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Aussie hoping to study in the US!

JonnoOonJonnoOon Posts: 7Registered User New Member
edited November 2012 in Graduate School
Hi everyone,

I hope this is the appropriate place to post this. I just joined these forums.

I'm currently a 2nd year student at the University of Western Australia.
I'm studying a double degree, Bachelor of Science and Commerce (5 Year Degree).
Now that I'm finishing my 2nd year, and heading towards my 3rd, I have really picked up an interest in Engineering, particularly the fields of Electrical Engineering and Mechatronics, and I'm about to start heading down this pathway, beginning next year.

It's something I'm really excited about, I would love to work in fields to advance technology and the world, and I believe this could best be achieved by studying Engineering.

I've always really wanted to go on and do post graduate studies in the US, I would have loved to do Undergraduate studies there as well, but I simply don't have the funds to study there for such a long term.
I went to visit Stanford and Berkeley a few years back, and there was such an amazing feeling to the campuses, I've always wanted to go there and study!
I'm doing an exchange semester at the University of Washington in Seattle next semester (Winter and Spring Quarters 2013) to get a taste of studying in the US!

I'm just unsure what kind of things US Universities look at to get into research Postgraduate studies.
Hopefully if all goes well in Engineering, I would love to do a masters in research in the Engineering Field I go with. If not, I had always planned to do further study in Finance.

I know locally in Australia, generally with a Weighted Average Mean of about 65-70% I would be eligible to go onto a Masters or PhD Program, and for my University at least, not much else is required if you are a student at the University already.

However, from what I have browsed through on these forums, it seems that other factors are important to getting into Postgraduate courses in the US?

I was hoping I would be able to be pointed down the right track, so that I could work to putting myself in the best possible position I could be in upon graduation.

I'm doing pretty well academically, my current average is about 80.8% - a High Distinction here (Just!)
I graduated from High School with an ATAR of 95.65 (Top 95.65 percentile in Australia).


Thanks for any help in advance!
Post edited by JonnoOon on

Replies to: Aussie hoping to study in the US!

  • ElocinElocin Posts: 97Registered User Junior Member
    I'm glad you're considering studying in the US!

    As you can see already, things over in the US may be a little different than over there. When it comes to graduate studies, schools look at the whole package. But here are some things to guide you:

    1) You'll need to maintain good academics. I'm not sure what the conversion is, but maintaining a B average (or 3.0/4.0) is a requirement for a lot of places.

    2) You'll need to take the Graduate Record Exam. You'll want to do as well as you can. Some schools may require you to take a subject test in your area of interest, so I'd look into that.

    3) Experience is a MUST. Experience, and Letters of Recommendation that come out of your experiences are going to go a long way with regards to admission.

    4) Since you come from an English-speaking country, you shouldn't have to take the TOEFL.

    But the thing to remember here is that admissions committees look at the whole application. There is a good chance that admissions for an international student is going to be MORE competitive due to limited spots (I ran into this issue when looking at schools in Canada), so you really do want as strong an application as possible. But remember, numbers aren't everything. Experience, publications, references, and your statement of purpose are the most important parts of your application.

    Sponsorship and funding opportunities are things I would look into. It wouldn't hurt to contact prospective research advisers at institutions you're interested in to see what the funding situation is like.
  • JonnoOonJonnoOon Posts: 7Registered User New Member
    Thanks for the reply!
    Sorry took me so long to get back, was studying for my last exam of the semester.

    In terms of experience, is this referring to research experience with the university, or work experience as a graduate, or vacation work programs etc?
    As part of an undergraduate engineering degree in Australia, we are required to take part in 12 weeks of vacation work, but that is really all the experience we get.
    We also spend our final year doing a thesis, if that is relevant/helpful.

    Generally here, it is quite normal to see undergraduates go straight to studies at a postgraduate level. Is some work experience after graduating generally necessary before taking part in postgraduate studies in the states?

    Also, are the very prestigious universities, such as Stanford and MIT difficult to get into for students who did not do their undergraduate degree in quite as highly ranked a university?
    UWA is the top in Western Australia, and about the 7th overall in Australia, but it still is far from anywhere to the standard of the top US universities.

    Thanks for the help!
  • BambooPandaBambooPanda Posts: 33Registered User Junior Member
    I think the most important thing for you would be your letters of recommendation because they give insight into the types of things you've done.
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