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Grad School 101* Not completely cogged from the internet. The title is, however, pretty non-original. *For Aerospace Students.

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Presentation on theme: "Grad School 101* Not completely cogged from the internet. The title is, however, pretty non-original. *For Aerospace Students."— Presentation transcript:

1 Grad School 101* Not completely cogged from the internet. The title is, however, pretty non-original. *For Aerospace Students

2 What you need – Min Requirements 1. 3 Strong Recos 2. Strong Statement of Purpose 3. GRE – 1350+/TOEFL - 105+ 4. Explore as many fields as possible, but excel in most of them 5. Decent CPI (> 8 would be nice, > 9 is enough to get you top apps if you have the other 3) 6. Should do research projects in IITB, other IITs, IISc, TIFR etc. under well known professors, who have international publications

3 Timeline  First Year –Concentrate on coursework –Think about your career goals, and whether you want to go to graduate school  Sophie Year –Take up a seminar/project in the department/ outside your department, probably in the field you have maximum interest –UROP – take advice of seniors on the topics offered/ go to a professor and present you idea if you have any –Internship either locally at IIT or abroad –Good time to get one reco secured, “maybe” even a publication! –Start preparations for GRE/TOEFL  Third Year –Time to make decisions – Switch your field, work in a different area which you find interesting, Decide upon the electives in and outside your department –GRE / TOEFL –Internship / Seminar / BTP – Time to secure two STRONG recos  Summer 2 nd year, 3 rd year –Look for universities you would like to apply to, research about the professors you would want to work with based on your interest –Do some good research projects, focus only on learning and assimilating concepts –Write your SOP, make CV, your personal webpage with your project reports etc.  Fourth Year –Work on BTP, prepare apping materials, look for university requirements (subject GRE etc) –Start applying, ask your professors for a “strong and positive recommendation” –DO NOT SPAM PROFESSORS ABROAD for admissions

4 First Year / Second Year  First year end: Go home! (For those who are a bit more enthu, read up on math)  Second year: –Imp. Courses: Pay attention! –UROP: Talk to Seniors. Big commitment. –Summer research project after second year advised in or outside IIT –Start looking at your fields of interest (Already exposed to Theory, FM by end of second year) –Start preparations for GRE/TOEFL even if you are unsure about apping! It helps you in CAT and other examinations! –Make your personal homepage

5 Third Year  4 solid decisions to be taken –PT field and prof / place –Seminar field and prof –BTP field and prof –Apping fields – can be delayed, but better now. –Explore as many fields as possible – Theory, Simulations, Applications etc. –Electives – should be chosen intelligently  Kick up your CPI – last chance to improve DR  Give the GRE & TOEFL (Jan/Feb optimal, ToEFL one month later)  Improve technical writing skills and presentation skills, that’s the way to impress your recommenders!

6 Fourth Year  Apping decisions to be taken, deadlines to be met  Work hard on BTP first stage, last chance to impress BTP guide  Give the GRE & TOEFL if not done already  Research about the universities  Write your SOP, CV, resume (for placement)  Update your personal homepage  Attend company PPTs, they would help you decide whether you want to work in industry or go for a PhD.

7 Fields of interest  You need upto 2 fields of interest to app – but can be around than 5  Be specific why you want to do research and whats your career interests  Common ones at IITB –Theoretical Controls –Aerodynamics –Propulsion –UAVs, MAVs, Flight controls –Structures –Application based controls  Other fields –Artificial Intelligence, adaptive controls –Rocket Propulsion –Composites

8 Fields of interest (contd)  More the better, but too much is bad – BE focused and coherent (interdisciplinary if you like)  One sub-dept decides to take you  Two is good to diversify  Ideally, the two should have some solid connections that you can emphasize in your SOP  Not completely binding later on – but shouldn’t be completely 180 degrees apart from your SOP  Better to app in areas you have worked on  Choose 2 fields wisely asap!

9 Fields of Interest (contd.)  Controls – Prof. Sudhakar, Prof. Arya

10 Reco Letters  Need 3. More the better! – Some professors have an upper limit of recos you can ask from them  Plan early. Start looking for these in 5 th semester itself.  Sources –2 nd year internship guide (?) –3 rd year internship guide (s) (1-?) –Seminar guide (Same as BTP guide ?) –BTP guide (1) –3 rd year / 2 nd year Winter internship guide (?) – Weak recos –Course instructors (?) – Weak recos –BTP / Seminar co-guide / examiner (?) - Weak recos  Look for recos from researchers with enough experience in the field, PhDs from good US universities and in general successful (connections to univs you wish to app to is a bonus)  Should have international publications, visiting faculty positions etc.

