Selecting Universities for Higher Studies – Pick a better university over better funding?

November 18th, 2013

These days many KUET alumni are coming to USA for higher studies. One major step everyone has to do is to select universities to apply. This is a tough decision and time consuming process. Spending good amount of time to make informed decision to pick right universities is very important for our future career.

Due to great access to internet and easy reach to seniors, I believe everyone knows the following basic steps. I am just listing them as a refresher.

1. Get a list of universities(possibly with some ranking) from internet e.g. US News.
2. Go over each of these universities’ particular department website (and faculty websites) that you are interested in. Make a short list of say 15-20 schools based on their GRE/TOEFL/GPA cut off threshold, and department/faculty strength on the research area that you are interested in.
3. Now you can start emailing to professors and graduate students(including KUET alumni) of these departments to know more about their programs e.g. funding situation, current research activities/publishing rate of research groups, current need of graduate students, etc.
4. Based on the responses you get and your internet research, you can now make informed decision to short list 8-10 universities. Rule of thumb – 2 ambitious 4 moderate(50-50 chance) 2 safe schools

I am assuming most of you already know the process I listed above.What upsets me sometimes when I see many KUET students, even with very high profile, pick lower ranked universities just for the sake of getting some sort of funding or better funding. This is the primary topic of this writing – Pick a better university over better funding chances? I would like to remind my fellow KUETians about some future consequences of picking up wrong universities for wrong reasons e.g. better funding amount and would like to suggest the following to keep in mind during university selection phase. These may help you in the long run.

- If you want a research/teaching job after PhD(can be a direct PhD right after undergrad or a MS then PhD), you need to know this – it’s almost always the case that companies or universities will hire top grads from top/good schools for teaching/research jobs. Many times PhD grads from low ranking universities end up getting many years of low paid post-doc research job at universities before actually getting a real full time research/faculty position in community college or small university where research opportunities and career advancement is limited or eventually get a regular engineering job which can be obtained with a MS/BS degree only. As you may guess, top universities has more research funding, bigger research groups and your chance of publishing and doing good research is higher which will help land a research job. You will have more faculties in your interested research area. Also, in case you find out after going to your department that you do not like the research of your research adviser, you can switch to a different faculty adviser but still do research you like.

-If you are applying for MS only, your chances are higher of getting admission in top/mid ranked universities is higher(possibly with no/little funding). It is even worth paying a semester on your own at a great/good university than getting some funding at unknown universities because it would be way easier to get an internship/full time job afterwards. With a good summer internship you can easily cover close to one year of tuition if you save wisely. Also, almost everyone manages funding of some sort in a bigger/top school because there are plenty of on campus jobs as well as RA/TA in other departments. If your priority is to get a job right after MS, you MUST pick universities where many companies come at career/job fair to recruit. You can find this out by looking at the career center website of the university you are considering. You should also target universities which are near to companies you dream to get a job in. Sometimes medium/low ranked universities have excellent recruiting/hiring rate due to proximity of the universities.

-Always aim higher. Do NOT be afraid to take the risk of applying a few top universities and more good universities than picking safe bets. At most you are going to lose little bit of money for the application fee but please also try to visualize the bright side. If you get in, you career path of success would be a great one. It would be much easier to get into a research career or launch a great job in a great company.

Bottom-line is that you should apply to good universities even if you do not hear from faculties, and feel you may not get funding initially in a good school. You will never know until you apply. To increase your chances, you can apply more good universities. Happy school hunting. Wishing everyone all the best.

-Raihan
Portland, USA

*****SOP Writing Guidelines*****

November 3rd, 2013

As application deadlines for Fall/Spring admissions are approaching, applicants are in rush situation in preparing application package. SOP is one of the important documents to be submitted for grad admission.

I’ve attached my SOP (or, letter of intent) as well as personal history statement (PHS) (some Universities ask for PHS).

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3if5cl4kfurUTE1aTF5Nmd3VzQ/edit?usp=sharing

Also follow the SOP writing guidelines taken from top most Universities of USA.

1) University of California, Berkeley

2) MIT- Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3) California Institute of Technology

4) Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

5) The University of California, Los Angeles

__________________________________________
Some points to be taken into account:

1) Do not show your weak points in SOP
2) Do not ask for funding in SOP
3) Emphasize on research and academic accomplishments
__________________________________________


~Mottaleb Hossain
Graduate Student, University of New Mexico, USA
http://www.unm.edu/~mottaleb77

Higher Study in Australia

June 7th, 2013

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Md Jahirul Islam

PhD Research Student
School of Electrical and Information Engineering
The University of Sydney, Australia
&
Assistant Professor (On Leave)
Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering (EEE)
Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET)
Khulna, Bangladesh.

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Recently, when I’m being available online in Facebook, Skype or in Yahoo Messenger many of my friends, juniors, students and even few elder brothers used to knock me and want to know about the “Higher Study in Australia”. Please don’t think that I feel bored to answer them. Always I tried to answer and suggest them whatever I could. But sometimes I’ve had to be busy with my research or other works and it might not possible to reply in time. Thus, I realized to write something in this platform. I’ll try to answer the common questions that I was asked several times.

