I. First Techniques, Then Timing
When working on your practice material, first get comfortable with the techniques and start focusing on timing only when you have reached a high level of accuracy and confidence with the techniques. If you try to push yourself to do the questions faster, without first getting a good grasp of the techniques, you will end up making more mistakes and losing confidence. So,start by getting accurate and confident with the techniques first.
This post is written by our guest author: Ameya Kanitkar
Ameya holds master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Currently he works as a Software Engineer at a startup in Silicon Valley, California.
If there is one industry which is booming in US, it’s the technology industry. If you hold an engineering degree in Computer Science/ Computer Engineering/ Information Systems/ ECE, you should strongly consider pursuing your postgraduate degree in the US. Here in the valley, companies are fighting for top tech talent – and the scenario is going crazy: entry-level software engineer salaries have already crossed $100,000/year mark. But when we say Computer Science there is more to it. This post is attempt to dive into various branches and see how various opportunities are stacking up in the US in general.
What Recommendation Letters should Cover
Recommendation letters should cover the following points (also see the links to great sample recos at the end of this post):
- How long the recommender has known you and in what capacity (teacher, seminar or project guide, practical supervisor, project leader etc.)
- His or her assessment of your academic performance (relative rank etc.), intellectual abilities, work habits and character
- Your special achievements – especially in projects or in papers presented
- Your communication skills – how well you were able to present your seminars
- Your social skills – ability to work well with others, leadership qualities
- Some background about the recommender – this is useful in the case of professors whose work in a field might be good but little known outside India; things to highlight include area of work, achievements in that area (papers published, awards etc.), prominent places worked in, length of experience and so on
In Pune University the process of applying for transcripts is as follows:
- Download the transcript form from the website of Pune University
- Fill up the form and submit the form in person at the transcripts department – this is located on university campus. Do not forget to carry original mark sheets if required for verification. In case you are asked to submit mark sheets, submit photocopies not originals.
- Pay the required fees immediately at Bank of Maharashtra counter located on the university campus. Continue reading
Some universities accept only university transcripts; others accept college transcripts or even an attested mark sheet. Some universities require you to submit 2 transcripts. It is very important that you read the American university requirements carefully before applying. Make sure you do not send them the wrong document type as it will delay the admission process.
These are issued by the university your college is affiliated to e.g. M.I.T. College in Pune is affiliated to Pune University. If you are a student of that college and the American university you are applying to requires university transcripts, you should get transcripts from Pune University.
The transcript is an official summary of your academic performance and progress to date. It is one of the key documents you have to submit when you are applying for admission to a doctoral or master’s program of studies in an American college or university (the others are the statement of purpose, recommendation letters, a resume and of course your GRE and TOEFL scores). In order for the transcript to be acceptable to American universities as an official document, it must conform to the following specifications – it should be:
- printed on the university or college letterhead
- signed by the appropriate college or university authorities i.e. the college principal or registrar or the university registrar
- in the format required by American universities (not in the ordinary mark sheet format usually provided by Indian colleges and universities)
Your transcript should contain the following:
- a ‘bona fide certificate’ containing:
- your name
- the name of the college where you studied
- the name of the course you studied
- the duration for which you were at the university/college and date of completion of the course
- the examination scheme which, includes details such as:
- whether all subjects are compulsory or whether there are elective subjects, a project etc.
- the number of semesters in the course and the duration of each semester
- the duration of each lecture
- the minimum marks required to pass in a subject
- the maximum number of grace marks that may be given so that a student may pass or obtain a higher class
- the score scheme used: grade point average (GPA) or aggregate percentage/class system
- the ‘mark sheet’ section which, states:
- the breakup of subjects studied in each semester
- the number of hours per week for lectures and practical work in each subject
- the maximum marks per subject
- the marks you obtained in each subject
- your total marks, percentage (or relative grade), class and relative rank in the class, college or university in each year
- the highlights and history of your college or university (in brief)
Here’s your checklist of tasks for this month – and note there’s a lot of heavy documentation work that you have to be doing, so be prepared to do a lot of running around to your college and your university
- Arrange for 10-13 sets of transcripts in sealed covers from your college or university – some universities insist on university transcripts
- Choose your recommenders (generally 3 recommendations are required, at least one of which should be from the educational institute last attended) and give them the necessary details – resume, copies of your mark sheets etc.
- Start working on your Statement of Purpose (target date for completion 31 October 2013) and resume
Note: for the full schedule see: timeline for fall 2014
Recommendation Letters – What They are and Who You Should Get Them From
In the context of higher education in America, recommendation letters are statements by teachers, supervisors or employers which highlight your qualities, background and achievements and show that you are a good candidate for a doctoral or master’s program of studies.
To make sure that you are an applicant of good caliber every university will ask you to submit at least 3 recommendation letters along with your application form. If you are a student, these recommendation letters should come from teachers who have taught you important subjects or supervised relevant project work, research papers or seminars. If you are a working professional and your work experience is relevant to the field you plan to do your degree in, one letter can come from your immediate superior in the organization (if you have been working for a very long time then you can take letters from two people in organizations you have worked with, but at least one recommendation should be academic).
Why Sending a Resume Matters
Resumes (pronounced re-syoo-mayz) are included in your application for an American university for three reasons:
- firstly, to give the admissions committee a brief snapshot of your academic performance – academic performance carries great weightage in deciding whether you will be admitted or not and in some universities admissions committees form their first impressions of your academic performance by looking at your resume
- secondly, to present your qualifications for a research or teaching assistantship – for this reason remember to attach a covering letter to your resume requesting that it be circulated to interested professors
- thirdly, to provide details of projects, seminars, industrial training etc. that you could not include in your SOP because of the word limit