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From the Diaries of Engineering Applicants

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Names of Universities are  followed by comments from real applicants.

Arizona State University:

1st Applicant

M.S. Admit. Looks like it wants to keep up the tradition of not giving aid until you land there. Aid sure once you reach ASU. Very difficult to get aid here. I contacted a few professors. One of them replied. He asked me to not pester him. Asked me to contact him only if I was going to do a direct Ph.D. good University. Has gone into top 50 of late. The Univ. has lot of research funding including some defense projects. They have a very good dist. Comp. lab and some really good Profs. Can give a try. Aid sure for Ph.D. from here. For M.S. u will get one after landing.

2nd Applicant

ADMIT: definite admit to guys here. Aid only when you reach there.

3rd Applicant

Easy to get admit with a decent Q+A score and decent CG (at least 7) not possible to get aid unless you are physically present there. Aid is guaranteed as soon as you go there. Excellent place for internships. ASU follows a kind of rolling admission process…so clashes hardly matter!!

Baylor University

a. In their minimum requirements, there was an emphasis on the GRE scores and no mention of GPA. Their app form was different from others’. They asked me to write a few (short) essays…

b. resumes, recos, sop, GRE score

c. low GPA students (provided you can justify your low GPA in the class can apply as safe

Carnegie Mellon University

1st Applicant

This WAS my dream university. This is the Mecca of Computer Science, comparable, if not better to UCB, Stanford and MIT. There were two reasons why I applied here. One, some of us decided to try some great, new universities that have not been cracked yet. CMU ranked very high in that list. Not only does it have a very intimidating ranking but also no senior (past 2 yrs) has ever applied and got in here. Two, this is the best place for computational linguistics. My senior bugs strongly advised my against applying here. The applying fee is also high at 75 dollars. But, I got a fellowship offer from the Language Technologies Center which is THE BEST place for natural language processing and computational linguistics. I chose not to go to this place due to a variety of reasons ranging from a very narrow course stream to a very taxing and demanding coursework (there are nerds there that expect you to study 5 subjects every semester, do original research and submit a thesis every semester and continue the research even during summer). But the toppers in your class, who are ready to slog their butts out can seriously app here, because this is one of the best places you can ever hope to get in during your entire lifetime. CGPA, GRE, SUBGRE crazy university.

2nd Applicant

I applied here as Pittsburgh has a good temple ;-). I need not tell you about this place. But don’t get scared off. Sunder-man got a fellowship here, and Sutra has an RA. So, if you have a 9+, app and I think you can get in. Esp. if you app for Ph.D. Refer to Sunder-man’s apply info, regarding the 10-dollar issue.

Case Western Reserve University:

I really don’t know why I applied to this place. Case western people seem to be dozing. I really doubt if there’s a college called case western, or if they simply have a garage, so gullible people like me app and they run off with the application money. I tried Phone, Email, Snail-mail even homing pigeons, telepathy and prayers. No reply. Guess I got to go and meet them personally to find out what’s happening.

Clemson University

Good in computer engineering. Gave admit to almost everyone who applied. Aid limited. Ranked 42. I’m going there.

Emory University

Senior Gopinath had the same credentials as me and got into Emory. My GRE scores did not reach them! Senior Srividhya said Emory was not a very good place for CS. You may try your luck because 2 of our seniors are on a fellowship. But apply early!

Georgia Tech

1st Applicant

I applied here as a probable university (similar to Purdue). They seem to be following a very irrational method of admission. They bumped me whereas Merle and Lakhs were given TAs. I had similar or better credentials than them in every aspect you might look into. The only reason I can think of is the way in which I wrote my SOP. I was interested in a variety of fields (even though they lacked synergy). So I mentioned every one of them in my SOP and the work I had done in each field. This should have been construed as lack of focus and research aptitude. (I personally feel that nobody (any undergrad student) can actually decide on what he is going to do in his PhD during his final year of undergraduate study. He might have certain inclinations and interests but it is simply too early to decide.) I was true to myself in that I wanted to do research in all the fields I had mentioned. The moral of the story is, even if you don’t have any real idea of what you want to do or even if you like a variety of unrelated fields please don’t mention so in you SOP and stick to a particular field of interest. ‘Coz there are crazy, illogical and irrational fools sitting in admission committees ( akin to our cricket selection committee ) who think that just because you mention so many fields in you SOP, you (in this case me with 9.4, 2320, 88% ) are fit for nothing. The decisions seem to be more rational (i.e. based on the quantifiable results) in top universities. The top three universities I applied to, gave me admits and the last three universities I applied to, bumped me. Please excuse me for the above digression. Apart from that, the college of computing in GTECH is a good a place to be in for a variety of fields. Usually, the credential requirements for GTECH and Purdue are similar.

2nd Applicant

Gives PhD admissions easily and aid is automatically assured with a PhD admit. Also highly ranked univ. S GRE is required here else the app will be incomplete. Though they say they require Sub GRE’s > 90%ile, it is strange that I got an admit here. No aid for Masters.

Anyone with 8.5+, 2100+, 70%ile+ has a good chance of getting a PhD admission. GPA’s with 8+, give a try for PhD here. You may get thro’. Toppers! Leave this for lesser GPA’s who want to do a PhD because you may get thro in better universities like Stanford, CMU, etc. for a Ph.D.

3rd Applicant

Excellent all round place in terms of dept size, ranking, research and overall ranking. Don’t believe Sunder-man. They want focused people like me and not confused ones like him ;-). I think MS doesn’t have aid, full aid guaranteed for all Ph.D. students. Other guy in is Muralikrishna. If you have an 8.6+ with 2200+ GRE and 80+ AGRE, interested in a Ph.D. and think that you can get along with me reasonably well, you should app here. I think that you will have more admits next year, as one of your seniors is going to make a great impression here.

Why I had an Admit = same decent credentials funda. I do think AGRE made an impact. Plus I had strongly indicated in my sop that I was inclined towards research and definitely will be with them to complete my Ph.D. (GTECH people are very anxious about this aspect).

4th Applicant

Nothing much to say, I feel that I was denied admit for PhD because of my AGRE.

Iowa State University

1st Applicant

I applied here only in Jan after meeting Dr.Manimaran of ISU, in the Calcutta Conference (HiPC’99). In the first meeting itself he said he had an asst. free and if I had a GRE score above 22 and Top 10 % grading in RECOS (in RECOS which everyone gets easily in our dept) then he can give an asst. Later I just mailed him once and he said I can apply for both CS dept and CE dept with a single application fee and I just did the same.

In CE dept., he carried my application literally and I got all this TA and PACE because of him. He said that he got me TA, even thou the deadline for it was over when my app reached their dept.

I’m going for M.S (CE) in Diff. Services (pretty scary term, isn’t it?), N/Ws and Dist. Systems.

Regarding the CS department, I do not know how I got admit and aid from here as he said that he was not aware of me applying there though he only asked me to apply for both.

2nd Applicant

BUMP. Good college. Everyone who applied was bumped. Apply only if you have a contact there. I applied because of matching research interests.

3rd Applicant

Bump. Good univ. My low credentials (GRE) probably got me a bump. All those who applied to this university except Swaminathan got a bump. Swami is going to this university. Manimaran who is known to Renuka madam has given him aid. Contact swami for more details as he is going there.

Johns Hopkins University

Applied for PhD.BUMP.Scores sent – All Xerox copies. I asked for an application fee waiver and they accepted it.

Everything was free with this university expect for the postage of course. This was very strong in cluster computing. That is why I chose to do a PhD here. This Univ accepts ONLY 10 students and that to only for PhD.

Kansas State University:

M.S. Admit.

Refused to give aid. Tried to contact some professors, but none of them replied. They have some good professors in distributed computing. Aid not very easy for M.S. and obviously not a very good college to do your Ph.D. Previous applicants specifically mentioned that aid was available only for Ph.D. I decided to defy it. Still could not make aid.

