Application Process for MS in US Universities


For Indian/International Students [with specific inputs for students of Uttar Pradesh Technical University(UPTU)]

 

Arranging Required Documents

Statement of Purpose

Transcripts

Recommendation Letters

Writing Resume


Download PDF guide for Statement of Purpose

Download the GRE Barron Word Tool here


Topics on this page:

 

 
Writing Statement of Purpose (also called Personal Statement) :

You will have to pay special attention to draft your Statement of Purpose. Your Statement of Purpose is a reflection of your goals, aspirations, academic highlights, co-curricular achievements and your enthusiasm for higher studies. Be very meticulous in framing your SOP. It is something that the professors are surely going to read. You need to highlight all your strong points and also explain (in short) the reasons of any shortfall in your application.

You need to spend time on your SOP. The step by step manner in which it should be prepared is:

  • Write down all your academic highlights that you want to put in your SOP. Brainstorm for all the academic projects, scholarships that you got, college level technical prizes etc. You need to prepare a exhaustive list of all the things you want to mention in the SOP.

  • Once done with the list, sort it in the order of most important achievements to the trivial ones.

  • Most people prefer a good punch line/starting phrase to start the SOP with. You can find or draft one in case you want to open with a quote.

  • Depending on the program you are applying, you need to prepare a storyboard from your list of achievements. Put them in most coherent manner so that you state your goals, objectives and aspirations very clearly.

  • Write a text of about 2 pages (600 - 700 words). Review it for any grammar/spelling mistake.

  • Once done from your side, get it reviewed by some of your seniors who have written it before. Incorporate the suggestions from them.

  • Once done with the reviews prepare a final draft of your Statement of Purpose.

Click here to download a PDF file explaining what all should go into a good SOP.

NOTE: Although the basic content of the SOP remains the same for all the Universities, you need to modify the specific contents based on the program and University you are applying for. For eg. if your are applying for network security program, your SOP should highlight your network related works. If you have applied for Operating Systems specialization in another University, this time your OS related projects and research need to be highlighted.

There are some good websites that will help you in this regard. You can find many sites on google that have tips to write a good SOP.

I have a nice collection of sample Statement of Purpose. I took extensive help from these SOP. By reading them, I got a fair idea of what all things a good SOP should have. I am sharing this zip file having a collection of statement of purpose. You can download them here :
Download the GRE Barron Word Tool here


Transcripts

A transcript is an official copy of a student's academic record. It is issued by the University on demand. Generally Universities charge a fee for each copy of the 'Official Transcript'.
Transcripts are one of the most essential documents that are required by Universities where you are applying for admission. You'll need to send your transcripts by post (courier) to University admission office. Your application will not be processed until the University has your transcript.

Some Universities ask for 2 copies of transcript (one for the graduate school and one for the department). You should always apply for more transcripts than the number of Universities your are applying for. Normally if you are applying for 10 Universities, you should get around 15-16 transcripts.

General process of procuring a transcript goes like this:

  • You'll write an application to the Registrar of your University (not college) to issue you transcripts.
  • You have to mention the amount of transcripts required. Attach the demand draft for the fee that the University charges. Mention the address where the transcripts should be mailed to you.

To be on a safer side, you should procure the transcripts well in time to avoid any last minute hassles.

Special Note for students of Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU)
 Getting a transcript from UPTU is a Herculean task (as of today at least). I wish the situation improves in  future.
There is no facility to get it by postal mail. You'll have to personally go there or ask someone to go there on your behalf.
 Write a application and submit xerox copies of all years of your marksheets. There is a @*^#$#* clerk called Jyotirmay Yadav. He won't get motivated to get your transcripts done unless you promise a good सुविधा शुल्क to him.  And then he'll make you run until you get utterly frustrated. Finally he'll give you a transcript that is of no use.  It'll have your Basic details and semester-wise total and grand total in the end. No Subjects, No semester-wise breakup NOTHING. All you get is a lame transcript in a simple plain envelop. It hardly looks professional and authentic.  Please understand that a transcript like this is a sure recipe of getting rejected.

 I made my own format for my transcript. I submitted it for verification and I got 30 copies of the same. I also designed the envelops and gave them to put my transcripts in the envelops given by me. Finally after a nightmarish 10 days, I got my sealed transcripts from the University.

Since then, many of my friends have asked me for the format I used for my transcript. Quiet a few have got it issued in the same format. Since it is already getting popular :-)  I thought that I'll share it with all UPTU students so that they may get their transcripts in a format that is more relevant,  more informative and according to the standards of what a transcript should be.

