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GRAD SCHOOL

APPING
Introduction
2
MS vs PhD
MS
Duration - 1-2 years
Focus more on Coursework
Difficult to get funding initially,
need to compete with PhD
students for RA, TA
appointments
Ideal for students interested in a
short stint at graduate school to
improve their knowledge in a
particular area
Easy to get jobs and has much
more flexibility with respect to
roles
Serves as a good primer for a
PhD program
Low opportunity cost
PhD
Duration 5-6 years
Focus is more on research
PhD admits almost always come
with full funding
Ideal for students interested in
Academic/Industrial research
positions
Difficult to find jobs as focus is
much more narrow (specially
after coming back to India)
Even after PhD, academic
positions are highly competitive
in US
Higher opportunity cost
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PROFILE BUILDING
4
WHAT MAKES AN IMPRESSIVE
PROFILE?

GRE and TOEFL scores
Statement of Purpose
Letters of Recommendation
Research experience
Internships
GPA

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ALL ABOUT GRE
GRE Score is one of the prerequisites for applying to many
universities across the world.
GRE scores are used by admissions or fellowship panels to
supplement your undergraduate records, recommendation letters
and other qualifications for graduate-level study.
GRE score is valid for 5 years from test date.
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WHAT DOES GRE TEST?
Verbal Reasoning Measures your ability to analyze and evaluate
written material and synthesize information obtained from it, analyze
relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize
relationships among words and concepts.
Quantitative Reasoning Measures problem-solving ability,
focusing on basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and
data analysis.
Analytical Writing Measures critical thinking and analytical writing
skills, specifically your ability to articulate and support complex
ideas clearly and effectively.

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GRE PATTERN
(Quant-170, Verbal-170 and AWA -6).
2 sections each of quant and verbal.
1 experimental section of quant/verbal.
Analytical Writing- 2 essays.
Each section is of 30 minutes.



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WHAT IS A GOOD SCORE?
Your target score should be 330+ .
Scoring 170 in Quant is easy and desirable.
Anything above 160 in Verbal is an impressive score and this
should be your target.
AWA score should be more than 4.

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QUANT SECTION
It is all 10th grade math.
All you need to do is be careful during exam.
You will have ample time to do the whole section twice if you are
quick.
Need not worry much about this part unless you are very weak in
general math.

10
VERBAL SECTION
All your preparation is for this section
Strengthen your vocabulary skills
Barrons word list is The Bible.


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AWA
It consists of two essays- Analyze an argument and Analyze an
issue.
You should be able to think and write coherently in a limited time
frame.
Read as many sample AWAs as possible to get an idea about the
way of presentation.
Practice the topics given in the ETS website.


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WHEN TO START?
Start mugging your word lists at least three months before test date.
Try to finish the list before a month and then start practicing
intensively.
Spend at least 1 hour daily a month before exam on GRE touch.
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Practice, Practice and Practice!
Online tests:
Majortests.com
TCYonline.com
GRE POWERPREP software from the ETS website.
Take at least 4 full length practice tests.
Most important thing- Patience to take a 4 hour online test.
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TOEFL
TOEFL, Test of English as Foreign Language, is a test of English
proficiency for those applicants whose native language is not
English.
TOEFL score is valid for two years.
TOEFL is taken in three formats iBT, CBT and paper based test.
iBT is the one most preferred.


15
TOEFL PATTERN
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HOW MUCH TO SCORE?
The full score is 120 and there is no reason you can not get a score
above 110 if you are good with your secondary level English and
confident on the day of examination.
This test doesnt determine your competency. Its is sufficient if you
clear the cut off which may vary from 80 to 114.
TOEFL scores matter when you apply for a TAship.
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Practice modules can be downloaded from ETS website once you
register for the test.
Take a full length practice test so that you are comfortable with the
pattern.
Its just simple school level reading, listening, writing and speaking.
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Statement of Purpose
The Statement of Purpose is possibly the most important
component of your graduate school application packet.
This is your opportunity to inform and convince the admissions
committee that you are the right candidate for the program and you
have what it takes to succeed.

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SOP Tips: Before you Begin
Visit the graduate program Web site for information about faculty
and their research, courses offered, graduate student profiles, and
student support and professional development activities.
This will help you get a sense of the culture and priorities of the
program, what they may be looking for in a potential student, and if
it is a good fit for you.
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SOP Tips: Items to Consider
Be specific about your interest and knowledge particular to this
program.
Pick out the relevant facts about your academic and professional
interests that make you a good fit with the program and institution to
which you are applying. (A statement of purpose is not a place to list
everything you have done!!!)
Mention extra-curricular achievements to illustrate additional
dimensions of your personality.
Demonstrate curiosity, creativity, enthusiasm for learning, a capacity
for teamwork, ability to think independently, and pride in your work.
Using brief anecdotes is a good way to make your points.

