How to Apply to Graduate School

Deciding Where to Apply

  1. What areas of computing interest me?
  2. What type of degree am I considering? MS? PhD? Why?
  3. What type of academic climate do I want to study in?
  4. Do I have any geographic preferences? Any restrictions?
  5. What are my academic credentials? (GPA, research experience, test scores, communication skills)
  6. Who is on the faculty at the school I am applying to? Who would I like to be my advisor?

Preparing Application Materials (Pay attention to deadlines)

EVERY program is different, but most want: Application (basic contact info), Transcripts, Letters of recommendation (2-3), Statement of Purpose (Goals/Research/Intent). Resume, Test scores (GRE, TOEFL/IELTS), Fee.

Engaging Reference Letter Writers

  • Ask “Would you be able to provide a positive recommendation?”
  • Give them materials (transcript, resume, statement of purpose, chart of schools, deadlines, how to submit a letter) at least 2-3 weeks before first deadline.

Taking GREs

  • Take spring junior/fall senior years, retake if needed. If non-native English speaker take TOEFL, TOEIC

Finalizing Applications

Pay attention to deadlines, follow-up with letter writers, report test scores, request official transcripts

Financing Your Graduate Study

After application, apply for financing options like teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships (NSF Graduate fellowship), other grants

Evaluating Offers

Spend time researching programs, visit the schools, meet faculty in your interest area(s), meet current grad students/alumni and ask about their experiences

Making the Final Decision

You will likely do well at any of top choices, make decision and inform schools, write thanks notes to letter writers, CELEBRATE!