Because I felt it was so wildly promising, I decided to get another English degree. I spent a few months applying to graduate programs in Southern California, pooling together writing portfolios, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. We discovered a portal to the secrets of grad school applications deep in the trenches of the online platform. So we went ahead and hand-picked the best nuggets of advice we could find:. It always helps to get a letter of rec from a professor who graduated from the same program to which you are applying. She even knew the writing director!
Always stick with the professors who have mentored you and have seen you grow and succeed as a student. If you love a company that you want to work for, and reach out to them several times before your interview, they are bound to remember you.
E-mail professors, directors, and if you have time, stop by the school. You need to do really, really well on the GRE. Like, totally murder it. Leave no traces behind. Sit in on a class, e-mail a few professors, and talk to a few current students. Look into larger programs. Larger programs like to have diverse students with unique abilities. With that said, some schools are just more prestigious than others much like undergrad. For instance, Harvard will always be more impressive than a degree from Kansas State University.
Pay attention to the size of the program.
Have some super solid answers to the following questions: How has your coursework or tangentially-relevant work experience informed your decision to apply? Why did you decide to apply to this grad program in particular? What was the deal with this weird thing on your transcript if any?
Are there are professors or faculty members here you would like to work with? That way, you can get experience teaching in your field, AND make some money. A lot of programs will give you grants and scholarships as well, which is great. How do you find out? You can also Google the program and see what other students have said. Which is another gripe that I had. Stanford is not the best place most perfect for everything and I always get annoyed when people say that!
Every time I would use the words "turned down Stanford for X" I would get so many spiteful questions about why the person did it and how could they ever think that.
See some of the answers at If I plan to be a CS major, am interested in entrepreneurship, and am a French exchange student who will pay full price and the latter but receive funding for the former, should I go to the University of Waterloo or to Stanford University?
I had a chance to talk with the kid and I honestly think that he made a really careful balanced informed decisions by ultimately choosing Waterloo but you would have never expected that given the answers to the question.
The answers in Was Aaron Swartz right about Stanford when he said "I didn't find it a very intellectual atmosphere, since most of the other kids seemed profoundly unconcerned with their studies"? No one seems willing to accept that maybe Stanford wasn't a good environment.
Stanford was not my first choice school. It was in fact the bottom of my list. I really only applied because my brother was attending it at the time. As a college interviewer, I make an effort to understand what values a person has and whether or not their values fit at the school.
I find that the Stanford Culture has a very narrow pigeonholed view of how people should evaluate decisions and they are extremely unreceptive of different schools of thought. However, I got in a weird situation. I got into schools that were better academic fits and had Professors that I thought I would get along with better. But they had a very poor reputation outside of the Chemical Engineering bubble.
As many people tell you, you should always go to grad school based on your options for your PI and not because of reputation. But I wasn't planning on going into academia and my research topic wasn't going to be as important for my career. I ultimately went with name since I valued having the non-scientific name of the school to carry me in later stages of life. I guess it worked out. There is a lot of Bay Area California that is in Stanford. People don't leave the area.
People are blind to the overwhelming group think that creates this huge bubble resistant to new intellectual thought. There is a specific definition of success. They expect that everyone should be as in awe of Stanford as they are. Stanford is a very uncomfortable place to be boring.
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Which I understand is a very good feature if you want to be at Stanford. Startups don't spin out of boring. But there is a constant pressure for you to be unique and looking to start the new greatest thing. Everyone asks you about it. And you can hear the judgement in their voices when you tell them that you're looking to work for some nice big boring pharmaceutical company rather than jump on a rocketship like Theranos.
I have been asked nearly times why I wasn't planning on applying to a management consulting job. You regularly have to hide from people asking you if you want to work on their startup.
I had this conversation once with a second year student. She was phenomenal and really had all of the tools and personality to be a successful graduate student.
She was tormented by the number of people who tell you that you're supposed to be unique and always looking for the next best opportunity. All she wanted to do was to go into the lab, do experiments, and to crack out papers. Why add the obligation to change the world on top of all of that? As revealed in this conversation with Shriram Krishnamurthi , someone who knows a lot of about academia, I was under immense pressure to win either a GRFP, a F31, or outside support through one of the Stanford Graduate Fellowships or support through a training grant.
Probably over half of our students were able to pull in their own external funding. As addressed in How important are fellowships for graduate students? I was put in a very uncomfortable situation where I needed to win a 1: The fact that I wasn't ever able to gain a stable source of funding labeled me as incompetent and uncompetitive by members of my committee.
Students without outside support were considered the oddities rather than the norm. As Shriram mentioned, it is unusual to rely on source of funding like this. At the time of that conversation, I was incredibly disturbed by the connotations maybe my value of my PhD shouldn't have been measured by my ability to get an extremely unlikely unprobable award. That's the unrealistic expectation that Stanford places on students.
It's an unhealthy environment. And it shows when you look at the job placements for my classmates. Most of us left for a big company because we were so stressed out by the wear and tear of working in the startup like environment of academia.Reddit Gives Dating Advice
The rest became data scientists because it was quick easy money that made it seem like you were doing something useful with your life. It's an excellent PhD environment for two types of people: Future Startup Founders and R1 Academics. For everyone else, it's sink or swim and people in the startup culture celebrate sinking and I know from first hand experience that sinking is not fun. People always ask you why on earth would you ever want to leave.
This was precisely the reason why I decided that I had to buy a ticket out of the Bay Area when I got my chance. I read most of the answers. There are really nice advice from different approaches. There is surely destiny. There is no doubt about it. You are born in a particular home, you are born as a human being, the color of your eyes, the situations of your birth, everything that goes around you in the universe, all that is destiny.
