Yugali - You can search this online I always kind of, my first core is CSranking.org, on CSranking.org you can see the various college positions, things like and within computer science, you can also select which colleges top in networking, which colleges top in databases or what is the best college for machine learning so you can actually select because no college is #1 for everything. A lot of colleges change for various things like, for example, Carnegie Mellon is the topmost college for machine learning so it’s something like that.
In 2017 when I was actually looking at these things Wisconsin–Madison was at top 15, it’s actually number 13 I think I remember with, it had a tie with UCSD but I wouldn’t even think twice about ranking of, I mean it really depends like it depends what your aiming for and what you want to study and how you want to study, where you want to live and things like that so here’s the thing UT Austin or Wisconsin–Madison I would say UT Austin, UCLA or Wisconsin–Madison I would say UCLA, Wisconsin–Madison or UMass Amherst I would say Wisconsin–Madison because they both are great colleges but Wisconsin–Madison has better funding scenario so it really depends on what you are choosing about, knowledge-wise they both are nearly the same but when it comes to other things like cost of living or whatever it is that is important for you then priorities change so reputation-wise I will put UCLA, UT Austin, UC Berkeley, UCSD again if you love California, of course, UCSD is great but if you think about computer systems and things like that then Wisconsin–Madison is better and so I think it’s things like that.
The University of Washington Seattle is amazing so it really depends on what college you are comparing against but on recruiters like I said Wisconsin–Madison the fact that you are from Wisconsin–Madison is good enough for them to actually look at your resume but what happens after that is really dependent on your profile and what you do there.
Hey that looks amazing so awesome kudos to you for doing so much so planned right from the first year because a lot of people don’t do that, I didn’t do that but okay so here is the thing now that you have a very good profile, your next step is to write it very well to your SOP should be very good so that whatever you have mentioned there should be expressed in a very nice way so a very good SOP right now along with a good LORs so Wisconsin–Madison requires three or two LORs and since you are still a college student the LORs should be directly from your professors so if somebody like your dean or somebody, some senior professor could give you a good recommendation, talking about these projects and how they guided you and how you were a very good student would definitely make Wisconsin–Madison a safe admit for you but that’s the thing you have all the resources you really need to put them all together into a very good story or a very good picture so now it’s all in your hands to make it into a really nice story and prove to Wisconsin–Madison why they should really give you admit. I think you should also try only for traditional masters, I mean professional masters are generally given for students who have some sort of an industry expertise so think about it.
Yugali on how to decide colleges
Makes sense, so I don’t think my answer is very ideal because it’s super personal to me in the sense that I was very happy with my job at CISCO. I didn’t want to go to masters unless the college is really really good so I kind of didn’t plan on going to any safe colleges, my colleges were −I applied to UCSD, UT Austin, UMAS, Wisconsin–Madison, NCSU and Colorado Boulder and Stony Brook university.
While applying to colleges my other criteria were that the college should have either a very low fee or it should have good funding opportunities because again like I said masters was not a very desperate idea for me I had no reason to go there by any chance so I wanted to make sure I went to the best college and go and study without having to pay fees so that was the reason for my college selection, probably the reason why I took a month to really learn about all the colleges, what is their funding system, what is their fee system and what is your ranking and what about computer networking and systems courses and things like that so a lot of people suggest this to me, you should always apply to two ambitious colleges, four moderate colleges and two safe colleges honestly whatever you feel like and do whatever you believe in, it’s really difficult again, telling you to select colleges is almost like trying to buy you clothes without absolutely knowing what you like, what you wear and what suits you and simply throwing things at you so please believe in yourself and know your worth and apply to good colleges.
Please don’t apply to colleges that are not very good because it really affects your internship search. If you don’t work hard right now to apply to good colleges you will have to work unnecessarily super hard to get internships because many colleges do not have career fairs so by many colleges I mean not great colleges. All good colleges have career fairs so you should really apply to good colleges and do your research well.
So first I will answer about contacting professors so I heard really mixed opinion about that you know when I got my admit, the professor that I messaged only replied to me after I went to the United States, they didn’t reply to me when I was still in India and professors that I didn’t know about have actually emailed me about certain projects when I was still in India and if I was interested in being a part of the project so I think it depends on who that professor is and what is their position and what are their current funding availabilities like there will be a lot of professors who started out at Wisconsin–Madison 15 years ago etc who are tenured professors who have enough number of professors in their group and maybe they are not looking for new people to work on their projects, so it’s really a mixed thing.
In my personal opinion, I think if you frame your mail very politely and up to the point, straight to a good point then there is nothing wrong in showing your interest in the professor’s project through what I would suggest is please don’t just email them asking for funding or asking things like “Hey what projects do you have?” because their websites already have all the information of their projects so when you actually talk to a professor make sure you do your research, know exactly what you are trying to talk like for example the professor is doing a project abc then you better know everything about project abc and then ask the professor, “Hello sir, I heard about this project. It’s great and I would like to be a part of it.” something like that. There is nothing wrong even if they don’t reply back, don’t worry, they are super busy, they are so stressful they are always submitting to journals and stuff so it’s okay if they don’t respond to you but if you are still genuinely interested in them go back to that country, to the US and to the university go meet them and tell, “ sir I actually sent you a mail two months ago or two weeks ago.” and maybe after you leave them will they will check back and think “oh good, the guy actually came back and talked to me so he is really interested.” so that’s my suggestion.
