Masters Success Story - Architecture
Bachelor of Architecture -> Cgpa: 3.49/4.00 (Gold Medal + Mehdi Ali Mirza National Award)
A Level: 1A* 3A's (Gold Medal) 2011
O Level: 8 A's (Gold Medal) 2009
IELTS: 7.5 GRE: 311 (Q: 160, V: 151)
1-year work experience (Al-Imam Enterprises, One of the largest Architectural companies in PK, 2 border projects, Penta Square Mall + Apartments)
8 academic projects, no research publication
3 Local Internships
1 International internship: Beset Architectural Corporation, Izmir, Turkey 2014
Ambassador for University of Rabat Morocco, Al-Akhwayne University Ifrane, Morocco
Loads of extra-curricular activities with Medals & trophies
I was accepted to Politecnico di Milano, Italy which is ranked 15th in the world for Architecture. I was excited as this was the opportunity where I could see the works of top architects in the world and the history of architecture which started in Europe. I started to collect my documents to file my VISA application to the Italian consulate. Talking to my seniors I got to know that people who get into Politecnico di Milano never get rejected for their visa. It took me a lot of time to gather the documents as the list of documents for Italian visa is very extensive. I appeared for my interview on 15th July 2016 at the Italian consulate, Islamabad. To my surprise, there were too many candidates and very few diplomats to conduct interviews. The overall system at the Italian embassy was very disorganized. The interview went well but after two months of waiting, they said that your documents were incomplete therefore you’re required to send some documents again. I was pretty sure that all my documents were complete. I sent them again but they didn’t respond. There is no direct contact in the Italian embassy at all. I had already left my job in preparation to join my classes in Milan. The residence fee was also paid. My classes were started and the enrollment date also passed. I was shattered by this attitude of the Italian embassy.
At this point when I had left my job and didn’t know what to do now, my friend pushed me to give GRE. I am deeply indebted to him for pushing me for this. I started to connect to people at Scholar Den and would often ask for questions on the WhatsApp group initiated by Founder. Although I had an A grade in my A Level and my O Level mathematics I was still away from the subject since 6 years. I had to recall all my mathematics concepts and people from the group would help a lot. As I had missed the September intake I started to look out for the programs and universities which offered spring intake for Masters in Architecture/Masters in Construction Management in The U.S.
I did the university shortlisting before GRE as I wanted to know the deadline so that I could plan my GRE test date accordingly. I found two master programs in spring which were related to my interest. Master of Construction Management UT- Arlington, Master of Architecture (Situated Technologies) at State University of New York at Buffalo. I didn’t hear good reviews about UT-Arlington so I focused on SUNY – Buffalo, the program attracted me a lot too. The deadline for spring intake was 1st October 2017.
I immediately opened up the faculty page of my program. I looked for a faculty member who was Pakistani. As I had a diverse profile with loads of architectural projects and awards I fabricated a long email explaining my interest for the program and how I can contribute to their department. I was lucky enough to get a very good response from the faculty member. What happens is that once you have interacted with someone, as soon as they receive your application they have you in mind and therefore you get an edge over other candidates. They key is that the email is highly professional and well related to your program. Do not makeup things although you can exaggerate things from your CV. Scoring a decent GRE score I started to compile my recommendations. I reread my recommendations I had already written and I found very major mistakes I had already made and I am sure this why I had to face rejections from some top notch universities in Canada. Not losing hope I started to write again. After reading various articles at Quora and tips/tricks articles I realized that the major things to be evaluated by the admissions committee is the 1) credentials of the person giving recommendation 2) In what capacity and time span has the person interacted with the student After evaluating I changed all my recommendations and the professors. My new recommendations by the persons as follows:
- Dean of the University (1 bachelor, 3 Masters, Very strong LOR)
- Ex-HOD of Architecture Department (USA/Texas Based) (PHD, USA, Very strong LOR)
- Thesis Professor (Masters Uni of Illinois Urbana Champagne USA based, Strong LOR)
It took me a long time to get the LOR signed and filled online by the two professors in USA. There was time difference and they are running their own companies in U.S so one has to understand that you need plenty of time before you can get your LOR done. As I had very good terms with both of the professors I knew they would give me a very good LOR but they need time. I sent them a draft of two pages font size 12 times new roman with university logo and proper header. They edited the starting part of the recommendation where I had explained the teacher’s credentials. I used to remind them every 6 days. So I got my recommendation done in around 4 weeks but the hard work actually paid off. Both of the professors gave me an excellent recommendation. The Dean was easier to be reached as he was in Pakistan. He invited me to his place for a cup of tea and sat with me to do my recommendation. So keep in mind that always be in the eyes of people you want recommendation in future. Credentials of the professors do matter with the capacity in which he/she knows you.
It was 1st October (Deadline for SUNY – Buffalo) and my third recommendation was still missing. The third recommendation was done on 4th October so the status of my application showed to be complete on 5th October. This meant that I applied 5 days after the deadline.
I was flabbergasted when I received an email of acceptance by the same faculty member I had already contacted. The scholarship was also allocated by him as the signatures on the email of scholarship belonged to him. This completely made me realize that the admissions committee is not only after good grades but they keenly observe the whole profile. SOP & LOR’s are very significant when deciding the scholarships. I thank everyone who has helped me in the admissions process. Cheers.