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Re: [vox] OT: Questions on Application to Graduate programs...
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Re: [vox] OT: Questions on Application to Graduate programs...

advice 1: choosing a program
the best advice i can give you is to forget about "berkeley".   when
considering grad school, go after a professor, not a name for a school.
in other words:

   go to berkeley because dr. snatchit is doing research in a field
   you're dying to get into and he happens to be at berkeley.
   don't go to berkeley because it's generally a very good school.  or
   because it's convenient.

btw, if you were going to apply for an undergrad or a M.S, i would give
the exact opposite advice.  go for the name of a school (berkeley,
stanford, mit, princeton) rather than a professor.

advice 2: understanding your commitment
i would say most everyone i know has no idea what the phd really is.

when it comes down to it, all other advanced degrees are "operational
degrees".   in other words, you get an MD to work as a doctor.  you get
a JD(?) to work as a lawyer.  you get an MS to become a highly trained
worker in some other field.  the point is, you get the degree to DO

understand that the phd is *NOT* an operational degree.  it's a research
degree.  you don't get the phd to become more competant at a topic.  in
particular, don't expect people with new phd's to "know more" than
people with new MS degrees.  in fact, it could be quite the opposite.

   the new PHD knows infinity about delta.  if he hasn't let himself
   rust, he'll know alot about other stuff too.

   the new MS will know alot about other stuff.

understand the most important concept: you get the phd for no other
reason than to do pure, academic research.  if you want to be an expert
at something, you're much better off getting an MS.  as a phd, your
knowledge will become very pointed.  for instance, here is i know:

   1) everything that a straight A physics MS graduate knows
   2) the newtonian approximation to the semi classical theory of
   3) modelling electron spins using stochastic methods

see how #1 is general and #2 and #3 are very specific?  #1 took me 2
years.   #2 and #3 took me 4 years.

i hope you're beginning to see how this ties into advice #1.

understand your commitment.  most people who want a PHD don't understand
what it is.  you get it, not to become an expert at a field but to
become a researcher.

ask yourself why you want this degree.  if it's not "to become a
researcher" than consider an MS.

advice 3: be prepared for the time
average PHD for theoretical high energy is 7-9 years.  i imagine that CS
is shorter than that, but i'd be willing to bet not by much.

advice 4: start in advance
i've seen programs that you had to submit an application a full year in
advance.   make sure you know your deadlines!!


advice 5: work towards a singular goal
most programs have 3 hurdles:

   a comprehensive written test  (the preliminary)
   a pointed oral exam           (the qualifier)
   a pointed anal exam           (actually finishing your research and
                                  writing the dissertation.)

treat every day of your life as if the only reason why you woke up is to
pass your prelim.  after that, treat every day as if the only reason why
you woke up is to pass the oral exam.

also, check out the pictures at http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~drl7x/.
it's kinda like that, but he's got the smile all wrong.  the smile
should be on the left picture.  he should be scowling or gramacing on
the right hand picture.

ok, that's all i can think of at 6am.   hope some of this drivel is


begin ME <dugan@passwall.com> 
> Since this list is likely to have a few students who have enrolled into
> graduate programs (MS/PhD) I figure this would be a good place to tap to
> suggestions.
> In about 2 years, I would like to apply for the PhD program at Berkeley
> for Computer Science. Suggestions on "things to do" and "when to do
> them" would be greatly enjoyed by me. :-D
> If you have found any items that have helped you to gain admission into
> semi-exclusive programs, I would like to hear them. The ideas do not even
> have to be specific to CS.
> Suggestions for GRE are also welcome. (Aids, things that have helped you,
> and techniques in taking the test.)
> Thanks!
> -ME
> Version: 3.12
> GCS/CM$/IT$/LS$/S/O$ !d--(++) !s !a+++(-----) C++$(++++) U++++$(+$) P+$>+++ 
> L+++$(++) E W+++$(+) N+ o K w+$>++>+++ O-@ M+$ V-$>- !PS !PE Y+ PGP++
> t@-(++) 5+@ X@ R- tv- b++ DI+++ D+ G--@ e+>++>++++ h(++)>+ r*>? z?
> ------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------
> decode: http://www.ebb.org/ungeek/ about: http://www.geekcode.com/geek.html
> _______________________________________________
> vox mailing list
> vox@lists.lugod.org
> http://lists.lugod.org/mailman/listinfo/vox

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