Before starting, I want to say something about the study in Australia. According to The Washington Post www.washingtonpost.com and The Guardian www.guardian.co.uk Australia has rated the best place to live and work for consecutive third years. The scholarship amount and the rate of per hour working time are very much attractive. But, basically the tuition fees http://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/en/Study-Costs/Fees/Tuition-fees for Masters and PhD level as well as the living cost in Australia are very high. Thus, without scholarship (both tuition fees and living), self-financing is very difficult for most of us except a very few students.

If you decide to continue your higher studies in Australia then read the following steps or you may quit now!!!!!!!!!

There are two semesters in Australia. Semester-1(Most student enrolment) starts in March, application starts from June-August in the previous year. Semester-2(Less enrolment) starts at August, application starts from Jan-March. Thus, for Semester-1 in 2014, application process in ongoing now!!

First of all, the choice of Research Laboratories in different universities in Australia. There are several World top ranked universities in Australia.

Australian

Rank

Institution World
Rank
1 University of Melbourne 37
2 Australian National University 38
3 University of Sydney 58
4 University of Queensland Australia 74
5 Monash University 117
6 University of New South Wales 173
7 University of Western Australia 189
8 University of Adelaide 201-225
9 Macquarie University 226-250
10 University of Wollongong 251-275

The first eight universities altogether are called “Group of Eight” (Go8). The Group of Eight (Go8) is a coalition of leading Australian universities, intensive in research and comprehensive in general and professional education http://www.go8.edu.au. There are other some universities which world ranking varies between 250 to 400. These universities are University of Newcastle, Queensland University of Technology, Charles Darwin University, University of Tasmania, Curtin University, Deakin University, Flinders University, Griffith University, La Trobe University, University of South Australia, Swinburne University of Technology etc. It should be kept in mind that, ranking of the universities is not all; the overall research facilities of the lab in which you wanted to research should be the first condition of choosing the right university for you.

Second, if you’ve chosen a suitable lab that suits with your research attraction, find out the potential supervisors of that lab. Read their profiles carefully and also the link or announcement of their lab/personal website where potential future students are asked to contact. If you satisfy with the research topic of the Faculties write them (e-mail) about your interest of research in an attractive way. Please note that, some universities want higher CGPA in the applicant’s undergraduate level. For example, some programs in The University of Melbourne and Monash University require UG CGPA higher than 3.80!! Don’t be afraid, I’m just waring you that, before mailing to supervisors, be sure about the requirements of the university (searching ‘requirements for future students’ in universities website). Most of the universities asked for IELTS of score 6.5 or TOEFL of 90+. There also some provision to admit without IELTS, under the sub-section ‘Other ways to satisfy English language requirement’. An official statement from your university showing that your undergraduate + masters studies were conducted in English are accepted in some top universities like University of Melbourne, Sydney and so on. IELTS or TOEFL score can be sent later after application. Thus, along with finding supervisor, prepare yourself to sit for these exams.

Now, the most common question is; how to convince supervisors? Or sometimes, I’ve heard to say that, I’ve sent many e-mails and got no reply. Sometimes the writing style of your e-mail, the time of sending and finally your luck depend on to get the reply. We’ve no access to luck, but can do something to get a reply!! I’ve seen that, same professor replied me when I send the same e-mail rather than Friday-Monday. I think, supervisors get a number of e-mails during the weekend and do not read all of them at all. Never send e-mails to professors of same lab at a time. Sending one, wait for a week and if he doesn’t reply then send to others likewise. Here is a snapshot of a sample of e-mail (Enlarge for clear view) what I used to write to supervisors. If you get any response from any supervisor, then he may ask you to write a ‘Research Proposal’. I may discuss later on ‘How to write a research proposal?’…and finally start for applying.

(Note that, this writing is totally based on the procedure I followed during my application to Australia. If you have any suggestion, please let us know, we’ll update as well)

Special thanks to Mottaleb Hossain Liton for his inspiration.

Some Facts about Higher Study @ USA

February 23rd, 2013

It’s a burning question of KUETians who are trying/planning for higher study with low CGPA. The USA universities usually put their minimum requirement around 3.00 for MS admission and 3.5 for PhD admission. This is not true always. In most cases, your admission and funding will depend on your overall package.

1) Academic Results
2) GRE
3) TOEFL/IELTS
4) Research Experience (you did it as a part of your undergraduate thesis, so don’t worry about it, just try to have some publications based on that)
5) Co-curricular activities

I saw many students with higher CPGA (>3.5), GRE (>1400 old/321 new) or IELTS (>7.00) or TOEFL (>100) not getting admission to the universities they prefer…

Also I’ve found students with low academic results (sometimes below 3.00) and higher other stuffs (sometimes with low GRE and TOEFL) getting admissions with funding to their desired universities.

Although some people will say it’s not an example it’s exception….But it’s fact..