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SOP Tips: Items to Consider
Explain (briefly) any incongruity in your application material; GRE
scores or a low semester grade.
Stay within the page limit specified by the graduate program. If
there are no specifications, limit yourself to two pages.
Be succinct and clear.
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Personal Statement
Discuss how your personal background informs your decision to
pursue a graduate degree.
Include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social
experiences, challenges, community service, outreach activities or
opportunities relevant to your academic journey.
Explain how your life experiences contribute to the social,
intellectual, or cultural diversity within your chosen field
Explain how you might serve educationally underrepresented
segments of society with your degree.
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Before you Submit
Let at least two people read your statement, preferably a faculty
member and an academic advisor, and ask them to provide
feedback.
Proofread, proofread, proofread to ensure there are no grammatical
or spelling errors. Do not depend on your word processor to do this
for you.!!!!
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Letter of Recommendation
Generally grad schools ask for 3 LORs.
Make sure you mix and match your referees!!!!
Preferably go for your project guide, your internship professor.
Pick only those who will definitely put in a good word for you.
Choose professors who belong to the same field that you are
applying to.
For recommendations choose professors in the order of Professor,
Associate Professor and Assistant Professor if they all know you
equally well.

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Grade Point Average
The most important factor in your application.
Your GPA will decide the Tier of the university you can get
into.
High ranking universities typically accept only department
rankers.
But a high GPA does not in itself guarantee admission into a
top rated program as the entire application pool comprises of
toppers.
An excellent GPA is necessary but not at all sufficient on its
own.
Most universities will not only look at your final GPA but your
grades in courses relevant to your area of study.
Benefits of maintaining a good GPA are :
Easier selection into internship programs.
Easy to get desired projects under faculty of choice.
Basically gives you an upper hand.

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Research Experience
Research Experience the one thing which can account for your
low grades and less GRE Score.
Common mistake of students : Doing lot of projects but without
having a synchronization among them.
Try to keep a single area of research and do multiple projects in that
area.
For eg. If you choose Signal Processing then try doing all your
internship's and BTP etc. in the same area.
Research experience can mainly be accomplished by doing
internships in good organizations during the summers of 2nd and
3rd year and by doing projects with the Professors in our Institute.
The crux is Right from your first year, you should always be
working on a project!
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Internships
They play a major role in defining your research experience.
They are one amazing source for providing you excellent
recommendation letters as the researcher you work with will have a
much better idea about your research work as compared to an
ordinary professor (may be having a big name) who just taught you
a course.
Internships to be mainly done during the 2nd and 3rd year
summers. You can also take up a month long winter internship
during Dec.
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Internships
Foreign internships in a good renowned lab can be a boon for the
grad school application. Many times student who do good
internships in a university get direct admission by their internship
mentor and a research assistantship.
The best time to do a publication is during the internship.
Publications can be done in a J ournal or a Conference. J ournal
publication has a higher impact but it takes a long time for review.
Doing publications in international conference is less time
consuming.
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Publications
The people you are competing with for admissions will almost
certainly have multiple publications at the time of application.
Its a good idea to publish your very first paper in an international
conference being held at some of the IITs/IISc. The peer review
would be lenient and you will get a flavor of the process involved.
J ournal papers especially in high impact peer-reviewed journals are
really valued by the admissions committee. However the review
process is very rigorous and time consuming. Also the work should
be worthy of being published in a journal.

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Patents
IIT Bhubaneswar has now fully functional Patenting infrastructure.
This is the ONE thing that can make your application standout and
is what can get you an admit into a top tier university even with
average grades.
Intellectual property earn universities a lot of money and they want
to take people who have the potential to create intellectual property.
Look for problems around you and think of innovative solutions.
Such work can lead you to patents.
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Suggested Timeline


When to do what?
How exactly can you build the ideal profile?
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1
st
Year Students (Optimal)
Research Experience: You should always be working on a research
project with some faculty member. Try to publish your first paper at
the end of 4th Semester.
Internships: Try to undertake research internships during both
summers. Both internships should lead to at least conference
papers.
BTP: Submit a paper related to your BTP by Nov in the 7th
Semester and mention this paper as submitted/under review in
your application.
GRE/TOEFL: Preparation should start in 3rd semester and the test
should be taken at the beginning of the 6th semester. You should be
done with all standardized tests before your go for your intern. Slow
& steady preparation will help you achieve a high score.


