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Masters Success Story - Civil Engineering - Texas A&M & Virginia Tech


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My admission journey is pretty simple. I started my masters admission process in 7th semester of UG. I gave TOEFL, scored 107 and gave GRE in 8th semester scored 318. My UG gpa was 3.16 . I got my undergraduate degree in civil engineering from NUST in 2017. I had originally given GRE in April so that I could apply for Fulbright but i missed the deadline due to some commitments. This left me with the option of applying for Spring 2018. I wasn't sure about spring admission so only applied in a couple of universities Texas A & M and Virginia Tech. I got an admit in both but since I wasn't planning on attending in spring I didn't have my finances arranged so was forced to defer. Since I had received an admit in two top 15 universities of my field, I decided to apply for a couple more universities in Fall 2018. I ended up applying in only one more university, UT Austin from whom a received a prompt reject. I decided to accept Texas A & M as it was financially more feasible than Virginia Tech. Also the location suited me better due to relatives in Texas. My admission journey was pretty inadequately planned as I gave GRE with only 20 days prep and then only applied in a few universities. Both should be avoided. GRE is very important as I got an admit with average GPA thanks to a decent GRE. My suggestion for all would be to give it in final year of university irrespective of the fact whether you have any plans for going for masters in near future because it becomes difficult with job. During my one year admission process I did a job for around 8 months and I think it helped me a lot as i changed my specialization based on it. Initially I was planning on doing masters in geotech but later switched to transportation engineering. I had chosen geotech because I had taken three masters level elective courses during my UG for geotechnical engineering as well as had my FYP in the same field. One thing I would advise is to work hard on your SOP and CV. A lot of times we ignore our academic projects as we feel they were not high quality ones. I had seen CV of UG students in universities I applied to and got the idea that they had mostly done similar topics but the difference was in how they presented even a class assignment by stating the lessons learnt and academic benefit they got etc. The admission reviewers only judge you on what you tell them so don't downplay those semester projects. Also the final year project is in most cases the only actual research we do so make sure you chose the topic carefully as even people with several years job experience at times also only have FYP as the only research they ever did. Research is very important if you want to get funding. Also if you can get a publication that is even better. Remember admission are based on all aspects of your profile including LOR which are not always up to the mark in our case. Please don't use generic LOR. Do give GRE as early as possible. Also make sure you have a good idea about universities you apply to. I applied to only a few but I had selected them considering whether I shall be willing to go if offered an admit. One final piece of advice start using LinkedIn and connect with students from universities you are interested in. The TA and GRA of your department can greatly help you in telling about funding etc. Also connect with professors. This will greatly help you in choosing the right universities. And you get information that isn't present on website. I was greatly helped helped by ScholarDen platform right from the days of GRE prep to admission procedure and then finally the visa process. I would highly recommend students to get in touch with ScholarDen and their group as they are providing great guidance on all aspects of the admission process