University of Florida



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@vishvik …The recording quality is very poor.
Instead of that, we will transcribe the conversation and post it here on this page itself.

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It’s a bit rushed. I think mid-October should be fine. But then you will really have to rush in your application because applying for a college, getting GRE, TOFEL is one thing but most of the time goes in like statement of purpose, getting letters of recommendations and all that stuff. So I would recommend right after you give your GRE, get all these documents sorted out. Because December is a very close deadline for UFL and many other universities.

Once your done with your GRE. Start preparing your SOP, LOR as well.


Oh yeah this was a really confusing thing even back in 2015, so as far as I recall primary difference was the core courses that were offered in liberal arts, computer science and in the college of engineering, computer science. In the college of engineering one of the core requirements was PLP ( programming language principles), I think that was waved off in silas. And there was speculation at the time,that they would get rid of the computer science program all together in liberal arts and science college, and only keep in college of engineering. So I think it’s better if you check the website for the latest information on that.


I used 2 books. One was the official guide to GRE, I think there were 2 or 4 tests in it, I don’t remember properly, before preparation I just gave one of the tests to see how well as it would be, so that would be my benchmark,and then I started the preparation and then 2 days before the actual test I gave the second test. And another book was Manhattan five pounds GRE. So there is a very thick book called Manhattan five LB which is a sort of question bank for all the sections that GRE has for vocabulary and for cons. There was real effort because after giving my first test from my official guide I realised what my weak points are and I used 5 LB book to work on the weak points and improve.

I studied in march, gave my GRE in September so roughly 6 months.
I actually followed a rigorous schedule for this, because I knew I had very limited time in my hand. So after giving my first test without any preparation at all and what needs more working. I started working on those points early on, I would divide my time. So lets say, I’m giving 2 hours a day. I would devote 80% of the time to the weaker things and it works on, and 20% of the time on strong ones. But as time went on, I would optimize the ratio sort of equalizing and then work equally on both sides. Because as I was practicing a lot, I was getting better on the things I was worse on. I needed a special preparation schedule for verbal because there were a lot of words that I had to learn, the usages of. There was one resource called Magoosh, which was really helpful for me to work on my verbal skills, especially on vocabulary. They had their free app that gives you access to lot of flash cards with regards to vocabulary preparation. That was really helpful.

And then I guess after 3 months I was getting a little more disciplined in terms of my preparation and I use to stop working at Infosys and leave work at 5 pm sharp, and sit there in the library for 3 hours straight without any distractions and just concentrating on studying.


I don’t think so but one thing you have to keep in mind, right after you come here you will have to get an internship, job is the priority of most people. So I would advise that right after you come here, you start preparing with data structures and algorithms as soon as possible. Practice problems on lead codes, hackering, gigs or that kind of stuff. So these are different platforms for people who have not heard of these, these are platforms that help you solve coding questions. Coding questions are something that’s asked in interview or for full time jobs for software developer or data scientist roles. So if you don’t have work experience start preparing on these topics as soon as you land here and you should be in good shape to apply.
I’m not saying you can get jobs based on your academics, what i’m saying is at least most of the big companies look for the type and number of projects you have done during your undergraduate or masters would really reflect what kind of things your interested in, what kind of things are well aligned in for what they are looking for. So as long as you can do that after coming here it doesn’t matter if you do have a prior work experience. It helps a lot in some cases at least, as I said if your applying for a specialist role it does help to have a prior experience. But if your just applying to a vanilla software developer role in any good tech company, as long as you highlight your project really well and work on your data section algorithms doesn’t matter. Because the very first round you get in any interview would be the coding round, if you don’t cross the coding round no matter how much work experience you have you wont be able to go to the next round.


I don’t really have an opinion about Rochester. From a colleague I know that most of the universities in northern New York, they don’t have their own career fair. What they do is they have a single career fair somewhere near new york city which is a little far from Rochester and it’s not for one university, it’s like for all the universities in this particular area. So if your going for such a career fair you would have a lot of people from different universities not just from yours. So that’s the disadvantage in my opinion. But when you come to UF, UF has its own career fair on its own campus twice a year and only university affriding students are invited in career fair.

To be honest I don’t have much idea about the embedded systems but I think in very first semester you get to choose the courses you like and there are grad advice that are available to help you make you take good decisions on this. And I think they would be more informed than I’m with respect to electrical engineering embedded systems.


Academic achievement award is something that’s common in the university of florida. As far as I remember, many people from my batch got it as well. So try to get more scholarship that is more than the regular academic achievement award. Because that’s the thing that everybody pretty much get, especially foreign students like us. So try to get better scholarship from UFL.

Popular scholarships from UFL:
Department scholarships, there are 2 specific scholarships that I know, CISC, international students scholarship. I don’t know the exact names but these are the two specific categories that you can apply for.