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1
st
Year Students (Optimal)
University Scouting and Contacting POI: Start looking for
universities that would be reachable for your profile and match with
your interests during your 3rd year summer intern. Contact
professors and ask them about available graduate student positions
in their groups. If they encourage you to apply, its a good sign.
SOP: Once back from your intern, spend the first 2 months of the 7
th

semester drafting your SOP. Its an iterative process. So give it all
the attention.
Now you are ready to send applications during Oct-Dec.


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2
nd
Year Students (Sub-
Optimal)
Research Experience: You should always be working on a research
project with some faculty member. Try to publish your first paper at
the end of 5th Semester.
Internships: Try to undertake research internships during both
summers. Both internships should lead to at least conference
papers.
BTP: Submit a paper related to your BTP by Nov in the 7th
Semester and mention this paper as submitted/under review in
your application.
GRE/TOEFL: Preparation should start in summer during the intern
and the test should be taken at the end of the 6th semester. You
should be done with all standardized tests before your go for your
intern. Slow steady preparation will help you achieve a high score.


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2
nd
Year Students (Sub-
Optimal)
University Scouting and Contacting POI: Start looking for
universities that would be reachable for your profile and match with
your interests during your 3rd year summer intern. Contact
professors and ask them about available graduate student positions
in their groups. If they encourage you to apply, its a good sign.
SOP: Once back from your intern spend the first 2 months of the 7th
semester drafting your SOP. Its an iterative process so give it all the
attention.
Now you are ready to send applications during Oct-Dec.


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3
rd
Year Students (Critical)
Research Experience: You should always be working on a research
project with some faculty member. Try to publish your first paper in
the 7th Semester using the work you did in the summer.
BTP: Submit a paper related to your BTP by Nov/Dec in the 7th
Semester and mention this paper as submitted/under review in
your application.
GRE/TOEFL: Preparation should start in summer during the intern
and the test should be taken at the beginning of the 7th semester
(Latest by October). You guys have very little time and lots of work,
so time management is critical.
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3
rd
Year Students (Critical)
University Scouting and Contacting POI: Start looking for
universities that would be reachable for your profile and match with
your interests during your intern itself. Contact professors and ask
them about available graduate student positions in their groups. If
they encourage you to apply, its a good sign.
SOP: After you are done with your tests, you can spend the month
of Nov drafting your SOP but will have very little time to complete all
applications.
Now you are ready to send applications during Dec.
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University Selection
Classify universities into 3 groups based on
your profile.
Ambitious universities.
Moderate universities.
Safe universities.

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Factors for university selection
Research
Area
Initially its important to see if there is faculty in the area in which you plan
to apply to the university.
Check if active research going on in the area you want to apply to.

Reputation
US News and World Report
QS, Times Higher Education Rankings and NRC Ranking.
You can see other points such as employer reputation etc. in QS
rankings.
Funding
The FAQ section of the Department grad school is the best place to look
for funding information as its the most commonly asked question.
You can filter away the universities (not providing funding) if you dont
have funds on your own and are looking for funding .
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Factors for university selection
Cutoffs of GRE
and CGPA
Check for the cutoffs of GRE, TOEFL and GPA after the above steps to select the
universities where you wish to apply.
Many universities outside USA wont be requiring GRE score in case your score is less.

The GATE
advantage
GATE exam can help you get into universities like NUS, NTU and in some European
universities.
Course
structure
Check the course credits and time taken to complete the program.
Masters Thesis and Non Thesis
Thesis preferable for research oriented students. Advantage getting an Assistantship.
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Factors for university selection
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J ob
Opportunities &
Salary Statistics

