Hello! I want to hear my chances of getting into an Ivy League school, such as Harvard Graduate School. Was planning in a Masters in Data Science [ Master's in Data Science | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences ]
Small Background: Went to Rutgers-Newark in 2015 and graduated in 2020. Up until 2018, I was kind of careless and depressed about my current situation (parent divorce, depression, etc…) and switched from Chemistry to Computer Science [my true passion] but had a “wake-up” moment in Jan 2019. Up until Jan 2019, I had a 2.1 GPA but graduated with a 2.6 GPA in late 2020. I did a lot of activities [listed below] which I hope somewhat makes up.
- U.S. Citizen by birth
- Middle Eastern
- Live in a Middle Class area
GPA: 2.6 [out of 4.0, yes i know its low]
[All activities below happened after Jan 2019]
- Took part in Leader position in my Computer Science Club
- Apprenticeship in the Google Developer Student Club
- Won first place in a challenge in a competition hosted by a non-profit org and Panasonic North America
- Capstone Intern as a Developer at a Marketing and Research company for a semester. Had to use Tensorflow to build an AI Model
- Deans List in 2019
Jobs & Activities:
- Helped collect and test patients for my county in the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic.
- Part time job as a Ecommerce Manager at a jewelry store up until 2021. We sold on Amazon and eBay, including our own storefront
- Apprenticeship in a YouTuber-ran organization [YouTuber in the Data Science field]
- Contractor as a Data Engineer with a marketing and analytics firm. Worked with a large, well known, fast-food company [ has locations in NJ, California, DC, Texas, Massachusetts, from what I know] along with a large online clothing company with a niche audience.
Currently I have 2+ years working as a Software Engineer II at a tech startup serving the medical field with over 200+ clients, I also do a lot of the DevOps for the company [setting up pipelines, AWS, Google Cloud, etc]. I first joined before the company launched as someone who just did tech support since they had no one doing that at the time so wanted to show I was here to work. Jumped through the ranks quickly and work with the CTO and CPO quite regularly. Im the only SWE based in America [other than CTO].
Also launching a startup with 3 other friends next month but I know that has no merit yet until launch. Kind of excited though.
Also have some projects on my GitHub, nothing that has many stars or forks, just helpful projects from Python Bots to projects I did in school. Do want to make more and post them though.
3 certificates taken only from Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. Currently taking Harvard’s EdX CS50 Intro Into AI just to get a educational head start.
As for my three letter of recommendations, I wanted to get from my professor that now works at Google [will be using his @google.com email to send the LOR request], my CTO, and either my CEO or someone else at my company that just graduated from Harvard. Im hoping to ask him because I wanted to ask him if I could send the LOR request to his Harvard email.
I was planning of taking a Data Science masters now or a MBA in the future. I applied to Georgia Tech, UPenn, NJIT, Seton Hall, Montclair for the Computer Science/Data Science [depending on which program I get in].
But let’s say I wanted to go to Harvard, such as the MBA in the future. I understand Harvard is very competitive but I truly have turned my life around and I want to know how I can prove it.
What advice or recommendations would you give? If im in a very weak position now, what would you say is the best way to pivot to stand out?