11 Apping – What matters  CPI / DR –Matters ENOUGH, but not as much as you may think –Can be substituted with good research work –High CPI + Decent-ish recos = a top-6 app  Recos –Very important –excellent reco from well known prof = damn good chance of a great app  Papers / Publications –A good publication can do wonders for your application –Good publication = good reco –Too tough for a UG, atleast in some areas  Internships –Better Quality - the better are the chances you understand what you are doing and helps you in writing you SOP –Prof with whom you work more important than the place you work in –Give you an overview about how life is in academia and research  SOP –Consult enough people and write in good English –Must be simple to read and easy to understand, small lines –Very important, a bad sop = not clear what you want and what keeps you motivated  GRE / TOEFL –Not important for good universities –Aim to do well enough for it to not show up as a black mark on your app –GRE 1300+ and TOEFL 100+ at least  CV –Write in standard format, no bragging about projects and extra currics

12 Apping – What Matters (contd.)  Moral of the story: –Univs look for research caliber –Stuff which proves that, for example  Good recos from researchers to that effect  Good research internships and projects  Good academic background  Therefore, aim to maximize these qualifications: Take good projects, know what you are doing and what you want to do and impress profs!!

13 Apping – The process  Number of univs to app to: –Varies with your profile –App to enough places, but not too many –Costs money (~ Rs 5000 per univ), and can cause disadvantage to others –Coordinate:  A person with similar profile and higher CPI would invariably be chosen over you, unless they are picking many people  Good univs don’t take too many junta  Try to have a different profile from others apping to the same place (else clashes will hurt) –Aim high: app to a few places where you think you wont get, just for fun –Keep backups: app to a few places where you are sure you will get –10 should be an upper bound for > 8.5 CPI junta, and 5-6 should be an upper bound for > 9 CPI junta.

14 Apping – The process (contd.)  Choosing where to app: –Places / groups / people that have similar research interest to yours –DO NOT app to places where there is no one working on areas that you have worked on –Customize your application to highlight the work you’ve done in the area of the group which you want to get into –USNews is a good rough guide on top programs –Talk to your guide and google for places that match your interests –Overall goodness vs. Group goodness (for eg. PhD @ UIUC vs. Phd with XXXX at UPenn) - Depends on what you are looking for  wanting to explore (not sure) vs. fixed on area  brand name / industry exposure / prospects / collaboration vs. good advisor / better research  Senior Researcher (busy and gives less time) vs. young professors (not busy, gives more time but less experience and impact)

15 Apping – The process (contd.)  (More) Lessons learnt –Choose BTP/Internship topics wisely. Avoid obscure/non-real-world topics (pick problems being worked on at the places you want to be when you graduate) –Do enough research, start short-listing universities early –Work with well known profs and show them your initiative and expertise => good recos, maybe paper, all good –Work hard on acads, always helps to have something tangible on your app –Take that extra step – attend conferences, meet people, look for opportunities to interact with potential gradschool advisors

16 Apping – The myths Apping – The myths  Extra curricular matter  You need a +9 cpi to get into a top-6 place  I can loaf off in my fourth year and still expect to get a good app  One must aim to publish at all cost  If I choose a field now, I have to do a PhD in it

17 To Go, or Not to Go  Good Reasons to Go –Enjoy research –Want to teach at the college level –Careers with more autonomy –Deep interest in and dedication to a single area –More challenging work (?)  Not Such Good Reasons –What else will I do next year? –Make more money –Prestige of another degree –Pressure from family, friends, others

18 To Go Now, or To Go Later  Now –Your TA salary looks big compared to actually paying tuition! –More family responsibilities later –Larger peer group –Might never go later  Later –More professional experience –Greater focus –Financial considerations –Take a break from school to avoid burnout

19 M.S. vs. Ph.D.  Different job opportunities –M.S. is primarily a professional degree  Master’s degree is an asset / requirement for many industry jobs  Teaching positions at community college level –Ph.D. is a research degree  Research and teaching positions in academia  Research positions in industry and national labs  Sometimes different programs –Focus of the Ph.D. is an original thesis –M.S. requires coursework, sometimes a Master’s thesis  Financial Issues (next slide)

20 Financial Issues  Funding? –Ph.D. students are generally supported financially –M.S. students may or may not be supported (varies by program)  Types of Funding –Teaching Assistantships –Research Assistantships –Fellowships (usually for Ph.D.) –Employer sponsorship (usually for M.S.)

21 General Advice  Nothing is permanent! –If you take a job, you can always go back to school –If you decide grad school isn’t for you, you can always get a job –Either way, don’t burn your bridges  Be flexible –Many people change research areas –Program might take longer than you expect  If unsure, you might as well apply and decide later  If unsure, you might as well apply and decide later

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