No campus placements like in IIT. Campus fairs are
common.
Tier 1 universities :- $75k-$125k per year
Tier 2 universities :- $50k-$75k per year
Location
The location of university is important in the sense that if
you are in a main city the job opportunities are more .
Some students might want to take a look into climatic
factors.( although the percentage is less).
Tier I colleges (US)
MIT
Stanford University
Harvard U
U of California, Berkeley
Caltech
Georgia Institute of Technology
U of Michigan, Ann Arbor
UIUC
Purdue U
Cornell U
Princeton U
U of Texas at Austin
Carnegie Mellon U
U Penn
Yale U
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Tier II colleges (US)
J ohns Hopkins U
Penn State U
Northwestern U
UCLA
Texas A&M U
U of Wisconsin-Madison
Virginia Tech
UCSD
U of Minnesota-Twin Cities
U of Maryland-College Park
Ohio State U
UCSB
Columbia U
Brown U
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Tier III colleges (US)
U of Colorado-Boulder
UC-Irvine
Michigan State U
UC-Davis
Boston U
Iowa State U
U of Pittsburgh
U of Utah
Syracuse U
U of Massachusetts Amherst
U of Buffalo - SUNY
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Tier I colleges (Europe)
U of Cambridge
Imperial College London
U of Oxford
ETH Zurich
EPFL
RWTH Aachen
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
IST Austria
U of Edinburgh
TU Delft
TU Munich

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Tier II colleges (Europe)
TU Dresden
TU Berlin
KU Leuven
U of Manchester
Polytechnic U of Milan
Polytechnic U of Turin
Cranfield U
Ecole Centrale de Paris
TU Eindhoven
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
U of Warwick
ParisTech
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Tier III colleges (Europe)
TU Freiburg
U of Hamburg
U of Bonn
U of Southampton
U of Wien
Loughborough U
U of Leeds
U of Stuttgart
Polytechnic U of Catalunya
U of Twente
Leibnitz U Hannover
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Tier I colleges (Canada)
U of British Columbia
McGill U
U of Waterloo
U of Toronto
U of Western Ontario
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Tier II colleges (Canada)
U of Alberta
U of Calgary
U of Montreal
Simon-Fraser U
U of Quebec
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Tier I colleges (Others)
KAIST
NUS
NTU
U of Tokyo
U of Melbourne
Tokyo Institute of Technology
U of Sydney
HKUST
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Lesser Known EE Grad
Schools
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Rochester Institute of Technology (has very good co-op program)
Northeastern University (good placements)
University of Cincinnati (good funding and placements)
University of Delaware (good research in power)
University of Waterloo (well reputed CS program)
Iowa State University (known for Embedded Systems)
Lesser Known CS Grad
Schools
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University of Utah (overall rank low but ranked 2nd in nation for
game designing)
Cleveland State University, Duke University (known for algorithms,
AI)
University of Nebraska Omaha (known for Cloud Computing)
Indian University Bloomington, University of Illinois, Chicago (known
for data mining)
Lesser Known Mechanical Grad
Schools
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Clemson University, MSU, University of Stuttgart (known for
automotive engineering)
RPI, Virginia Tech (known for robotics)
University of Missouri at Rolla, University of Minnesota, University
of Alberta (known for CFD)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (known for material science)
Cranfield University (known for aerospace)
University of Southampton (known for acoustics)

Lesser Known Civil Grad
Schools
University of Wisconsin - extremely good structural, water resources
and geotechnical programs.
North Carolina State University - Overall good ROI school. Good
geo-tech and hydraulic engg. programs, has a good ratio of funded
masters students.
University of Minnesota Good structural program. Relatively lower
fees.
SUNY Buffalo- Good structural and geo-tech programs. Lots of
Indians. High ratio of funded students.
University of Florida - Good Transportation engg. program, Low
fees.
University of Colorado, Boulder - Good Hydraulics and Structural
Program. Lots of Indians here and funding is good.
Lehigh University - Very good structural and geo-tech program. Very
good profs in civil dept. But high fees and low funding at masters
level.
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Return on Investment
Lets you assess if going in a debt to attend your program is
justified.
You should take into account the total cost of the program which
includes tuition, housing, food, health services, relocation cost and
miscellaneous expenses.
You would need to show enough funding for the first year of your
program to get a VISA.
Take into account the interest on the amount you borrow (loan) and
the taxation on your earnings to estimate the payout period.
A payout period of 2-3 years is typical but it also depends on the
program.
Always make calculations considering the worst case scenarios.