Yeah there are 2. One happens in fall and one happens in spring. You can attend these both. There are plenty of good companies that would come around. Companies like Amazon, Bloomberg, Microsoft. These companies come pretty much for every single career fair. So there are many other and there are some local good tech companies come there too. Those would be good for internships but for full time you can apply for big companies. Other than these two, career fairs there is an annual hackathon that happens every February or march. In these many good companies also come in and look on the projects people work on. And I have heard of people getting offers at these hackathons too. So it’s a good platform/opportunity.


Data Science, only if your willing to put in extra efforts, because at least the Data Science in UFL is very involving it would require you to put in additional effort rather than you do in without specialization. That being said, if your really focussed on doing Data Science please make in mind that your project perspectives should also be narrow down to a specific set of rules. Consider a math here, if a 100 companies are giving you software developer roles, there would be 30-40 companies that would be willing to give you data science roles. On top of that there would be very few companies that would give you data science roles and sponsor for your h1p. so with US universities and US career, there is always one thing that dawns my mind is that if the companies sponsor your h1p. if they’re not your scope is very limited in that regard.

It is good to have the universities located in a place where there are good companies around because those would be the companies that would be attending your career fairs on a regular basis or hosting events like hackathon on a regular basis. There are some people who get offers from mid level universities from California but they choose to go there not because the education is on top notch but because of the location. There are tons of tech companies where people would get jobs fairly easier and being somewhere in midwest US. So location is really important in that regard. Location vs rank- go for location if the rank is not more than like top 75 out of 100, According to US news ranking.

For TOEFL I had two and a half, three weeks of preparation, not much. And the only material I used for the preparation was the official guide to TOFEL. No other material whatsoever. And that book was more than enough for TOFEL preparation. At that time you would have given your GRE, so you should have a very good grasp on the verbal portion of it, which should be more than enough for your TOFEL preparation. Resources would be book and practising. I gave 2 weeks time, I focussed on speaking more because im a kind of introverted and didn’t have a lot of speaking experience. I use to practise half an hour to 45 minutes every day, speaking on TOEFL topics/ questions, record them, playback and see where I need to improve.


If you have just applied then you wouldn’t get an UFL id, once you get an admit only then you will be gett an UFL id.
Write to the direction committee directly.

That’s a good question. There is one place where having prior work experience might help if you get less GRE scores because many of the universities not only look at the GRE scores. They look at your overall profile, how well is your SOP written, how well your LOR is, they take a holistic view of your profile that includes your experience as well. So if the threshold is like 315-320 and you score 312, 4,5 points down the line it would help to have a good experience.

Thank you for your responses Bhaveek

Not really, as far as the universities are concerned, they do give more preference to Quants but they expect a threshold in verbal. So its like if you score 170 in quants and your verbal is really low, you wouldn’t still get an admit. So verbal is of course your score booster, but what they expect is a threshold and you have to make sure that you score a decent in that like 155/160.

Frankly I wouldn’t know. I know the professors involved in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence and they are doing good research work.i don’t have a personal experience of how good it is. But from the experience of interacting with the professor and knowing what they do, I can say that their researches are going pretty well especially with professors like DC. Wang and Anand Rangarajan. These guys are doing really good research works at UF.

I live in Boston, so any US is quite nearby, I would say UFL would be better, in terms of the overall experience, location wise Boston is way better as compared to florida, agreed. But in terms of professors, education I would go with UF over NEU. Because the kind of experience I had with respect to education and learning at UF, I wouldn’t compare it to NEU.

There are pretty much equal number of Indian students at UFL. In my batch there were 90 -95 students I guess that included entire computer science masters in college of engineering and liberal arts. And in ECE it was similar number of Indian students.


Yes, I did take help from a consultancy for my SOP, LOR preparation. Mainly because I didn’t have time and all the skills to write such letters. It did help. They also helped me in filtering down the universities that I have to apply for according to my profile. You have to spend some money but it did help in your time and effort.
SOP was really straight forward. Because I was getting help from my consultancy, they gave me a list of things I have to write on and I would just answer that. The overall SOP preparation took about a little over a week. LOR, since I had prior experience I took 2 LORs from my undergraduate university professors and 1 LOR from my senior manager from Infosys.


Good question. In terms of finding an internship, it would be a little more challenging, not that great. Because the criteria here is you need to have at least 1 semester done before you start your internship. So if your starting in spring you won’t have time, what i’m saying is,after spring when everybody will be already doing internship you would see how to study you won’t be able to apply for an internship. so that’s the only disadvantage. In terms of finding a full time it’s not that big because you will have 3 or 4 full semesters when you will apply for full time. And for full time roles, the oral scope of application timeline is very wide as compared to internships.


Use this link to find the recording of the session

@Salil_Singh, Thanks a ton! I will make good use of the recording.

That’s motivational, Bhaveek! Thanks for the pointers and your valuable time in transcribing your answers