Are you are thinking about applying to computer science master’s degree programs and wondering which schools are the best fit for you? Are you wondering whether you meet the criteria to be admitted?
What are computer science programs looking for?
First, let’s look at what skills top schools are seeking in the applicants they admit for a MS CS:
- Critical thinking – the ability to assess what works and what doesn’t when solving problems
- Creativity – finding solutions that are not obvious; out-of-box thinking
- Analytical ability – identifying problems, discovering answers and evaluating which is the best solution
- Problem solving – systematically analyzing complex problems
How to show that you have what it takes
You can show evidence of having these skills through:
- A well-written resume that offers multiple examples of class, internship, or full-time related work accomplishments
- A statement of purpose (SOP) that clearly defines your goals, outlines your experience that lends itself to achieving them, and states how this particular program will help you to reach them.
- Excellent letters of recommendation
I recently spoke with an admissions officer in the computer science department of an Ivy League school. I asked what criteria is unique for admitting a computer science candidate vs any other engineering discipline. Her immediate response was having a proven record of success in the discipline, whether that was through higher level classes, class projects, internships, or full-time work.
She also said the SOP should reflect an eagerness for the subject beyond the norm, as well as letters of reference written by a professor or internship or work supervisor that offers specific examples of accomplishments in the field. These factors are important no matter what computer science subfield is preferred by the applicant.
Finding the best school for you
In terms of finding the school that fits your profile, it is critical to research the curriculum to determine if your interests are reflected in the coursework and in faculty research: data security, cloud computing, AI and Machine Learning, Robotics, Networks and Architecture are just some of the subfields available.
Finally, be realistic. Unless you have a very high GRE score, excellent undergraduate grades, and unique relevant field experience, don’t limit your applications to the top 10 schools. There are many programs in the top 50 where you can make a mark for yourself, get an excellent education and accumulate experiences that will jump start a successful career.
Want to put together the best application possible? Let the admissions experts at Accepted assist you with whatever you need. From resume review to essay editing to interview prep and more, we’re here to help get you accepted to the graduate program that is right for you!Want Karin to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!
• Applying to Graduate Engineering Programs, a free guide
• Optimize Your Grad School Application: Grades, Essays, Resume, Activity History, and More, a podcast episode
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