Michigan State University:

1st Applicant

This is one place which, on hindsight, I felt I shouldn’t have applied to. I had been ultra-conservative in choosing this university as a safe place and I request you not to follow a similar course. MSU is one place which has an undisputed and doubtless reputation of determining aid purely based on your AGRE score. So, for those of you with a relatively lesser GPA, but with a capability and confidence of securing a good AGRE score, this is THE place you can try for.

2nd Applicant

This univ looks at your subject GRE. Though not very strong in computer architecture I applied to this univ because I had pretty good chances of getting in. 3 of us (Methuen, Saravanan and me ) got TA from this univ.

3rd Applicant

Very AGRE strong…

New Jersey Inst. of Technology

1st Applicant

NJIT has 50% Indian Students and is ranked!! .GRE score. I don’t recommend this univ as aid chances are almost nil. But a student there said it was possible to pay the fees through campus jobs. Getting an admission is quite easy. If you can’t think of any other univ, apply to this one (just $50).

2nd Applicant

It’s PIG SHIT in capital letters.

New Mexico State University:

BUMP. Ranked college. Not situated in the industrial belts hence problem arises when it comes to finding jobs. They seem to be bothered about academics (GPA). Guys with GPA less than 8.0 need not app to this college

North Carolina State University:

1st Applicant

I shouldn’t have applied to this place. One of my friends in U.S asked me to app to this place. I don’t know very much about this univ. Its neighbors are UNC Chapel Hill and Duke Univ. I thought I could transfer credits to one of those well known Univs (Normally it happens in this place).

2nd Applicant

Very good university. Our senior Balsa is there. This is a part of the research triangle (UNC Chapel hill, Duke, and NCSU). They look at your subject GRE. It was surprising that in spite of a lot of people applying to this univ, none of us got aid first. With Bales’ help, Ramrod got RA later from a professor there.

Northwestern University

I really do not know why I applied here that too for a PhD program

Good place to blow out your money.

Ohio State University:

1st Applicant

This is a reasonably good university, the main attraction being that it is very Anna friendly. Almost ten of us made it to this university, two with fellowships and the rest with TA/RA. I had this as my safe university since over the past 2 years, it has been consistently favorable towards CEG applicants and there is absolutely no reason why this should not continue in greater proportions in the years to come, considering the quality of our students going there. I strongly encourage a good number of you to try this place.

2nd Applicant

They have lots of admits + aid over here. Really have a good impression on Anna Univ, thanks to our seniors. Hope, the record is maintained. Applied because our seniors got lots of admits with aid.

GRE doesn’t matter here. People with 8+, 2000+ can give a try here. Admission with aid is almost assured for 8.5+, 2100+. I was shortlisted for a TA (not offered) and they asked me whether I was interested in their univ (If I was interested, I had a 99% chance of getting aid). By then, I took a decision on the univ to which I was going and hence rejected the offer.

Here also, they are very busy giving admission offers that the Grad-Sec never replies for email queries. But, Profs normally reply. You can contact Dr.P.Sadayappan (saday@cis.ohio-state.edu) if you have any doubts regarding the procedures. He is helpful.

3rd Applicant

A safe place for everybody. Admit and aid sure if you have 8.5+, 2150+. Great for networks and good place to be in. Lots of funding and lots of our people here. 10 of you can apply here especially as they gave us 5 TA and 2 fellowships. I got admit + TA. Decent credentials are enough.

4th Applicant

the 2nd largest university in the US. Lots of Indian grad students. I heard that one can go there even without aid and manage as there is lots of funding (including jobs in other departments). Although the univ catalog says that TSE is needed for TA, they grant TAs even without it, but one has to clear the SPEAK (administered on campus) to get full stipend.

Areas of active research: ATM, Multimedia networking, Parallel & Distributed Computing.

5th Applicant

Applied for MS. Admit + TA. Scores sent – GRE, AGRE, TOEFL

Nice for Distributed Computing. Lots of Indians are here. Quarter system … so you can finish early…but you have to slog.

Oregon State University

1st Applicant

I applied here as a safe university that has a history of giving tons of admits of AU students. Of the 9 people who applied for CS this year (including one senior), two got fellowships, six got TAs, only one got bumped and you guessed right, that fortunate person is me. The reasons for my bump are the same as that of for GTECH. This is a very big university with a lot of students of Indian origin. It is good for networking. Since they give admit with aid to every Tom, Dick and Harry that says he comes from AU computer science, I strongly suggest/advice the toppers ( top 5 ) to desist from applying here.( Anyway, you will get aid from a better university. Even if you get a fellow here it is better to go the better university with TA or RA). Guys with CGPA 8.5-8.9, GRE~2200 can expect aid here. Sub GRE helps even though it is not required.

2nd Applicant

CS dept isn’t all that good here. Aid chances depend on the availability of funds. Last year, one guy with credentials no better than mine (some other college) got aid while this year I didn’t.

Oregon Graduate Institute of Technology:

1st Applicant

M.S. Admit – no aid

My worst choice. Was a last minute replacement. Big mistake. Never apply here as this a purely graduate institution. So there are no TA’s. I came to know of this only after applying. Felt very bad. RA’s very difficult to get. So forget this univ. also this is a private univ. so funding very less.

2nd Applicant

OGI does not have undergraduates. So no chance for TA. Admits easy. Aid chances slim.

Areas of active research: databases, AI

Penn State

I shall give some points about Penn State. The information I am providing below is from the Graduate Brochure of the Computer Science and Engineering Department and can be taken as FACTS, not my opinion.

Penn State requires the GRE and the TOEFL. The TSE is required for eligibility for financial assistance. The AGRE is strongly recommended. It is not possible, except under extenuating circumstances, to break-off from the Ph.D. program and receive a M.S. degree alone.

Purdue University – West Lafayette:

1st Applicant

The chosen one. Ranked 11th in the current US news rankings and has been rising in the rankings in the past. Not the best university for research. Is of the same caliber as that of UIUC in research. But the course work is very intensive here and the standards very high. This is where Douglas Comer (TCP/IP) is. There is a large Indian Student community here. Apart from that Indy car racing, Indiana Grand Prix are the other attractions. I applied here as one of my probable universities, since seniors with similar or slightly lower credentials had secured aid. There was a myth that Purdue does not give aid to M.S. But Marla got TA for MS The reason why I am mentioning this is; do not blindly follow/believe what has been written in this book or something that was told by some senior. Apply your thought, browse extensively through the university web pages, contact the students there, contact some professors there and then decide on the university to apply. People usually have the tendency to match their credentials with some senior in the app info and blindly ape his/her choices. Please don’t do that. CGPA~9, GRE~2200, SUBGRE~75 should do the trick.

2nd Applicant

My destination in U.S: Good university (known for network security), highly ranked (among the top ten), excellent funding. It was a great surprise that I was admitted for M.S with aid because there was no track record of any of our seniors getting aid for Master’s. My senior VP went with aid for Ph.D.

GPA matters very much here. Though S GRE is recommended, they aren’t very particular about it. I didn’t send my S GRE scores here. Applying for M.S leading to PhD helped because if I wasn’t able to make it to M.S, I would have definitely got a PhD admit + aid. This was my PhD safe.

Anyone with 8.5+, 2200+ should definitely give a try here. Students go for internships. Neil Armstrong graduated from this univ :-). The first and the last man to visit the moon graduated from Purdue. It is called the “cradle of astronauts”.

3rd Student

I had a very bad experience here. I chose ECE to CS as Sunder-man and Muralikrishna had applied to CS. (There was a CE program inside CS. I preferred CE in ECE as I didn’t feel like clashing). Professor in ECE I contacted kept telling me that it would be a cakewalk. But I got bumped off. Now I feel that I would have got into CS if I had applied. App here to CS if you have 8.8+ and good GRE. They have lots of money, so aid is not a problem.

Why I got Bumped = ECE too IIT strong and GPA strong. CS gettable though. Avoid ECE here like plague (no matter what the Professors tell you.

4th Applicant

BUMP- (8.5 + only apply) applied because it was a univ whose name I knew from the 1st semester and because that was the name of the only college my brother (elder) recognized.