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Sample Calculation
Lets say your have been accepted to a Tier-1 program and would need to
pay around 30-40 Lacs for the entire program duration.
You can earn back a part of the cost (5-7 Lacs) during the summer intern if
there is a provision for it in your program.
Most students are able to secure RA/TA position at these universities after
the first semester.
Average salaries after passing out would be in the range of 35 -60 Lacs per
annum.
Considering that you manage your personal expenses in about 10 Lacs per
annum in US, you can easily get rid of the entire debt in 1.5 years.
What will remain is your qualification and that will entitle you to better
career opportunities in the future.
However, this does not mean that going into a debt to attend a program is
always a good idea. Such decisions are very program specific. US job
market is not at its best even though graduates from Tier-1 programs are
always in demand. You need to consider your long term career plans before
you take such a decision.
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Number of Universities
Ideally people choose to apply to 7-8 universities but we would
suggest you to apply to anywhere between 10-15 universities.
When in doubt let the Law of Large Numbers work its magic!
Applying to more universities is costly but in the end it might result
in a funded admit which means you would not have any financial
burden.
Never send applications to only top rated programs, selection
procedure is erratic at best and you never know what exactly they
are looking for.
Applying to more programs lets you try out your luck at all ambitious
places without neglecting the safe programs.
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Managing Finances for
Application
GRE 10,000
TOEFL 10,000
Application Fee 100$ per program (average)
Additional cost for sending test scores 40$ per program
Obtaining Transcripts 200 per copy
Sending Transcripts 1,200 per program
Be prepared to spent around 100,000 to apply to around 10-12
programs in US.
We believe this is money well spent, so dont worry about it. You will
earn back a lot more if you get into a good program.
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The
Application
Process
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Ordering Transcripts
Check the programme website on transcript
requirements (official/ attested/soft copy)
Be careful in calculating and ordering the transcripts.
Some universities ask for one transcript and some
others ask for a couple of transcripts
Fill the provisional transcript form and get a DD of Rs.
200 to order a transcript at academic section
Alteast keep a margin of 2 weeks in mailing the
transcripts before the deadline
Mailing services - FedEx delivers in 2 working
days(Rs. 990), India Post delivers in 7 working
days(Rs. 750), DHL delivers in 5 working days(Rs.
1200)
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Submission of Application
Dont delay it to the last moment
Meeting deadlines shows you are responsible and can follow
instructions
Order GRE and TOEFL scores atleast 15 days before the
application deadline for US universities and alteast 3 weeks before
deadline for other universities
Try to complete the application atleast 2 weeks before the
deadline as some university application allows you to send
Recommendation letter requests only after submitting the
applicaiton.

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Submission of Application
(Contd)
Its better to complete the SOP for an university at least 3 weeks
before the deadline
Keep a separate folder for each college
Maintain a backup of all files and folders.


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Scholarships
Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation Scholarship
J N Tata Endowment Scholarship
Erasmus Mundus Scholarship
Fulbright Scholarship
DAAD Scholarships
Mitacs Scholarship

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Rolling Admits
Committee does not wait for application deadline to start admitting
students.
It always helps to apply early to a place that has rolling admits.
This will maximize your chances of being accepted.
Georgia Tech has rolling admit policy. The decision dates are highly
uncertain. You might get accepted to the program even before the
application deadline.
Rolling admits are purely need based, contacting faculty in places
that offer rolling admits is generally a good idea.
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Contacting Professors
Try to get in touch with your POI via email before you submit your
application. Having a dialogue will at least prompt him to review
your application with a little more interest.
Read up on his research so that your mail sounds more intellectual
and he feels you are well suited for the program.
Do not solicit professors. It might worsen your chances.
Certain Tier-1 universities discourage contacting professors before
being admitted (ex-MIT, Stanford). Such information can be found in
the FAQ section on their website.
Faculty in these places do not take admission decision. It is rather
taken by a committee. Please stick to such instructions!

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Additional information
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Presenting yourself
68
Make your personal website (use Google
apps/Amazon) and present details of your
research experiences, projects/internships, CV
in a sophisticated manner.
Include the link of this website in your SOP
and CV.
Apply to those grad schools where there are a
good number of profs doing research in your
area of interest. This way you can maximize
your probability of acceptance.
Show intent for a PhD in your MS application.

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Once admitted, get as much information as
you can about university beforehand.
Contact the grad students who are there and
inquire about the program, funding situation
and job prospects through Face Book groups.
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Admissions deferral
If you have been offered admission and you
wish to join after an year, you have the option
to defer your admission.
The deferral policy is different for each
university.
Go through the FAQs in the graduate
admissions websites for exact details.
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Counselor
Mainly helps you in selecting universities
according to your profile.
Can help you in editing your SOP.
Helps you in managing deadlines.
Helps you in keeping track of your application
packets.
Helps in Visa Application.



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Suggested Counselors
The Chopras
EduCare

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Resources
www.edulix.com
www.thegradcafe.com
www.stupidsid.com
www.msinus.com
www.mastersportal.eu
www.usnews.com
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Personal Experiences
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