Graduate School Recommendations

<p>I am a international student with following profile:</p>

<p>Discipline: Mechanical Engineering
Country : Pakistan
Institute: Best public univ for engineering in country
GPA: 85.4/100 (Topper had 89%. I am in top 10 of a class of 155)
GRE: Q=800 V=600 AWA=4
TOEFL: Not given (Will probably get over 100 )
Academic Research: None (Final year project was nothing special )
Professional: 1year in fortune 500 oil and gas as maintenance engineer
1 year in largest national fertilizer producer as maintenance engineer ( mostly worked in vibration analysis if that can be counted as research exp.)
1 year as qc/erection engineer in a new mechanical erection project
LOR: 1 industry, 2 former professors ( professors don't have international recognition )</p>

<p>I am looking to apply in 10 universities (8 US, 2 Can). Suggestions are requested as for ambitious(3), competitive(5) and safe(2) universities. Cooperation is highly appreciated.</p>

<p>You literally want us to tell you which schools to apply to?</p>

<p>@denizen</p>

<p>You are right, its asking for too much. Although I have a fair idea of schools I am going to apply to but I have no idea whether I stand a chance at top 25 schools with almost no academic research and LOR's from local faculty. If some one can share his knowledge about similar cases I would be highly thankful.</p>

<p>I'll do my best to answer if I think you're competitive for top 25 programs:</p>

<p>-I don't know what a 85.4/100 GPA converts to on the 4.0 scale - 3.416? If so, that's not too strong. 3.5+ is usually considered competitive for domestic students. For international, the bar is set even higher.<br>
-Your GRE score is great.
- Lack of undergraduate is a minus, but your industry research appears strong. </p>

<p>Here's the kicker: I think you would have an OK shot at top tier schools if you were a domestic student. However, as an international student, it's going to be very tough. I just spoke to an adcom on the phone yesterday and he explained that competition is much greater for international students. I have no idea how they get such better stats than us. Maybe Americans are just lazier, lol. </p>

<p>Don't let that discourage you. You have a lot of good things going for you and you always will have a shot if you go for it.</p>

<p>Can you provide the name of the school which you talked to on the phone yesterday? I have been looking for answer about whether it is more difficult for international student to get accept for graduate school. I know it is the case for undergrad. Does green card holder count as domestic or international?</p>

<p>Yes it is harder, asked adcoms and the normal spot for international student in one program is 5%</p>

<p>The difficulty for international students depends on the program. Some, particularly in engineering, have a high percentage of international students while others have a low percentage. You should look at the graduate student profiles to see whether a program is international-friendly.</p>

<p>That said, admission to top programs is competitive for everyone, domestic and international. International students from certain countries are known to have high GRE scores no matter the undergraduate record, and so some programs won't even consider GRE scores from those students (from those countries) to be a measure of anything concrete. They will look elsewhere in the application for distinguishing factors.</p>

<p>The reason that it's tougher for international students is complex. For one, in certain fields the number of international applicants far outstrips the number of domestic applicants. If a program has two hundred applicants for twenty spots, and one hundred and fifty of those are international students, of course it's going to be more competitive, even if a program splits its spots fifty-fifty between domestic and international students. Next, US programs cannot always determine the level of preparation when it comes to international students; programs are more likely to admit international students from universities with which they are familiar, and if you come from one they know nothing about, they may be reluctant to accept you. (This is when a publication may come in handy.) Third, programs that don't accept a lot of students from your country may not be familiar with your country's grading system. Those that DO take students from your country will know that, say, an 85 average is top notch. In the US grading system, it would not be. Fourth, many international applicants who apply to US programs are not qualified. For instance, without really understanding the US range of universities, international students may only apply to those they've heard of -- say, Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley -- without considering that their backgrounds aren't strong enough for those universities. If you ARE qualified, you have a much better chance than other internationals. Let's take that imaginary pool of 150 international students. If only 50 of them, including you, are qualified, then your chances of admission goes up dramatically despite the overall "tougher for internationals" stats. Of course, other factors come into play as well.</p>

<p>I recommend that you search the forum for last year's international student grad admissions thread to see the results there. Many were accepted to top programs. You'll be able to see their profiles and results to better gauge your own chances.</p>

<p>International schools also cost departments more than domestic students, because of their visa constraints.</p>