Other Remarks by those who considered this university:

CS -Gettable

Rutgers- the State University of New Jersey:

This is a considerably high ranked university with a very good reputation. Seems to be a safe choice for anyone with a GPA of above 8.5. Subject GRE is required.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

I really don’t know why I applied to this place. Rensselaer refused aid for me although I got admitted for Ph.D. So you can imagine the state of funding there. Apply to Rensselaer Ph.D. if you have 72,000$ cash and fancy studying in a place half the size of our football ground.

Why I got Bumped = Rensselaer research is supposed to be good. But they sent me a mail home asking me to furnish a document showing 72,000$ (or some other ridiculous figure) in cash as I got an admitted without aid. I mailed them back with a mail that boiled down to this: – “If I had 72,000$ with me I would have opened a jewelry shop in T Nagar”

Southern Methodist University

I had a feeling that SMU had 100% acceptance policy:-, its ranked, heard of univ. they were ready to admit anybody from India! I don’t recommend this Univ. because there is financial aid. Please apply to this univ only if you want to create history by managing to secure aid or if you need an admission.

SUNY- Buffalo :

1st Applicant

Aid is next to impossible for MS. The general trend is that they give no aid for MS and ask students applying for MS to join Ph.D. to get an aid. The trend continued till date and I think it will continue.

2nd Applicant

Please don’t app here. I don’t see any reason to apply here. No aid for MS, aid only for PhD. If you want to do MS without aid then you can as well app in some top 50 college. If you want to do a PhD you might as well apply for better colleges than SUNY – Buffalo.

SUNY – Stony Brook:

1st Applicant

Research oriented university .Getting admission is easy. But in the past few years they haven’t given aid for our college for M.S at all. They promised aid from the 2nd semester for me.

Areas of active research: Graphics, Visualization

2nd Applicant

ADMIT: same case as University of California-Irvine. Only admits. No aid for MS students. Good college.

University of Arizona- Tuscon:

1st Applicant

I thought I had a good chance for a TW, but didn’t get one. It may be because I applied late. (I mailed my apps in the first week of Dec). The grad students I contacted told me that UA has lots of funding and that one can come over with a TW and manage.

Areas of active research: Distributed computing, networks.

2nd Applicant

Good univ, but why waste app fees for a Tuition waiver :-). Lots of projects on Distributed Computing. Almost 6 of us bumped their offer.

GPA’s 7.5 – 8.5 should give a try here. One good thing about this univ is that you needn’t waste money sending official score reports of GRE, TOEFL. They are happy with photocopies. I heard aid is available after going to this place.

3rd Applicant

I was desperate to go to University Arizona when I applied. But later I found out that they are very strong in research. Hence I took VirginiaTech instead of University Arizona. But generally a Anna friendly univ. gives a lot of TW.

4th Applicant

Lots of Indians in this univ. The climate is very much Indian. This univ gives plenty of tuition waivers and no aid. But seniors say that you’ll get aid soon after you go there. I got admission in ECE department. They didn’t give me any aid (not even tuition waiver). CS dept asks for TSE. ECE dept doesn’t.

5th Applicant

Seems Tuition Waivers are available for the taking.

6th Applicant

Applied for MS. Admit. Scores sent – GRE, TOEFL, TSE

I know nothing about this univ except that it gives admits with TA for CSE with GPA around 8.5 plus or minus 0.2. They have a peculiar situation wherein they give aid only when you have a SSN number. But you get an SSN number only when you reach US. Catch 22 situation. That is, they give you aid once you land there. Check whether this is the same for all universities in Arizona.

7th Applicant

It’s similar to ASU in many ways…u need to have a decent GRE or decent CGPA to get admit from here. A lot of on campus jobs are available…so aid wont be a problem at all.ASU is better than UofA in many ways but since this is highly ranked than ASU , I might be prefering UofA.Here too , clashes hardly matter!

University of California – Irvine:

1st Applicant

No chance of aid here. Gives lot of admits. Even a guy with a CGPA of 7.5 can get an admission here. But one of the top ranking schools in US. Top 30. Hence if you are willing to shell out 30K per year, you can choose this univ.

2nd Applicant

Applied for M.S. Good univ I felt. Said he required TSE for an aid. I was giving my TSE so bravely applied??? Unfortunately bumped me. Reason very sure my low GRE scores. A GRE score of 2200 – 2300 would have got me an admit. Also three guys with a good GRE applied to this along with me. One thing very sure about this univ – requirements are high. So apply if you have a decent GPA (8.75), a good GRE (2200) and a surely a good TSE score (50-55). My TSE score became useless since I flunked it. This univ allows u to go for an internship. Plenty in number –its California Result: Bump

3rd Applicant

ADMIT; good college. But bad policy because of no aid to any MS student at all. Only PhD. guys get aid. This was told to me by an admission officer of the Graduate office in Irvine.

University of California –Los Angeles:

Another ‘Dream School’. When I asked my senior Bugs regarding applying to this univ, he strongly advised me against it for, he didn’t want me to waste my app cost. However, I applied because there was a professor (Dr. Ercegovac) whose interest was reconfigurable computing and computer arithmetic – exactly like mine. Moreover, our final yr project was very much in the line of his work. So, my idea was “why not give it a shot, after all there are 5 probable universities and we can surely make it in to at least one of them”. Anyway, they bumped me. I still feel some amount of professor contact would have helped. I committed a serious mistake in not trying well to contact the professor. (a professor contact doesn’t help in all universities. Some even discourage it. However, in most of the universities, it helps a lot.)

University of California – Santa Barbara:

1st Applicant

This was an interesting univ. Initially they gave me admission for Master’s with TA and half Tuition waiver and conveyed this to me by email and asked me to give their acceptance. When I didn’t care to reply, they sent me a bump letter.

Again GPA’s 7.5 – 8.5 can give a try. Nothing much about this univ.

2nd Applicant

I was told that my app was not being processed due to lack of application fee. I furnished evidence of payment of app fee. In spite of that I did not hear from them afterwards. Moreover, they don’t seem to give aid for M.S (from what I have seen over the past few years). Also, Fee waivers are not granted to international applicants (Univ policy). Hence I would advise against applying to this university.

University of Chicago:

It is known for its liberal admits to Indian Students and called rightly as “University for Indians at Chicago” as lot of Madras Univ. guys enter easily here. I just chose this to be a safe and applied. No other specific reason for applying here.

2. University of Cincinnati

1st Applicant

Good university for computer engineering. Lots of research in Reconfigurable computing. Waiver easily available. Many of my friends with less GPA got waiver. I had applied very late like in Feb and my app was declined

2nd Applicant

M.S. Bump

Don’t app here if you have good and decent credentials like me. Gave t/w to Hangnail who had a CGPA of 7.5 and gave me, Rajesh and Sundar (EEE) bumps for higher credentials. Said I was refused admission because of high competition. Surely we guys deserve a much better Univ. than this.

University of Delaware:

1st Applicant

M.S. Admit .Very slow in processing. Processes application in the descending order of GRE score (fool – he said FCFS and betrayed me) did not bother to enquire once I got aid from university of Kansas. Good for n/w and dist. Systems

2nd Applicant

A safe. You will make an admit here. (GRE strong) I was the first to make it because of GRE score. Others here were lower

3rd Applicant

Applied for MS .Admit .Scores sent – GRE, TOEFL .This was a safe univ. It had good funds and was moderately OK for networks.

4th Applicant

It is good for AI and networking. The only info I have about this university is that they process the application in decreasing order of GRE scores.

University of Florida:

1st Applicant

It is believed to be univ with rolling admission. But I applied on Nov 1st to get the admit letter on May. Hence do consider before applying.

2nd Applicant

I got my admit letter when I was preparing for my VISA interview. They exhibited some remarkable pace in processing apps. Finally, they refused aid saying that they didn’t receive my TSE scores which I had sent thru’ ETS, FAX and email.

University of Georgia – Athens:

1st Applicant

ADMIT+TA. UGA though not ranked seems to be a quite decent college. Not much of research work is going here but they do research on distributed information systems. This college is very responsive in their correspondence with students. Heard that graduates of UGA are placed in good companies. This college is not concerned much about GPA. They mainly use GRE score for giving aid. People with GRE of above 2150 have good chance of securing aid.

