Archive for February, 2008

Applying to SJSU Grad School

February 5, 2008

Many of my peers at SJSU have asked me about the process of applying to grad school in the Computer Science department. When I was going through this process I was very nervous that I might accidently miss something so I spent a lot of time thinking and reading about it. There are two things I had to worry about, the university procedures and the department rules. I had to meet both standards to be accepted, but the department ultimately decides if a student will be accepted into their program or not.

Here is an outline of what I did to get accepted. I am sure this is not the best way to do it, so please do not take this as a how to guide but hopefully as a stepping stone in how to do it better. The best thing to do is read all of the information at the SJSU Graduate Studies page and read the information from the CS Department web site, and be sure to check out their great FAQ.

First I started to make sure I was going to be able to get letters of recommendation from my teachers. I did this by taking challenging courses during my last semester and ensuring that I got A’s in those classes. I made sure to visit the office hours of those teachers so that they could get to know me, and at the end of the semester I had no problem getting two good letters of recommendation. I actually got both of my letters of recommendations from math professors, which I assume is fine since math is very important to computer science. By the way, the FAQ I pointed out earlier mentions that submitting letters of recommendation is highly recommended.

Meanwhile I had started the online application at CSUMentor which as it turns out is fairly straightforward. The main thing you do there is enter the classes you most recently took along with the grades you received. There is a 50 dollar application fee that you need to pay in order to submit the application, but you can start the application and save it so that you can come back and work on it later. I ending up postponing submitting the application because I wanted the statement of purpose that is required with it to put me in the best light possible. I had until the end of May to submit this application and the current deadlines for Fall 2008 applicants can be found here.

So then I just checked to make sure that the SJSU Department of Graduate Studies had all of my transcripts. This was very easy for me because I already had all of my transcripts sent to SJSU so that I could graduate with my Bachelors degree. The Graduate Department was able to use the same copies of my transcript.

I finally submitted my online application only a couple of weeks before the deadline. The Computer Science department had told me that turning in my application early wouldn’t matter because all of the applications would be reviewed at once sometime after the deadline. However my friend turned in his application months early and was accepted before the application deadline. I didn’t find out I was accepted until mid summer. The annoying thing is that they don’t email you when you get accepted. You have to check your application status on MySJSU. I was checking this status several times a week and then one day it just said “Accepted” and I was very happy.

Good luck with your application process!