MS in US: What Fall 2015 Aspirants need to learn from this year’s Fiasco?

For the last couple of years, things were going pretty smooth for MS applicants of the fall 2012 and 2013 batches. But this year, it has been raining rejects from all the top 100 universities for the Fall 2014 admission candidates. This has created much tension among the Indian youth regarding their plans for further studies. While one cannot certainly narrow down one perfect reason for this, here are a few possiblities that seem to have occured simultanously, consequently leading to very low intake rates for Fall 2014 students. I think if the MS in US fall 2015 students learn from these, they will have much greater chance of getting their dream admits.

First lets analyse the problem superficially.

  • It seems that Universities are admitting only those students who are : From reputed Indian universities and having CGPA 7.5 and above or They are admitting students with average universities but still having atleast 2 years of work experience in MNCs and still decent enough GPA.

Now this may seem obvious but believe me, there are thousands of your seniors who satisfied neither of the above criteria but still managed to get decent admits with sub-par GRE scores and academic profiles.


So what has caused such a massive action from US unviersities this year?

Is it so that US universities don’t want Indian ( or for that matter other international students) to come and study at their campuses?

This may sound true but a further fact-checking reveals some other possible causes that have lead to drastic amount of rejects and cut-throat competition for MS in US. considering the fact that MS in US fall 2012 and 2013 seasons were badly affected by the recession, many of the seniors who had job offers from campus placements, decided to stay put and work in India rather than risk 30 – 40 Lakh in recession hit US. But now that the markets are doing good again, all these seniors (many of them frustrated by their sulky managers and poor IT scenario in India) decided to give MS in US another shot. Result? The applications this time were almost double then the average applications of last couple of years. Universities like SJSU, NEU and Suny Buffalo have become a hub for computer science aspirants. Whether you scored a GRE 305 or GRE 325, I am sure many of the applicants would have had atleast two out of these 3 on their lists. This resulted in a direct competion for admission to these Universities. Moreover, the experienced lot was larger this time and the aims for IVY league never seem to die for some. So rather than an average 6-8 applications every year, some of the students on the Facebook groups reported to having applied to as many as 11-12 unviersities ranging from rank 20 to 60 for their MS admissions.

This has all resulted in a viscous circle for the students themselves. More universities to apply to, less research on university’s faculty profile, research areas and a blind approach of following internet rankings like USnews etc have resulted in overall poor application profiles.

All this has resulted in win-win situation for some of the universities. They are having some of the best candidates applying for their masters program. This results in larger waitlists, slow admission process and some blatant rejects from these “famous” universities.

So what do the Fall 2015 and future MS in US aspirants need to learn?

  • Always be prepared for such scenarios and never apply to all “famous” universities. Keep your applications diverse.
  • Give your CGPA the highest priority. In situations like this year, a high GRE score hardly matters. University will select a guy with 310 GRE 6.5 IELTS 8 CGPA Nirma University rather than 315 GRE 7IELTS 7+CGPA.
  • Always work hard on your SOP, some of the universities don’t consider it for MS but still why should you risk it. Try to make a customized SOP for each university.
  • Build and Academic profile and do some good projects in last 3 semesters.

8 thoughts on “MS in US: What Fall 2015 Aspirants need to learn from this year’s Fiasco?

  1. Nice work admins

    But I am somehow not convinced with tge fact that your acads play much of a role going by the turnout of admits for fall 2014. As to why I say so, u might want to take into consideration that work experience has by far more significance than your academic achievements. I say so because I saw people with 310 110 3.5/4.0 and 2 yeara work experience get throught the likes of CMU and Texas A&M while I got rejects from the same ones at 323 115 3.99/4.0 and no work experience

  2. Universities in US follow a holistic approach. They evaluate your application from all aspects: Test scores, GPA, SOP, LOR, projects, research work, work experience or curricular activities. May be one or a combination of these parameters impress the review committee. There’s already enough material on making a strong application online so I won’t go into detail.
    But one thing I completely agree with in this post:

    Instead of applying to schools blindly based on their rankings or on the basis of ease of getting admission, choose your area of interest and select schools accordingly. Graduate studies means earning specialization. If you choose the school according to your interest area and show that interest in your SOP, research and projects, then it creates a better impression than a 320+ GRE and an 8 point CGPA.

  3. I have made most of my research on USNews Rankings. can someone explain what is wrong with it? Are the rankings not genuine?

  4. Hello,

    I applied for MS CS spring 2015 (with funding) but all my applications got rejected (pennstate, Rutgers, NY state university Stony Brook, UIUC and university of Delaware). Now, I’m planning to apply for MS+PhD CS Fall 2015.

    My profile:
    BE (Information Technology) 2005 – 74%
    GRE- 310 (Q 160, V 150, Awa 3.0)
    Toefl – 104 ( R 27 L 27 S 24 W 26)
    8 years of IT experience – worked profoundly on software design and development (java/J2EE, network protocols, Webservices) for various domains

    Looking for universities with funding.
    I request you to suggest me safe universities where I should apply this time. Also, how could I strengthen my profile as my GRE score is not very good :(

    Thanks a lot!

  5. Admin, A “rookie doubt” … extra curricular certificates like being the part of NGO .should i submit the of them or should i ask for more certificates on my name ???

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