Sunayana : Student, Carnegie Mellon University.

Published On: 19 Aug 2011

 | Last Updated On: 19 Aug 2011

Please tell us more about your educational background.

I did my B tech in Computer Engineering from SVNIT, Surat from 2005-09.

Please tell us something about your current college and course

I am currently pursuing a Masters in Language Technologies at the Language Technologies Institute, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.

Why did you choose to join your college? What were the other institutes that you were considering?

CMU was my top choice because it is ranked in the top three Computer Science graduate programs in the USA, along with Stanford and MIT. Also, it has the largest department in the world working on Language Technologies, which was my field of interest. One more reason was that I had a chance to visit CMU during my BTech and met a lot of interesting people doing very good work here.
I also considered other universities like USC, JHU, University of Colorado at Boulder but CMU was by far my top choice.

Which criteria must aspirants keep in mind while choosing/applying to Universities?

Depends on the aspirants, if you have a specific field of interest like I did, you may not have too many choices, and may want to look at specific research groups. Otherwise, you can look at the ranking of the university, placements, funding opportunities etc.

Did your Extra curricular activities/ co curricular activities help you in getting an admit?

My work with ACM (we had a student chapter in college) would have definitely helped, since ACM is well known all over the world. I am sure the other extra curricular activities added to my profile but I don't think they were directly helpful in the admit.

How did you prepare for GRE/GMAT/TOEFL/IELTS? What were your strong and weak areas? How much time did you allocate for your preparation? Tell us in detail your preparation strategies for GRE.

I didn't spend too much time on GRE, since it wasn't a very important admission criterion for the program I was applying for. I just skimmed through the word list from Barron's  for a couple of months before the exam, and used flashcards for a couple of weeks before the exam. I also took a few practice tests, I think 4 or 5. I did some of the quant problems from Barron's too. My weak area was the verbal part.
For TOEFL, I took around 10 practice tests. I did not do any other preparation for it.

What was your score,What would you advice an aspirant to focus on while preparing for the exam?

My GRE score was 1430 and TOEFL score was 113. I think setting aside time for intense preparation for the verbal part may be useful for some, maybe just before the exam.

Now that you have made it to a foreign university, how do you find it? Has a Foreign degree turned out the way you thought it will be? How good are the foreign universities compared to Indian ones

Can't generalize. I love my university, and feel that it was a very good decision to come here. It has turned out the way I thought it would be, though much more stressful because of the RA-ship and having to balance research with coursework right from the beginning. The tough competition here is drastically different from my undergraduate college.

What are your future plans?

I'm not very sure yet, still trying to decide whether I want to do a PhD or not. I definitely see myself in industry or maybe in a research lab.


Student, Carnegie Mellon University.

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