2nd Applicant

Supposed to be the oldest university in US and has a decent computer science department.

3rd Applicant

ADMIT+TA. UGA though not ranked seems to be a quite decent college. Not much of research work is going here but they do research on distributed information systems. This college is very responsive in their correspondence with students. Heard that graduates of UGA are placed in good companies. This college is not concerned much about GPA. They mainly use GRE score for giving aid. People with GRE of above 2150 have good chance of securing aid.

University of Illinois – Urbana Champagne

1st Applicant

This is a very highly ranked university that has a history of admitting AU students. Though they did not give any aid this year, we secured four admits. The reasons for not securing any aid are as follows.

One, most of them who applied did not write TSE (sandy, Deepak, Merle, Methuen). Two, I wrote TSE but had only 50 which was not good enough in this university. You need 55 to safely get a TA and TA is the major form of aid in UIUC. Around 90% of the students are supported using TAs. Even though AGRE is strongly recommended in this college, it seems to make no impact at all. This university strictly requires a financial document – a proof for your finances and this is a criterion even for admission (Methuen got bumped due to that). Admission for PhD is very very competitive. M.S and M.S/PhD are easier to get in. I applied for PhD and they took aeons to decide on my application. Finally they bumped me for PhD and gave an admit to M.S. Not a very great univ for research (it does not deserve the ranking it has). If you have 9+ CGPA, 2200+ and 55 in TSE, you can treat this college as a safe or a probable college.

2nd Applicant

Highly ranked univ and a good dept. It seems they don’t have email facilities :-) (No replies from graduate secretaries or for that matter any official in this univ). May be, they are very busy having MoU with Indian computer centers like Quantum Institute, etc. Applied to this because they gave lot of admits and aid for my seniors.

If you have a 9+, 2200+, admit is easy. Without TSE, aid is next to impossible. For admit without a TSE score, financial stmt. is needed.

3rd Applicant

Another one in the top schools list. Excellent research in reconfigure is going on in its ECE dept. CS dept has been giving admits to us. However, since comp. arch work is going on in ECE dept, I’d to app there. It has been almost impossible getting into the ECE dept. Our ECE topper (Arum) was bumped! Moreover, it requires TSE for any form of assistantship. I didn’t send my financial statement. So, there was no chance for the univ, even to consider me for admission. Thinking back, I feel foolish to have applied to this univ. Even Methuen (Our topper) who applied to CS dept was bumped. (He didn’t take up his TSE neither did he send his financial statement.) The universities rationale is “a guy doesn’t. Take TSE => No aid. So, to offer admission, he/she should at least be able to support himself/herself during study (financial statement vouches for this). If not, bump him/her”. That’s pretty logical. However not all universities are so strict about financial statement and TSE either.

4th Applicant

The results with this university this year have been very shocking and contrary to expectations. This univ. has had the characteristic of being very Anna friendly in the past (last year around 5 applicants got aid). I do not see a concrete reason for this sudden turnaround. One possible factor contributing to the decline is that most of the applicants this year (except one) did not take the TSE. UIUC is crazy about TSE, since the state of Illinois forbids award of a TA without a passing TSE score. Considering the fact that TA is the predominant form of aid given here, this could be a reason why none of us got an aid here. Another reason is what I had mentioned earlier. A financial statement seems to be absolutely essential even for your application to be considered by this university. (This university has the distinction of being deaf to whatever mail you send. So don’t be very much worried if you don’t hear from the University for a Considerable Length of time.

5th Applicant

Applied for MS/PhD. BUMP

Scores sent – GRE, AGRE, TOEFl and Financial Statement

This univ gave admit to my senior with similar scores, so I applied. This was supposed to be Anna friendly. I did not have a realistic chance over here…. Just an outside chance. Nothing wrong in trying your hand at some high ranked univ. You never know when luck smiles on you.

6th Applicant

It is very very CGPA strong….Not at all recommended for people with <9 CGPA

University of Kansas – Lawrence:

1st Applicant

M.S. Admit + Aid .Very hot for n/w. yearly around $11 million are invested for research in this area. Was pleased to get into it. I am going to this Univ. be careful with the graduate admissions officer (Carmela Sibley) here. She is a lazy woman. Keep reminding her regularly after u have applied else she will doze off or go on leave. Had a bitter experience getting my admission letter and I-20. Gave aid to 2 of us (Muthuvelan and myself). 4 of them in ECE got into it – 3 with aid. Had plenty of money this year – looks like. Contact me for further details. Anyone with a decent GRE and GPA (>8) will be able to get into it with full aid. TSE necessary for TA and recommended for RA.

2nd Applicant

Good for Networking and Distributed Computing. People with 8+ and >2000 can apply here. TSE is required for a TA. They have increased the intake of Anna University students due to good showing by our ECE seniors over there.

University of Maryland- College Park

1st Applicant

(BUMP) applied just for kicks. I was almost sure of a bump. I do not think there is any use of applying here since last year’s topper (samba) also was bumped with no reason

2nd Applicant

Very good university and has one of the heavily funded computer science department. It is particularly good in the field of Artificial Intelligence, databases and distributed computing. Nothing is known about the attitude of this university towards Indians except contempt. They consider IIT as only college in India. I suggest the topper could app here. It requires AGRE and TSE for TA. I wasted $75 as they were doing extensive research in the field of wrappers- my project is also based on wrappers.

University of Maryland – Baltimore County

1st Applicant

It is a fairly new university and has a good computer science department. It is involved in extensive research in the field of agents. People with CGPA 8+ and GRE 2000+ can almost surely get an admit.

2nd Applicant


UMBC researches a lot on agent technology. As my final year project was on mobile agents I applied to this university. Though ranked in the late 90’s for computer science seems to be a good college, located near Washington is an added advantage when it comes to jobs. If you have a GRE >2250 you stand a good chance of getting aid here.

University of Massachusetts – Amherst:

1st Applicant

This is again a very good place for distributed systems, especially with focus on multimedia. It was supposed to be IIT strong, and to some extent, it really is. A considerable proportion of their intake from India is from IITs. Still, this year two of us made it to this univ with aid. I don’t have information to assess the criteria on which they select, except repeating the obvious fact that a good GPA + GRE are what required. AGRE is NOT AT ALL considered by this university, so don’t waste your money sending your score here, however good your score is. TWE score is required here. (I was really impressed by the attractive file that came along with the offer letter from this univ.

2nd Applicant

Applied for MS .BUMP .Scores sent – GRE & TOEFL (no TWE) (Both Xerox copies)

This univ says that TWE is mandatory. But I don’t think so. My reject was purely based on my average academic performance. Supposed to be good in Networks, Dist comp….and so on.

University Minnesota:

1st Applicant-

A decent univ. Aid is very difficult. A very cold place to live (-50 at times). Please do consider before applying.

2nd Applicant

*Applied for MS *BUMP

*Scores sent – GRE, AGRE, and TOEFL I applied here only because it was AGRE strong. They stated it very clearly that aid is dependant only on AGRE score. I got bumped whereas sandy who did not even take AGRE got an admit. Strange policies indeed…..

3rd Applicant

Applied for MS :Bumped

Really good univ. latest CS Engg. ranking is 19 according to US news. I went by my seniors’ app info. 2 years ago 2 of them with a cg of 8.5 and a GRE = 2000 had got into it without aid. So I applied. Thought I could make some RA here. I clashed with sandy since I was taking my AGRE. The univ said AGRE required for aid. Many IITians apply here. All CSE IITians get 99% in AGRE – they cheat u know (we have also decided to do so from this year – check out Kart hick for our AGRE question paper). Back to my story. I sent my free AGRE score to this univ and wrote my AGRE totally without any preparation – I flunked and I was bumped by this univ. never mind. Everyone except sandy got bumped. Even Vijay (90% in AGRE) got bumped. Sandy too got only an admit. App to this only if has a high GPA, GRE and AGRE. Be careful while choosing this univ.

