Discussion on Cornell University

Get real-time information about Cornell University from seniors who have gone through the whole process.

This webinar session will be hosted by Shantanu Kallakuri, who is currently pursuing his MS (thesis) in Materials Science from Cornell University. He will volunteer an hour of his time to answer your queries. Before Cornell, Shantanu completed his undergraduate studies, M.P.C from St. Patrick’s College, Hyderabad. Then he availed a dual degree B.E. Chemical Engineering, M.S. Chemistry from BITS Pilani. Post this, he worked as a Process Engineer for Jord International, Singapore. After that, he undertook Research Assistant job at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During his masters, he secured Graduate Teaching Assistantships over different time periods.

Here is how the Senior AMA works:

  1. Ask Qs now: You can start asking your questions right away right here.
  2. Answers via video: On Saturday, October 12th, at 5 PM, Shantanu will answer your Qs via a webinar, which you can join here.
  3. Answers transcribed for future reference: We will transcribe Shantanu’s answers and post them in response to your questions on this page.

AMA~Cornell University

Hello, I am currently in my 4th year of bachelor of technology course with computer science. My CGPA is 3.3/4 GRE score is 306 (161 in quants and 145 in English) with 102 as TOEFL score.

Else then that I have participated in national and international competitions and have extremely good with extra-curricular activities. I have also published 3 research papers in journals like springer.

Do I have any chance of getting selected? Will my less marks in GRE and TOEFL affect my application?

Thank you in advance.

Dear all,
The AMA session scheduled on 11th of October, at 5 PM is postponed due to unforeseen circumstances.

New date of the session is 12th October, at 5 PM.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

The AMA session for 11th October is postponed. The new date is Saturday 12th, at 5 PM.

What’s the meeting code for the app?

What’s the meeting code?





You availed teaching assistant ships…could you provide some tips for TA/RA?

Is it necessary to take MS thesis if you want to go for phd after masters?

Posting it on attendee’s behalf

I have 9 years of experience in it industry .Have 330 in gre and toefl 110.

Does cold emailing really produce results?

I am in my third year chemical engineering student. Even my interests are similar to ones you mentioned. I have focussed on chemistry part of semiconductor synthesis and have adequate research in it. But I want to further work on semiconductors for Solar devices and so. How do i make this transition and approach professors for research internships in this field?

One important question, is USA a good option for MS? Lots of people are advising not to go to USA.

Posting it on attendee’s behalf

Are the jobs in US research oriented?I am from Mathematics background .I am working in R & D for a multinational corp but I think here everyting comes back to coding

I have research papers but they are not published yet. Should I put them in my CV?

Profile evaluation:

306 in GRE (161 in Quants 141 in English)
92 in TOEFL
3.3/4 CGPA
2 research Paper
good LOR and SOP
work from home experiance 1.5 yrs
internship for 6 weeks
8 major projects


A couple of things are to be considered. First would be what field you are applying for. I believe in your case you will be opting for Computer Science. You need to be clear about the bracket of colleges, your course, your ambitions and likewise. The opportunities for jobs are not scarce. You just need to apply. What College it is does not matter as these are all subjective terms and the companies don’t care about that.

Your GPA score is about 3.3 / 4 so I would suggest that you convert it. If it’s a 10, keep it that. 3.3 is decent in the US, it’s considered slightly above average. It’s certainly not a bad GPA. Your quant score is 161 and that’s a good score. However, if you want Top- 10, I would suggest that you can try to improve your quants because in the Top 10 or 15, they expect you to be strong in quants. 160+ is a good score but if you have any other paper and you can emphasize on it then that would still help.

In English, it actually depends on the programme you are applying for. In programmes like History or Literature English would be important. Usually, the Engineering disciplines care more about the quants. So 160-165 are good scores. 165+ is definitely good and I don’t think you need more than that. Regarding the profile, 102 TOEFL score is fine. Most colleges require 95-100, so that’s fine. If you’re aiming for Top 5 or 10, then you can try to retake the GRE. To be frank, it’s a good score and you have a chance but it depends on how good your research work and publications are. I know a student with a score of 307 who got into Stanford for Masters in mechanical engineering. He had a good score in quants and good research work, so these things play an important role. Extracurriculars are good if you have them on your profile. Colleges don’t really place much emphasis on it unless it is major extra- curricular achievement as they are focused more on research and what you can bring to the college as a whole and your personality which comes out in your SOP. So I would suggest that you can mention your extracurriculars in your SOP as it is meant for that.


For TA/RA, those of you who have some research experience, I would suggest looking up for professors who are working in the same field and applying to them. You can write emails called ‘Cold emailing’. I too had to do the same. I sent 200-300 e-mails and I got sufficient responses, though most of them were in negative. The ones who responded in the affirmative, I ended up working with them. So those of you who have research experience, I would suggest that you keep applying.

For those of you who don’t have research experience and want to take it slow, apply to labs and then emphasize on any work experience that you may have in the same field. In case you don’t have work experience then you can email on the basis of your performance in courses that you have taken up in college. Emphasize on any projects that you may have done in college in the email. It also depends on what University it is as a lot of universities don’t offer TA/RA to Masters students. Some do, and some reserve it for PhD students so it is also subject to that.