About scholarships, honestly, it’s very disheartening a lot of these American scholarships that you need to apply to the US are first of all only for American nationalities and secondly if there are any scholarships they are only four or five for million students in India.
There is one SN Bose scholarships and things like that. I did look at them when I was applying but I guess I was too late. You really need to be extremely stellar to get those scholarships and generally a lot of these students get those scholarships when they are in their third year or something like that. So my knowledge about scholarships is pretty limited as of now and I think all of these scholarship searches should start when you are in your second year of undergrad because scholarships are easily given to great students and that can be the leverage to get for the scholarships later. if you are already working now or completed your fourth year there are very few scholarships that you might possibly get.
Thank you so much for this effort
So the frequency in Wisconsin–Madison is fall has about two to three fairs and they are major and computer science has three fairs in itself so about spring four fairs in total. The first three I am talking about are for entire engineering like mechanical, civil, biochemical, electrical everything along with computer science and there is special computer science fair that has every company, every CS major company that you can dream of, so that’s good. After that, there are a couple of, I think two or three career fairs in spring, I think they are kind of smaller but honestly, I don’t remember.
We only used to target the fall ones because fall ones are when the biggest companies come by. They are kind of aggressive in giving out employment because they always want the best people or something like that so you can say maybe in a whole year you will get five opportunities to bag an internship but a career fair is only like 50% of your job search, the other 50 % is open in the form of referrals, your own personal linked in search and your friends or seniors giving you links to job opportunities for example a lot of Wisconsin alumni send out emails from their companies telling things like “Hey we have a job role open, click here and apply” so really finding an internship is, getting the right platform to fund an internship is the least of your worries so only concentrate about cracking it.
So I understand that this question came from your heart and you are really frustrated to know about lifestyle here in the US and a lot of people always give you this answer like “Hey, depends on you”, but unfortunately that is how it is, it depends on you but still I would try to answer from my perspective and you can probably talk to more people. So here is the thing since you are working in India and you have a job and you seem pretty happy in India, think about this, apply to only colleges that will make your life better than the life you have in India. I was working in CISCO systems, I had a good salary, my parents were happy with whatever I was doing at that point I think. My mother was like “Go to US” or whatever but I never really cared about it that much. So personally I had great friends, I was very very happy in my job at least for the first one year and what I wanted in my life I have got it after my bachelors so till then it was happy.
Towards the end of my one year is when I started wanting a little bit more because CISCO being a multinational company, you get an opportunity to talk to a lot of customers outside India so I had phone calls with the American team and European team and there were a lot of things that started in me like “Their lifestyle is something I want to know a little bit more.” with the opportunities that I have gotten so far I can do a little bit more than what I can do now and there are the thoughts that started in me like “Hey wait a minute I want to go to the US.” I was very sure that I will try my best, 100% or 99.09% to not spend my own money for my masters. I did take a loan but I was serious I wanted to do any part-time job that will make assistantship possible and things like that so as I said, I think you are getting my point, my point is I had a certain life in India, I was ready to uproot that life and move only if there is a promise that my life will be better. Now nobody can give me that promise, that promise can be given to me by me making sure I get good scores in my exams and I apply to very good colleges or that a college is a stamp or a college is prestige would again reflect on my credibility so again everything adds up to views and future internship opportunities and things like that so it’s really about your life choices.
If you go without being happy your life will be very different from a person who has actually made that choice and went there because if masters was not my own choice, if I didn’t go to UW Madison, if anything in my life didn’t go like it was, I wouldn’t have been here to talk to you like this is what I feel, it’s always about your journey and your choices and your connections and what has happened so this is as much as I can answer that. Do not go for masters because someone else is going, do not go for masters because someone else asked you to go for masters, go if you believe that it will change your life. Yeah I understand that you see your friends and you think they are doing well in masters and they are happy and you are told that it is great,yes you listen to all that but after coming back you think whether it is good for you, if you believe, “ If they are telling it for my own good, they are doing fine, I believe in them, they are going to give me good suggestions here is what I am going to do, I am going to try and if I believe that my life is going to be better than what I am leaving” then do it. It is just that much. I think that’s all I can say.
one thing actually GyanDhan really really helped me with my loan process so thank you so much guys and the reason why I am doing all this is because I wanted to express my gratitude some way. Back then it was very important for me to get a loan without collateral because like I said I wanted this masters to be completely on me and it was my responsibility, it was my choice and I didn’t want to involve my parents in anything related to this like any fee payment or anything that is why I was very lucky at that point to get to know about GyanDhan and you guys made it possible for me to get a huge amount of loan without any collateral so it is what you are doing for students is amazing so keep up the great work so thank you for making a lot of our lives amazing so thank you to you guys.