University of Minnesota – Duluth

1st Applicant

I had a feeling that their aid program was good. Nice sop, resume, recos, and GRE score .People with low GPA (7-7.5) so desperate to get into some univ with aid can apply to this univ as a safe. There are many Indian students in this univ. contact them for your queries.

University of Michigan:

1st Applicant

Great school. Ranked in the top 10. Excellent for Computer Architecture. Lakshmi and I applied to this univ. We had the exactly similar credentials – GPA, GRE, AGRE, TOEFL, Recos, and Project Guide! So, we split universities between us avoiding clashes. We also decided to app at least to one univ together (so that it either admits both or bumps both.) The opportunity was awarded to UMich and you know what the result is! This univ hasn’t been cracked by CS guys in the last 3 years. I feel this can definitely be done by the toppers. If some topper is interested in Comp. Arch, this univ is a great choice.

2nd Applicant

THE place to get in, if you are interested in Computer Architecture. Excellent program in Comp Arch with lots of funding / research. Pentium Branch prediction unit was done here. Other fields are also good here. This was the only place I clashed with Kathie. (See his credentials to find out why). We were dreaming of going to the same place and participating in the famous Umich graduation-day bash. Ultimately both of us got bumped off. Apply if you have an 8.8+ and want to do a Ph.D. I feel it is gettable for 8.8+ people. 9+ people who have no interest of doing a Ph.D. here, go ahead, apply and get an admit, so your juniors can make it next time.

Why I got Bumped = although this place is (very) good. I still think it is gettable with my credentials. Umich is very IIT strong, and so is not taking people from Gundy. If one of you with 9.2+ app and get admits and open this place up, I am sure they will start behaving normally.

9. University of New Mexico

Not a great computer science department. But has a decent Electrical Engineering department.

University of South Western Louisiana – Lafayette:

1st Applicant

ADMIT. One with GRE > 2150 will be able to get aid. Though they may not give aid here they will after you go to us. Not a very responsive college. Their whole mail system seems to be nonfunctional as your mails won’t elicit

Any response from them, so it is up to you to app correctly (documents/name formats etc) as far as this college is concerned. Experience speaks.

2nd Applicant

Good for networking. It is a very cheap place. I can’t remember an AU guy who has gone to USL.

University Oregon:

I just wanted to try some untouched college apart from the standard AU favorites. Also, a Prof there said that their dept does some good work in DC and PC. Anyway regd. GTF, They call their TA as GTF (Graduate Teaching Fellowship), which is TA + some other benefits. Really happy that this one clicked thou’ I’m not opting for this. I hope this univ is added to the list of future AU applicants.

University of Utah

This was one place I really wanted to get in. Academically they can’t be termed great, but this place is decent. Since Utah is near California, you get a lot of chance for internship in a good Silicon Valley company. I am a Utah Jazz (Malone and Stockton) fan. Also, Salt Lake City where Utah is situated has many sport stadia that host a variety of high quality sports throughout the year. Two seniors (Balamurugan and E.Vidya) got aid here. So I applied. Every one (boy) who applied here got bumped except Lavonia. I guess they are not an equal opportunity institution and they have a bias (favorable) towards girls. Supposed to be Sub GRE crazy. But, Lavonia had only around 60%. I really don’t know what the criterion for admission here is.

If I am a given a chance now, where would I have applied?

I would not even have considered such low ranked colleges like Utah, OSU and would have stuck to top colleges. The list of universities I would have applied to is CMU, Stanford, Brown, UMass Amherst, University of Southern California and Purdue. CMU, Stanford and Brown are dream universities. UMass is a probable university. USC and Purdue are safes. In this list apart from Purdue, every other university is very strong in Natural Language Processing apart from other fields.

University of Wisconsin – Madison:

1st Student

This is a very good place to be in. A good place for database and distributed systems. Besides, Madison is one of the best places to live in the US (it has reportedly been voted many times as the best living place in US). In my opinion, anybody with a reasonably good GPA (above 9, 9.2) and a decent GRE (above 2200) has a good chance of making it to this university. This seems to one of the Univ., which values a good AGRE score. In fact, it insists on an AGRE score to start processing your application. I personally feel that at least the top 3-5 of you have a bright chance to make it to this university, since your application is going to be processed in the light of their strong opinion that CEG produces top intellectuals (out of their experience with me – I am going to this university :-

2nd Student

These people have a very strong CS program and lots of funding. They are ultimate GPA veterans. Do app only if you have a 9+. Class toppers (1, 2, and 3) will have sure admission and aid. Web-site claims all Indians have aid. In my class only Methuen was applying so I thought I can give it a shot with my high GRE and reasonable grades. While Methuen got a fellowship, I got bumped off. This place has a very early deadline. So beware. Also don’t app to EE as they deal with electricity in the 40000volts range rather than the 5volts we are accustomed to. While admit is easy in EE, funding is almost nil.

Why I got Bumped = Low GPA. Bad Idea to app if you have below 9

University of Texas – Arlington

I still can’t figure out what is their area of specialization is – certainly not networking may be intelligent agents. People with CGPA 7.5+ can app here. If you have taken TSE then you have good chance of getting a TA when you get over there.

University of Texas- Austin:

1st Student

It’s a nice place to do your M.S or Ph.D. You will have a competitive atmosphere (lots of IITians around). Highly ranked univ and admission for M.S easily gettable, but aid is difficult. Austin is also a very cheap place and it’s a developing industrial city. In fact, I applied it as a safe for “admit only” into M.S. My senior Samba had a GPA of 9.8 and S GRE of 89%ile. You won’t believe that she got a bump here for PhD (admitted for M.S though’).

The topper should try this univ. I have a feeling that a GPA of 9+ and a Subject GRE of 95%ile and above will easily get a PhD admission. Teaching Assistance – a possibility. TOEFL Score waiver can be easily got if Verbal Score > 600.

An SVCE guy got an admit for PhD here (normally IITians get an admission for PhD here). He had academic marks around 78% and didn’t take his S GRE. Do you want to know how he got that? His senior (who had presented many papers in Intl Conferences), opened up this univ. and was performing well there. The moral of the story is “Contact your senior and know whether he is performing well. If he isn’t, I don’t think it is really good news for you from that univ.”

M.S decisions are given late (as late as May 1st week). By then you would have made a decision. So if you are very confident of getting a PhD admit, try this. They support PhD students.

2nd Student

ECE here is a bad idea if you have my grades. CS is very much gettable for 8.7+ guys. Texas is very cheap (hot and dusty too) so prefer Texas based places if you don’t get any aid anywhere. Texas Austin ECE is too GPA strong, IIT strong and head strong. (to borrow Ravi Rajan’s words). Impossible place.

Other Remarks by those who considered this university:

They place M.S students in “the bottom link of the food chain”. They said that they simply do not have the funds.

University of Texas, Dallas:

1st Applicant

M.S. Admit

Aid guaranteed if you have either a good GPA or a good GRE. K.S.Balaji was considered for aid. Once he refused then got it by virtue of his better GRE. I did not have one to get one. Industrial area and very cheap to live. Can easily manage without aid for one semester. Second semester – aid assured. Good in systems and s/w engineering. I applied for systems. Jobs easy to get after completing M.S. since it are flooded with s/w industries.

2nd Applicant

ADMIT+AID: Definite admit. Aid is again GRE and GPA strong

3rd Applicant

Easy to get admit with a decent V+Q score…difficult to get aid. But for internships and jobs its one of the best schools.

Texas Tech:

ADMIT. I do not know much information about this college. But gives admits if one has a GPA>7.5. Also gives some 1000$ scholarship pa. Heard that one can get on-campus jobs and support oneself.

University of Toledo:

ADMIT+TUITION WAIVER. Please don’t app to this university. AU students deserve colleges better than this. This college gives tuition waiver to all Desis who apply. Getting visa will be tough as it seems to be in the black listed ones. Students with GPA>7.0 and GRE >2000 will be assured of a tuition waiver. Unranked college.

6. Univ of Tennessee, Knoxville

I heard it was a decent university. I didn’t meet their minimum requirements! Check out if it is good for CS. There are many Asian students in this univ.