So there is a lo If you're from a family without money, one of the downsides is that the vast majority of your friends will require you to do things that involve money, and your friends will get awkward if you can't afford to go do things with them. If you're a first-generation college student, and you don't know much about the expectations of college courses some of us do get through , Stanford classes basically assume you have decent knowledge of the entire class prior to taking it, particularly in math and engineering.
One of the downsides of taking classes at Stanford University is that the academics are goddamn hard, and if you haven't been trained to "do school" at a prep school, or coasted through your easy high school, you are in for a world of pain. A little further consideration made me realize I left out a few downsides of Stanford grad school in particular: If you're not an elite student yet, you either will be by the end of it, or you will probably drop out.
If being an elite student is not your goal, do not go to an elite school for graduate school. There is a huge amount of pressure on Stanford graduates to be stellar, because of the reputation of the school and its position in the world right now. This pressure can be too much for people - we had at least a few crack from the pressure in my class. You are expected to have all the agency, all the proactivity, all the willingness to do all the things, all the time.
Not all of them. But it can be hard to adjust to, especially if you've come from a nurturing institution for undergrad. I wanted to make sure the under pressure part comes through.
I met students who, at the start of their first quarter in Stanford grad school were super fresh-faced and happy, and at the end of it, said they felt like they'd been hit by a Mack truck of knowledge, and looked like zombies who had not slept in weeks. If you're not down with noise, living on campus can be noisy. It can be hard to keep normal sleeping hours. The landscaping people like landscaping outside at 8 am on weekends, which can be complete BS. The amount of cheating is obscene. In NLP last year, Prof Manning publicly condemned many students' behaviour of staying on 15 min after the midterm ended, refusing to give up their paper.
A friend has recounted seeing someone take out a freaking computer during an exam, an act they may have believed themselves able to get away with because the archaic honor code prevents proctors from being in the same room as students during exams. What are the downsides of attending Stanford University as a graduate student?
Have you done the 10k year challenge? Advance through the ages of human history and into the future in this award-winning city building game. You dismissed this ad. The feedback you provide will help us show you more relevant content in the future. I had very simple expectations for myself. I was going to learn how to lead a project.
I was going to learn how to run some complicated experiments. I was going to learn how to learn. I was going to learn how to present. I was going to get a publication. I was going to get a nice boring job at a nice boring company and make drugs.
As a non-native English speaker, how can I improve my accent? Updated Apr 17, I want to summarize whole answers and add one. Here are the suggestions for improving accents: What are the downsides of attending Stanford as an undergrad? What does Stanford University look for in a student? What do Stanford graduate students think of Stanford undergrads? Does Stanford University still offer non matriculated study for graduate students?
This was the biggest factor for me. It all depends on how much financial aid you get. I got a more generous financial aid package from MIT than from Stanford. I was able to pay off my small federal loan with earnings from my internships. It sure was nice to have an credit score when I bought my first car. Stanford's campus is immense. Students get around on bicycles and you will really need a car if you want to go on some off-campus trip or even work.
It's really a bubble. In contrast, MIT's campus is much smaller and there are a lot more interesting places that are accessible by foot from campus. You can go to downtown Boston easily from MIT. I was able to do some internships with start-ups and pharmaceutical companies that were within a 10 minute walking distance of my dorm. I could even work part-time for a company during the regular school year earning decent money without needing to spend money on a car or on gasoline.
I cannot imagine myself doing that at Stanford. MIT's fitness facilities were way more open to all its students and even alumni. We even had a shooting range.
I've heard stories about how some pools and gyms would be off-limits to non-athletes at Stanford. MIT was definitely better for staying fit. Plus at MIT, people could care less about how you look or appear. No one cares if you're a nerd or socially awkward at MIT.
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Stanford seemed to be more cliquish than MIT. As much as I despised general education requirements, I found them to be worse at Stanford. Also you are stuck with a rigid credit limit. At MIT, you can go absolutely insane with classes at your own risk. Just in my first semester at MIT, I was taking classes that were much more difficult than at Stanford.
Prerequisites are only a suggestion, and you could start taking grad level classes your freshman year if you're ready. I know of someone who studied physics at MIT who did not take a single undergraduate level physics course and I know of someone else who would regularly take 8 classes a semester and managed to finish two undergraduate degrees in three years. You don't have this option at Stanford. Stanford has a quarter system that begins in late September and ends in late June.
I don't mind the quarter system, but Stanford does not have MIT's unique independent activities period. During this time, MIT students can participate in the most amazing array of extracurricular activities. Stanford has absolutely no time for awesome things like this. I found MIT to be much more open about undergrads doing research than Stanford. During my time there, I learned much more outside of class about some cutting-edge technologies.
I hope this helps answer your question a bit. Apologies if my answer is too tangential, and my answer should be taken with a grain of salt for I did not go through the entire Stanford experience. The OP added more details that perhaps I could help address. My answer got redirected from another question What are the downsides of attending Stanford University as a graduate student? It's a great school if you're from California and it's much closer to downtown San Francisco. However I did not grow up in California and I would have to pay very expensive out-of-state tuition with almost no prospects for financial aid.
For that reason, I did not bother applying to Berkeley for undergrad. Almost all my classmates at MIT think it's much better for graduate school than for undergrad.
I did not even consider studying abroad, since I had the impression that I'd have to pay more as an international student. From what I've heard, it has a wonderful professional experience program and it produces a lot of engineers for large tech companies.
Great undergrad school, but I don't think it's the best place if you want to do research as an undergrad.