as Personal Statements. Few essay writing tips:
  • Not too long, such as over 500 words.
  • Follow 5 C’s i.e. Correctness (proper grammar, spelling and punctuation), clarity (the order of and relationship between words and phrases used), conciseness (elimination of unnecessary word “redundancy”), coherence (flow or continuity in writing) and concrete (specific, not vague).
  • No embellishments, emotional appeals, or expletives.
  • Be honest; put your best foot forward “best self”.
  • Emphasize on intellectual curiosity and personal character.
  • Avoid poetry, jokes, excuses, criticism or disrespect, bragging or too much usage of “I” pronoun.
  • Avoid Simplistic words such as “always”, “only”, “never” etc.
  • Deliver poignant details.
  • Topic should be something the applicant cares about and which reflects the applicant’s character, skills, and leadership. Showcase a broad outlook.

Interview Preparation

Be confident, calm and polite. Show intellectual passion with deep excitement about the course and grad school you are applying. Avoid sounding unpleasant, supercilious, or anxious. Interviews matter a great deal when you want to get yourself in the grad school of your choice. Interviews play a vital role for few grad schools.
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