University of Virginia:

1st Applicant

The univ I’m going to. A very good school for comp. arch. The dept there is very friendly and is small. Year before last, Isanti Mohan raj from our college went there. The place and the living conditions are great. The univ has lot of funding and gives admits only with aid. 3 of us (Vijay, Deepak and me) got full aid from this univ. This is one of the universities which asked financial statement even for consideration for admission. (Many universities don’t ask financial statement for admission. The ask it only for sending I20. In which case, if you get an aid, the proof of the aid itself is a valid financial document.) I took a risk by not sending one. However, they offered me aid. So, they are not as serious about financial statement as their application says. This univ is a good choice for people with GPA around 8.5 and GRE around 2200.

2nd Applicant

Applied for MS. Admit + TA. Scores sent – GRE, AGRE, TOEFL and Financial Statement

This was the univ which gave me the first Admit. I was surprised to receive an admit with full aid well before their deadline for application was over (Jan End). This univ has a little bit of everything in the field of computer science. A very nice city. It is like a paradise on earth (from what I heard from my seniors and others living there). I had opted for OSU because it had a quarter system. If given another chance I would have grabbed UVa with both hands.

Other Remarks by those who considered this university:

Good Comp-arch

Virginia Tech:

1st Applicant

Aid is said to be very difficult for MS. I am very lucky to get an aid here. If you are looking for a MS degree and then do a job, VTech is one of the schools to which you could apply. Liked by big companies in US.

2nd Applicant

This univ, though not ranked very high for CS, is a top school for EE. Great work is going on in the EE dept. (Comp. Engg. comes under EE dept there). It’s a great place for reconfiguration. I applied for a PhD there (EE Dept) but they gave me an admit for MS. I was really surprised by this for one of the EEE toppers was bumped by this univ. If they’d given me assistantship, I would have gone there. CS dept has given 3 admits (Lype, Jude, Balaji) 2 of which are with full aid. (Lype and Bajaj). This univ has very low application cost! (25 dollars). It is one of those early deadline universities. So apply early for this univ. (November or early December).

3rd Applicant

ADMIT+AID i am going here. Why? Because it is the better of the two colleges I got aid in. it is really good for ECE and EEE. So any computer engineering. Guy should apply here. SK said that reconfiguration. Work here is excellent.

Washington University – St. Louis:

1st Applicant

Although it is mentioned in the webpage that AGRE is a must to be considered for admission, one can request himself/herself to be considered without it.

Areas of active research: middleware for distributed systems – they have a distributed object computing centre (DOC) for research activities.

2nd Applicant

*Applied for MS


*Scores sent – GRE, AGRE, TOEFL

I applied here just because my friend said that this is a good univ for dist. comp… I don’t know for sure. What I know for sure is that this univ gives aid only based on AGRE score. I got 90 and I did not get aid. I don’t know why?

Washington State University- Pullman:

This was my safe. Now, I feel I needn’t have applied to this place. There’s a professor. there who is an alumnus of SCSE. (Dr. Krishnamurthy – krishna@eecs.wsu.edu) He’d come here twice. He’s working on Networks. Umea Maheswari madam will be able to give you more info for, he’s her student. When I mailed him writing about my scores interests etc… He told me that I can easily make it into WSU with aid. He also asked me (In a personal, non-official message!) to consider better universities for my credentials and interests. An MCA student (Haring) is going there. She is in touch with Dr. Krishnamurthy and he’s giving her RA

Random Comments about Science and Art of Applying


1. Select colleges mainly based on your area of Interest. I think there is nothing wrong in choosing a safe university (only for aid) where you have a very good chance of making it with aid. However, the search for the right safe university can be tough to decide.

2. Before deciding to app to any university, just ask them whether they provide any financial aid for your program or not, as generally some universities don’t consider MS students for aid itself. These decisions can change every year due to change in funds position in the dept/professor, change in admission comm. etc… Say, the same Penn State or SUNYSB can give a TA for M.S the next year and don’t blame me if it happened so. I really missed out on this and applied for 3 colleges which refused aid for MS right away.

3. Regarding clashes, I feel every application is viewed separately and one need not have a great sense of paranoid about it. But, this shouldn’t encourage a guy with a very good GPA to apply to a prospective university for lower GPA guys.

Aim high!!! Don’t underestimate yourself. If you plan to apply for 10 colleges then I would suggest the following split up

2 very high ranked Universities where you have a very slim chance of making it.

3 universities where you have an outside chance

3 universities where you have a good chance

2 safes (places where there are a sufficient funds and moderately OK education). You can probably refrain from this applying to ‘safe’ universities because you may not go there even when you get an aid there.

This is the list of colleges that I would apply if given another chance:


2. Purdue

3. U Texas Austin

4. U Maryland College Park

5. U Massachusetts Amherst

6. University of Virginia

7. Ohio State University

8. University of Arizona

9. Michigan State University

10. University of Delaware


Don’t be paranoid about SOPs and Recos. They do matter….but not very much.

1. Apply to colleges with ranks above fifty, without worrying about whatever GPA you’ve got. They will certainly give you admits with aid. If you think low ranked universities will suit you better because you’ve got low GPA/GRE you’re mistaken. Low ranked universities will give admits but not financial aid. So be careful.

2. DON’T be bothered about clashes; it will NOT affect anyone at all. The universities have been giving admits to everyone or bumps to everyone so don’t worry. Don’t worry about clashes and go for lower rank universities.

3. Applying to very few universities (4-5) would do. Choose good universities (not only based on rank but professor contact, seniors; that is what really matters). Save your dad’s money. You’ll need a lot of it when you have to fly. Be choosy in applying. Then be confident and pursue contacting the Profs and seniors. You’ll certainly get an admit and aid.

4. Most universities that gave aid previous year didn’t give this year. NCSU, UTAH most universities that had no history of giving aid gave fellowships. CMU, so the information provided in this app-info may not help this year.

5. Apply meetings don’t help so u needn’t attend at all.

6. Don’t be worried if you get a low verbal score. It will certainly not affect you. Getting a high GRE score may sometime not help at all. Have a look at everyone’s app-info and you’ll find that GRE score has rarely helped so don’t be worried if you have got a low score.

7. Don’t get tensed while doing this applying business. Stay relaxed and don’t care a damn about what others do. Don’t hurry, be careful.

8. After applying is in touch with the Profs and seniors you know in those universities. If you mail a professor and he does not reply, mail him again (you can go up to 10 mails without a reply). They will not get irritated but will appreciate your persistence.

9. If you don’t get financial assistance from the grad school try to get an RA from some professor. you can even try to get some job from some other department.eg. Someone got a job of doing web design for the psychology department. They paid him in an hourly basis amounting to more than what a TA would generally get.

Univs to which I would have applied if given a second chance:

· U Virginia (I had this in my list of selected universities till the last minute – the replacement for this was OGIST- big mistake)

· U of Arizona, Tucson (same as above – chose ASU instead of this)

· Ohio state Univ. ( I had even this – I dropped because of my low GRE – feel now that I would have made it – looks like it became a safe for every guy who applied)

· Purdue University

· U Kansas

· Iowa state

· U Texas, Dallas

· U Minn., TC



· Take your tests as early as possible and app quickly. Take all the tests including TSE and AGRE. You might find it useful. Prepare well for your AGRE. I wrote it with zero prep (I swear) and that is why I flunked.

· Please give a deep thought after a detailed analysis of any univ to decide whether u really want to apply and u going to gain much by applying to that Univ. Competition keeps increasing year by year, so it’s safer applying to 8 or 10 Univ., unless u really feel u will run out of money or very confident of getting into any. Nothing is assured until u get an admit + full aid from the univ. So be very careful in choosing your universities.

· Clashing – very interesting issue. I just feel I made a mistake by thinking too much about it. U guys aren’t the only ones applying to that univ. See it from a global perspective. I feel I dropped all the good universities in the list that I have given just above fearing a clash. You can clash even with your topper as long as your recos don’t say something stupid. (For e.g. your CGPA is 8.5 and your topper’s 9.5, if he gets a top 1% don’t go about getting a top 2% or 5% in your reco. – both of u will blow your top by doing so- not only that it might influence the Univ. decision next year).