UPTU students may download the sample transcript in PDF here.

UPTU students who want their transcript in similar format as above may download an editable MS-Word version of the transcript and its envelop here. Please understand that I made this transcript solely for my purpose. In case you choose to use the same format for your transcript, I am not responsible for any outcome that may result from you using this same format. The University will verify each and every details on the transcript (through examination controller office) and issue the transcript to you if the details you have filled are accurate.
Click here to download the sample transcript in PDF form.          Click here to download an editable MS-Word version of the transcript and its envelop


Letters of Recommendations :
Letters of recommendation are another action item where you need to be very proactive. You may have to spend a lot of time for this activity. You need to identify the professors (or supervisors at work place) whom you’ll entrust with this responsibility. You’ll need to tell them well in advance and seek their approval for the same.

Ideally for MS programs, most Universities ask for 3 recommendations. Some restrict you to 2 while a few allow even a fourth recommendation. There are two ways you can submit recommendations: Online recommendations and Paper Based recommendation.

Universities prefer online recommendations. It is very much convenient for them as it requires no paperwork and no overhead on their part (scanning etc. – for your information, most of the paper documents that we send are usually scanned and archived into applicant's folder on a computer).

Online recommendations are also convenient for us as applicants. Once you enter the email id of your professor, he’ll receive an auto generated email with the instructions and URL to submit recommendation. This is specially helpful if you have left your institute or any of your professors has left on a sabbatical. Obviously your professor needs to spend some time on the internet for each of your recommendation.
I took all of my recommendations online. There are a very few Universities which no more allow you to give paper based recommendations.

You should go for a paper based recommendation when there are problems in getting a online recommendation. Every University has a format for the paper based recommendation. Download the recommendation form from the University website and hand it over to your professor to fill it. It will have some questions about you and a space for your professor to write some text about you. Your professor can attach any extra sheet in case he wants to write more. Actually this is what is normally done. Professor fills up the recommendation form and attaches a separate sheet of text along with the form. The professor should use his own letterhead (preferably) or Institute’s letterhead to write his text. The professor should ensure that he has signed both the University recommendation form and the extra sheet that he attaches with it. You are required to get the recommendation in sealed envelopes and you are not supposed to see your recommendation.
 

Tip
Always Waive your rights to review/access the letter of recommendation.

What is all about Waiving off of the rights to review recommendation?
You have all the rights to have access to the recommendation for you by your professor. You can ask the university to furnish the recommendation that any professor gave to you.
In all the recommendation forms (electronic or paper based), you'll be asked a question as to whether you waive off your rights to review/access the recommendation or you do not waive off your rights.
You should always Waive off your rights to review/access your recommendation !!
By doing so, you allow your professor to be more candid and free in his opinion about you and any University will like that.

Although letter of recommendation is primarily your professor's task, but in some cases, your professor may ask you to draft a rough text about yourself and give it to him. In such a case, you'll require to know the basics that are covered in a letter of recommendation. I am putting a short summary below:

Every recommendation letter should include three key components:

  • A paragraph or sentence that explains how recommender knows the applicant and the duration of relationship.
  • An evaluation of the applicant and his skills/accomplishments. If possible specific examples should be cited that illustrate the applicant's strengths and qualifications.
  • A summary that explains why professor would recommend the applicant and to what degree he would recommend him ['Recommends', 'Highly Recommends'].

The content of the recommendation letter will depend upon the needs of the person who is requesting it, but there are some common topics that can be addressed:

  • Potential
  • Skills/Abilities/Strengths
  • Dependability
  • Consistence
  • Character
  • Contributions (to class or community)
  • Accomplishments

 

Writing a Resume :
You'll need to write a well drafted resume to be sent along with the applications. Some Universities get it uploaded on their online application while some ask to send it along with the additional documents that you send via courier.

By now, resume writing must not be new to you. There are thousands of websites what tell you how to write a good resume. Basically, your resume for your MS application should clearly capture all your academics, academic related achievements and significant co-curricular activities. Also mention your work experience (if any) and the kind of work you have done.

I will not delve deep into resume writing. Any intuitive resume that has all your pertinent details will serve the purpose.
I did not do a deep research for my resume. I just used my old 'campus placement' resume and patched it up to serve as my resume for Universities.

In case you want to refer to what kind of resume I made, you can refer it here.
You'll agree with me that it could have been a lot more better than this, but I was simply not willing to invest more time on it :-)


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