Previously, I wrote an article on GRE and TOEFL preparation. This is my second blogpost on graduate school admissions. I have tried to compile all the online resources I used to prepare my graduate school application.
Most of this advice is written by professors and is focused towards PhD applicants. Several webpages shared in this blog contain a wide-spectrum of advice articles, many of which are relevant to undergraduates and graduate school applicants.

Students’ Perspective on Grad School Applications - Most recently, we have surveyed twelve recent NLP PhD applicants on their experience while applying to graduate school. Unlike the remainder of this article, this article was written by young PhD students who applied to graduate school in the last 3 years. Check it out here!

PhD Application Guides

  • Mor Harchol Balter’s Guide - An excellent but slightly out-dated guide on writing good PhD applications by a CMU professor. This is a very comprehensive article which starts with the pros and cons of a PhD degree, moves to the application process and ends with some advice on choosing the correct graduate program.

  • Philip Guo’s Five-Minute Guide - A short guide describing the initial screening process during PhD admissions. Lots of interesting videos / articles in the “related pages” section at the end of the guide. You might find the Statements of Purpose linked in this article useful.

  • Philip Guo’s Older Guide - A more comprehensive article listing the best strategies to maximize your chances of selection. This was written while Philip Guo was still a graduate student.

  • Jean Yang’s Guide - A seven-part comprehensive article on the whole PhD admission process. Jean Yang’s Statement of Purpose is very well-written, and helped me considerably. This guide also contains details about what to look for during visit days.

  • Jason Eisner’s Guide for JHU / CLSP - A very nice article on graduate admission process, with a focus on JHU admissions into the Center for Language and Speech Processing (CLSP) (a top research group for prospective NLP / Speech students). This article contains an important section on school rankings (and why they should be taken with a grain of salt). Prof. Jason Eisner has written several excellent advice articles here, some of which are relevant to graduate school admissions. He is also quite active on Quora.

    CLSP has also written a broader PhD admission FAQ here.

  • CMU LTI Admission Guide - This Quora answer by Scott Fahlman is very specific to to MLT / PhD admissions at LTI (Language Technologies Institute) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). There is another answer by Alex Rudnicky here. Scott Fahlman has written several interesting Quora answers on NLP and academica-related topics here.

    Finally, here is an article by Danish Pruthi discussing the conversion statistics from an MLT degree to a PhD degree, an important question many NLP PhD candidates have.

  • Matthew Might’s Guide - An excellent blog focussing on the importance of good recommendation letters and prior research experience (preferrably publications). Has some nice examples of accepted and rejected applications towards the end. Matthew Might has written many comprehensive advice articles (see “Related posts”) on sending emails, doing research etc. One celebrated article (rather, a collection of pictures) is An Illustrated Guide to A PhD.

  • David Evan’s Guide for Writing Emails - A popular article on the optimal strategy to emailing prospective PhD advisors. A must-read if you are planning to send out emails to professors.

  • Micheal Ernst’s Guide - You can see all the advice articles written by Micheal Ernst here.

  • Justine Sherry’s Guide - A University of Washington CSE student’s guide on graduate school applications. A bit specific to UW.

  • Christopher Fletcher’s Guide on Personal Statements - This guide includes his personal statements as well. He has shared some more advice articles here.

  • Noah Smith’s Advice - A post-selection article summing up the factors one should consider while choosing between graduate schools. This article advises against using college rankings and focusing on the prospective advisors instead. Noah Smith has also written some advice for undergraduates considering graduate school here.

  • Tim Dettmer’s Guide - A new guide by a successful 2017-18 PhD applicant in natural language processing. Has some interesting statistics on the track record of people selected at top PhD programs.

  • Vijay Chidambaram’s Tweet - A detailed tweet on best practices while writing SOPs.

MS Application Guides

  • Karthik Raghunathan’s Guide - An article describing the admission process in Stanford’s MS in Computer Science program. This article after his own experience reviewing applications in the Stanford admission committee. It gives a nice idea about what application reviewers are looking for.

PhD Experiences

  • Philip Guo’s Experience (PhD Grind) - A first hand account of Phillip Guo’s experience completing a PhD in Computer Science. This article describes (in utmost detail) the highs and lows during a PhD in Computer Science, and ends with a few reasons describing why a PhD might be worth it. A must-read if you are confused between an MS and a PhD.

  • Jean Yang’s Experience

PhD Advice

These articles are guides for having a more successful PhD (after joining a PhD program).