· Always app to a Univ. which has no history. One such Univ. this year was university of mass, Amherst – both Methuen and Sandy got TA.

· Start contacting Profs in 2 or 3 universities right from august or September. All Profs Sit together to take a decision on your application. So if a Prof. says he knows u and that u have been having contact with him it will help u.

· Don’t app for a Ph.D. unless you are really sure of doing it. Be firm in your decision.

If given another chance now, complete list of Univ. you would have applied


University of Virginia, Charlottesville + all those above


General Comments or Advise to your juniors.

Do not look at clashes too much. But they do matter when hordes of toppers apply. eg. 3 guys applied to Purdue including me. GPA was 9.5, 9.4 and 8.449(me) got it. I was way behind these guys with no filling gap also. No point applying too low if you will not go there. Use the money instead on a better college. Be early. I applied real late and hence was nervous. I applied only in early Jan.

General Comments

(1) There is often a misconception about the relative importance of CGPA and GRE.

One should remember that for securing an admit, the university considers your CGPA and is satisfied with a decent GRE score. If you are to be awarded assistantship then they want your GRE score to be good. People with low GRE score tend to believe that if they app for a low ranked college they get aid. I believe that this is not true – see my list of applied colleges and the results.

(2) I believe that universities that are low in the rankings are so because they do not have enough funds. Hence not often they do not give more than one TA/RA for guys from same university.

(3) I feel there should be a certain degree of optimism while applying. I was not so optimistic when choosing my universities. I think I should have applied to higher ranked universities.

(4) The app info is only based on the experience of your seniors; it is not a complete guide. When you go through the app info, if you find a guys with little better credentials getting admits to a particular university then you can consider that university as your safe.

(5) Universities attitude towards AU keeps changing based on the performance of the students whom it had taken in the past.


If I were to be given a chance then the following my choices are – University of Arizona, ASU, Ohio State and University of Kansas. I would have tried Indiana University which is giving many admits to SVCE students. I believe that people with 8+ and 2000+ should not apply to colleges like UGA, UNM, USL and UTA.

University of Georgia, Athens


Some General Tips about Applying:

· Don’t just look at the rankings as if they were the only guide, and don’t look at just one ranking. Some rankings that you must look are those published by the NRC, U.S. News and World Report, and the Gourman Report. Each of these rankings is based on a combination of factors. You need to judge which factors are important to you. In this regard, begin your ranking search at www.phds.org. You can customize the rankings to tailor to your needs and expectations.

· After you have a list of universities that may interest you, try and look at the annual reports that are published by the Department. Each university publishes these and they are usually available for public viewing at their respective web-sites. Here, you can find information about how much money the department had (and has), how many students were supported through financial aid, how many research publications were done etc. This information should help you short-list your options.

· Look at the placement statistics for the CS Department from the respective office of the universities. If they are not readily available, the university should provide you this information on demand.

· Look though the students’ web pages (especially those of Indians) to find out information about internships. Students usually put this information in their web pages, as it is a feather in their cap.

· Use the facilities provided by the United States Education Foundation in India (USEFI). They publish some handbooks that contain some tips about applying. E.g. “The International Student Handbook” published by ETS and NAFSA and “The Graduate School Folder” is available at USEFI for about Rs. 100. Also attend the seminars that are conducted there.

· Try and match your research interests with the universities that you are choosing and NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. If you search hard, you will find your PERFECT University!

· Remember that the published rankings are all for the Ph.D. programs in their respective universities.

I have lived in the U.S. for three years, where I did a part of my schooling. I therefore have some unique qualifications. These are reflected in my SOP, Recommendation Letters, etc.

5. I would have applied to Penn state and dropped NJIT.

Since ASU gives a lot of admits, guys with low CGPA can app there. Don’t worry about the aid. It’s a highly funded school and you will get funded as soon as you go there. Toppers- don’t app to UofA…what u can get is TW and nothing more. People who r not finicky about aid can app to UTD, ASU, UofA and NCSU. And one final suggestion-people avoid going thru this app-info…This misguides u in more than one way…I have seen ppl who spent hours going thro this and finally ending up with the wrong set of univs..Have 2 safes. 2 Probable and 2 to blow out your money.

If you have any more questions or need any help, people do not hesitate to mail me at premkr@mailcity.com

If given another chance now, complete list of universities you would have applied

1. UTArlington


3. UGeorgia




General Tips:

1. Take your TOEFL as early as August and for that you have to apply very early. Normally getting TOEFL paper test dates are a problem. Though I didn’t fear of getting a bump in any of the colleges above, I had a fear of getting bumped for the TOEFL exam (I applied for it late). Many of my classmates got a bump for TOEFL date. Without this exam, your app will not be complete and whatever be your credentials, the decision on your app gets late. If u r taking TOEFL, take it in the month when TWE is also offered. Some universities require a TWE score too.

2. Depending on the universities. Chosen, decide whether to take a TSE or not. E.g. universities like UIUC, U Florida, etc. require a TSE for giving aid. But some universities like Purdue, etc. are not very particular about it and normally they ask u to take a speak test when you go over there.

3. If u r taking S GRE, prepare well for it. Don’t just write for the sake of it. A good score will definitely boost your chances. Normally what happens is you get exhausted after applying, doing projects, etc. and take the S GRE easy. If you have a good S GRE score, you may get a fellowship where without that you would have got a TA/RA. Again based on the colleges, decide whether to take S GRE or not. e.g., UT-Austin, MSU, GTECH, etc. insist on your S GRE scores.

4. After deciding on the colleges, immediately send the additional score reports. Don’t wait for the applying to be over. It takes normally a month’s time for ETS to report the ASR’s to the universities.

5. Before deciding on the college, contact your senior (if any) and get to know about the college and your chances. He / She would have more details after 1 or 2 months in that univ, than what he had here in India.

6. Normally, the universities want the recos to state that so and so are in the top 5 – 10% of his class. See to it that you get a reco like that. Recos are as important as any other test.

7. Discuss among yourselves about the colleges u r going to app for and avoid major clashes. E.g. a clash between a 9.6 and 9.4 is ok. But a clash between 9.8 and 8.2 will only result in a bump for 8.2. So, be practical. Also, if the GRE scores difference is below 100-150, don’t fear about clashes.

8. Be open and frank with your friends (on the college’s u r applying to). We had an open discussion on such things and the end result is there for you to see. Around 30 admissions with assistance.

9. I would suggest you restrict the no. of universities to 5 or 6. (Break up: 2 risk, 2 ok, 1 or 2 safe).

10. Write to us (your seniors) on whatever doubts you have and we are always ready to help you in your applying process. We know how difficult the whole procedure is. So, DON’T HESITATE to email your seniors, even IF YOU DON’T KNOW them.

In the app-info given by our super seniors, they said it is very difficult to get into this univ and aid is next to impossible. But my senior got an aid and Ramrod is also well placed. The moral is:” Things written in the app-info are personal views of each person (who doesn’t even know how the grad committee evaluates, but presents it on the basis of his/her experience). You should try to take the essence from the app-info and take independent decisions. The graduate committee changes every year, their criterion changes, there may be special factors, etc.” Many of my classmates suffered by making their decisions based only on app-info comments.

General Comments:

Although these are some of the guidelines, please do not stick only to this. The trends can change in some cases. Regarding the AGRE examination, the trend in our set is that only Michigan State Univ admitted students depending on AGRE scores. NCSU, UT Austin. Do not feel dejected if your scores are not as high as others. All the universities do not see only the scores, only the CGPA. Apply to at least 1/2 high ranked universities. Do not care about the clashes. The Recos you get are equally important as compared to your GRE, TOEFL scores.

I did not contact my seniors when choosing the universities. Do not make the same mistake. Contact me and I am there to help you.

The choice of the nine universities was like this – 3 ‘Dream Schools’ (all bumped me!) 5 good and probable ones (the rest except WSU), 1 safe (WSU). I intend to do my PhD. So, I applied for PhD in real great schools. In others, I applied for MS so that I can get a chance to do my PhD in a better univ.

