Our NSITonline webteam member Monadhika interviewed Vaishnavi Sundarajan who scored a cent percent in her GRE. Those of you who into tech and are aspiring for MS abroad, this article is a must read for them. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
How did you prepare for the GRE? Did you join any coaching?
I didn't join any coaching. I don't believe in it, never have and probably never will. Add to that the fact that classroom teaching in certain domains (especially English) never goes well (for the rest of the people) with me in the class. I prepared by reading through the Barron's word list and paying some special attention to Reading Comprehensions.
Have you as yet applied for any foreign university? If yes, which one and what course?
Yes, applied to 5 universities :
University of California, Berkeley
Carnegie Mellon University (Silicon Valley)
Georgia Tech University
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
University of Southern California
Same course everywhere (MS in Computer Science) except CMU Silicon Valley where it was an MS in Software Engineering.
After you get the score for GRE what’s the next step? How much does one need to spend in order to apply to say about two to three universities?
After you get the score for the GRE, the real work starts! As for the cost of application, well, that's a highly university-specific thing. Applications cost anywhere between $50 and $100 per application. Average application fees, which most universities charge, are close to $70 per application. (It's also a generally observed phenomenon that the cost of the application increases with the distance of the university from the Atlantic Ocean)
Apart from the GRE score, what else matters to get a seat in the foreign university (like semester score, Project work, internship experiences etc) ?
Okay, now this is the biggest misconception about the whole higher-studies-in-the-US scene. GRE scores matter *very* little. If you have any score greater than the minimum requirement of the university in concern, that works fine. And a higher GRE score does not probably earn you too many brownie points.
Semester score is a criterion, definitely. A percentage that seems to indicate that you weren't exactly slacking off for the last 3 years works well.
If you can't manage that, try to drive the point across that even if you were slacking off, you were doing it such that it was worth your while (and maybe even fun... if you can convince the admissions committee that you were having fun while doing whatever it is you were, and if it is related to the field you're applying for, awesome!). This is where projects and internships come in. (And yes, if you're already into your 3rd year of engineering, reading this a month before taking the GRE and have no projects to speak of, sorry about that.) Try to link your projects and/or internships to the field you are applying for (Well, ideally, you shouldn't have done too many projects that don't have any connection to your field of study anyway... but let's not start getting judgmental here)
If you ever did an internship in tech which is your interest I presume, how did you get it? What work did you have to do and how was your experience? What all did you get to learn?
Whats your aggregate in the last 6 semesters? Did you sit for placements?
My aggregate's around 74%. I did sit for placements, since 5 universities are actually too less a number to be applying to, if one wants to be sure of a place at which to be pursuing higher studies.
If you are placed, please tell in detail about the company and its placement procedure.
I am placed in Amdocs. More detail about the company at this awesome site called www.google.com.
Placement procedure was rather eventless, knew 4 sections out of 6 in the preliminary round (which had everything from UNIX to C programming), got through to the interviews, got one question right in the technical interview (out of maybe 4) and then HR.
For more information about Vaishnavi's achievements, visit http://sites.google.com/site/vaishnavisundararajan/