Now, for a brief look at the universities I applied to:

This is the list of universities I applied. Given another chance, the list of universities I’ll app to will be: Umich, UCLA (more of professor contact), UVirginia, GTECH, Ohio State, (for both GTECH and Ohio, I needn’t have worried about clashes), MSU, UArizona, NCSU and VTech. I would have dropped UIUC and WSU.

So, that’s for the list of universities. Now for some general guidelines:

· Apply early. This helps in case of universities with early deadlines. Moreover, you’ll not be burdened during end-semester exams. I made a mess by not applying early.

· Concentrate well on your SOP. It should be clear and focused and not just flowery. When you write your own recos, don’t be extremely praising. Be realistic. Write to me if you want to look at my SOP and self written recos. I can also get you some of my friends’ docs.

· Do not worry too much about clashes. If it’s clashing with people having similar credentials, there’s no reason to worry at all. Even if it is clashing with people above you, it is OK to an extent. (Say when 3 people are clashing). Classic examples are Ohio (Lots of clashes for Ohio but still they gave 5 TAs and 2 Fellowships.), UVa (I clashed with Deepak and Vijay) and MSU (I clashed with Methuen and Saravanan).

· I applied online to UCLA, UIUC, UVirginia, MSU, NCSU and WSU. The advantage in applying online is you don’t need to get cheques. (Most of the online apps provide Credit card facility.) There’s less of paper work (You don’t need to fill in or send your app form). However, you need to send recos only by post. In paper app, the job gets over in one shot by filling the form, attaching sop, recos, resume and sending it. Some universities provide the credit card option even in paper app. I can’t clearly state which (online applying or paper application) is better. If you have ample time for applying, apply thro’ the paper app form. If you are in a hurry, apply online. Because, the date of submission of application will be early enough though the of date of completion of application may be late (recos should reach there for your app to be complete)

· As for the financial statement, I didn’t send any. Some universities ask F.S even for consideration of admission while others ask for that to send you an I20 (after admission and aid decisions are made and notified). In the later case, you don’t need to bother because if you get aid, the proof of aid itself is a valid financial document. In the former case (e.g. my case with UIUC and UVirginia) some universities are lenient (UVirginia) some are strict (UIUC). It is at your own risk that you can refrain from sending an F.S.

· Finish filling up forms for all universities in one goes. Get recos and transcripts for all the universities together. You can contact a senior in the US who might help you and ask his/her help in dispatching the app material. If he/she agrees, send him/her all the apps (each packed neatly and ‘To’ address written) put into one large pack. The senior can open it, affix required postage and send it. This will work out a lot cheaper. (Costs of courier services are such that speed post is OK for small packets (400 Rs). FedEx (Blue Dart is the Franchisee in India. The office is there near APS Plaza Adair) provides reliable and fast service. There’s online tracking facility too. It is suitable for large packets (like the

Single common packet described above). (1100 Rs for 1000g 1600 Rs for 1.5 Kg.) You can also bargain in the courier services. They’ll give discount for students.)

7 is the decent number of universities you need to app. If you’re confident, app to 6. If you’re doubtful, apply to a max of 10. Anything more is NOT AT ALL necessary. Don’t waste your money.

· Take all the required tests. Not taking TSE will restrict the choice of universities you can app to. Take subject GRE also.

· As for the GRE, practice a lot. By the time this reaches you, most of you would have finished your GRE. So, there’s no point in talking much about it.

· As for the Subject Test, it is easy for any guy/girl with decent fundas to score great. More of practice would have helped. Make sure you look at “ALL” practice q papers.

· TOEFL doesn’t require more than 2 days prep. So, don’t worry much about it.

· For people whose area is comp. arch, you might have confusion as to which dept. (CS or ECE) to app. The admit + aid scenario is much better in CS than in ECE. So, the general rule is “if there’s arch work both in CS and ECE – choose CS (e.g. in my case – UVa, NCSU, MSU, etc.). Else go for ECE/EE/EECS according to what the universities have.”

· It’s OK to app to universities which have history of seniors. That’s playing safe. However, explore some top schools also. After all, you are applying to ‘n’ universities but will go only for one. So, take some risk and apply to some great schools. In case it clicks, that’s a treat for you. It will also open new venues to the juniors.

· Depend on the Apply info to an extent but don’t take its words as if from Bible. Be optimistic and rational in applying.

You know that this apply info has helped you. This is given to you under the serious condition that you should pass this on safely to your juniors along with considerable addition of your year’s data. You can also pass on some more info on GATE and Campus. (We’ll start it by giving you some minimal stuff. Improve upon that).

Kudos to the efforts of Srinivasan and Muralikrishna in compiling this applies info. Their constant scolding when we delayed sending this apply info has definitely helped in bringing regularity.

Most of the questions you have would be answered in the apply info by at least one of us or at least one of the seniors. Anyway, if you have further questions, please contact us.

For the tremendous capability that you people have, you’ll come out in flying colors.


As a rule, admits in ECE departments are more difficult than admits in CS. Moreover ECE does not have as much funding as CS. So apply for ECE only if you feel strongly about say, computer architecture. If the same stuff is offered in CS also (say, like Wisconsin Madison) choose CS instead.


Try to avoid clashes as much as possible. Look at the college’s history and have safe clashes. (Say 4 people applying to place that has given 2-3 admits last year). Avoid reco clashes where a 9.5 guy is marked as top 2% and an 8.5 is marked as top 2.00002%. There will be pre-app, post-app, during-app anxiety during the admit process. But do be considerate and open while sharing colleges among friends. Have frequent app meetings among yourself. You should have observed that the number of people applying is going up. So every one of you should app to at least 1 new place each, so that it gets opened up. Don’t stick to the same old places. This is esp. for the 8.8 + guys. Try applying to places like Cornell, Princeton, Cal-Berkley, Stanford Ph.D. etc. People in 8.3+ ranges please don’t apply to 20 colleges, with some of them ranked as low as 300. Restrict your applying to 7-8 places with 1 new, 2 impossible, 3 gettable, 2 sure places.

My Places: Note that I reported all my scores everywhere.


General Comments or Advise to your juniors.

1. From the information in the app book, you should be reasonably confident that whatever your credentials are, there is at least one senior with the same credentials as you, who has got at least one aid.

2. All you need to do to be successful in anything is:

a. Find out how to do it

b. Do it. (Very simple???)

All you need to know about finding the right schools to app is :

Doing what you are supposed to do will give the appropriate results.

3. Of course here is what you are supposed to do:

1. Give your best shot to the GRE (July-august)

2. Bcc for pre-app, enquire about the schools u have in mind, TOEFL is almost a formality (Sep-Oct)

3. Transcripts, Recos (early Nov), SOP, resume, short listing of schools (late Nov)

4. Revising list of schools, bank checks, applying (early Dec), subject GRE.

5. Of course, you can always comfortably be behind schedule if things do not go as you had planned. Make sure your app forms and other stuff reach the schools at least by January 20. If you missed a financial aid opportunity, it should not be due to late application. Anyway, remember ‘Better late than never’.

6. Even if you don’t have either a decent GPA (like me) or a decent GRE or both, nice recos, sop and resume would still improve your chances of securing AID.

7. This app book doesn’t prevent you from exploring the unexplored universities or applying higher than what your seniors could bargain for. You should be wise to consider applying to the second chance list of universities also after consulting your senior.

8. Get as much info about your univ as possible. Start with these sources: app-info book, petersons.com, your seniors and other students in the universities. Don’t hesitate to ASK.

Funda behind the choice of universities:

Actually I had wanted to app to 8 universities, but eventually got bored during the lengthy, winding, tiresome, irritating applying process and decided to app only to 6 universities. But I think 9 is the ideal number of universities. You can apply to 3 dream universities, 3 universities where you have a chance (probable) to get in, 3 safe universities where you will definitely get in ( all this is based on the seniors experiences, rankings and other information supplied by the university authorities ). In my case I applied to two supposedly safe universities OSU and UTAH. Two dream universities UIUC and CMU. Two probable universities GTECH and Purdue.

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