You wanna know why????? Let’s see the available funding sources for students:

1) RA (Research Assistantship): most and possible in most cases
2) TA (Teaching Assistantship): few and competitive
3) GA (Graduate Assistantship; RA+TA): few and competitive
4) Fellowship: few and competitive
5) Other external and internal funding sources (such as Fulbright or alike)

For an example two students have applied in the same university in the same department to do research with the same professor with different academic profiles?

What do you think who will get funding?
The one whose research interest matches with Professor’s ongoing/upcoming research project. Professors usually expect a student having research experience…..I mean Professor wants you to be an independent researcher….although he will engage you to learn…

[One thing I need to mention based on my experience is that sometimes you will hear from someone like "r e tor/tomar/apnar to valo CGPA nai, tui/tumi/apni higher study korbi/korben kmnne!!!!!!!!!!" Just ignore....]

So my dear fellow KUETians: don’t be frustrated with your low CGPA (but please try to improve your GPA from the beginning of your undergraduate study)….go ahead…Wanna see u in a leadership position in the near future in the field of your interest…

Good Luck!!!!!!!!


~Mottaleb Hossain

Graduate Student, OSE/PA/ECE

University of New Mexico, USA

http://www.unm.edu/~mottaleb77

International Conference on EICT 2013 @KUET, Bangladesh

February 18th, 2013

Dear KUETians,

Submit your manuscript/research outcome/paper to International Conference on Electrical Information and Communication Technology (EICT 2013),  Khulna University of Engineering and Technology (KUET), Bangladesh.

News and Events

  • Paper submission deadline:
    31 July 2013
  • Noti‑fication of acceptance :
    30 September 2013
  • Camera ready paper submission :
    15 October 2013
  • Registration deadline:
    31 October2013

http://www2.kuet.ac.bd/eict2013/

~Mottaleb Hossain

Graduate Student, University of New Mexico, USA

http://www.unm.edu/~mottaleb77

Student guide for research publications

February 17th, 2013

Prof. Bernstein’s Student Guide

  • Getting Published [PDF]
  • Writing Advice [PDF]
  • Writing a Paper [PDF]
  • Giving a Presentation [PDF]
  • On Review Practice [PDF]
  • A Students Guide to Precision Writing [PDF]
~Mottaleb Hossain
Graduate Student, University of New Mexico, USA
http://www.unm.edu/~mottaleb77

Major Scholarship/Fellowship information

February 17th, 2013
Major Scholarship/Fellowship information for studying abroad at different organizations/countries:
http://www.erd.gov.bd/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=232&Itemid=259
Prospective Scholarship Information for Long Courses:

~Mottaleb Hossain

Graduate Student, University of New Mexico, USA

http://www.unm.edu/~mottaleb77

How to find professors relevant to your research track/interest?

February 17th, 2013

Many students are struggling to find professors relevant to their research track. But it is very easy to find Professors and openings/available positions in their (Professors) research group.

Just follow the procedures:

Best Engineering Schools According to US News:

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-engineering-schools/eng-rankings

State wise list of Universities: http://www.utexas.edu/world/univ/state/

For an example I consider School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) of Cornell University….

1) http://www.ece.cornell.edu/
2) http://www.ece.cornell.edu/research/ (you will find ongoing research at ECE Department)
3) http://www.ece.cornell.edu/ece/research/optoelectronics.cfm (choose the option which matches your research interest; for an example I’ve chosen Optoelectronics and Nanophotonic Devices, sometimes you will find research centers, just explore)
4) There you will find professors doing research on Optoelectronics and Nanophotonic Devices
5) Explore their profile and find whether they have available research positions or your research interest matches with…
6) http://www.ece.cornell.edu/ece/research/profile.cfm?netid=fr37 (I have chosen Farhan Rana)
7) Now you have Professor Farhan Rana’s profile (most of the time you will find Professors personal web page option in his profile section, it depends university to university web policy)
8) Now go to his research group webpage. http://people.ece.cornell.edu/rana/default.htm
9) You will find several options like research, people in his group, openings etc
10) Now go to openings section. http://people.ece.cornell.edu/rana/Openings/Openings.htm
11) You will see few graduate positions available in his group
12) Now e-mail to Professor and wait for response
13) Tile: Seeking research position in Semiconductor Optoelectronics Group or
Research interest in………….and graduate (PhD) admission..

Dear Professor,

Good morning. I’m very much interested in Optoelectronic Materials and Devices and intend to perform research activities at ECE Department in the graduate level. (I have formally applied for PhD in ECE for the Fall, 2013…..)

Please note that one of my research papers has been published recently at the IEICE Transactions on Electronics (or you are going to publish your research outcome…..)

Due to my eagerness & research interest, I am more than willing to carry out advanced research at ECE Department (or in your group) and add values to the cutting edge research environment under your direct supervision.

(Make it short as possible as you can because professors get lots of e-mail from students all over the world. They don’t have much time to read all of your stuffs.)

14) Wait for response

Apply

Please keep in mind that US professors usually want PhD students…..normally they don’t provide funding to MS students because the research projects run for very long time 2, 3, 4, or 5 years…..first one year (or less) professors will teach you what is research and help you to learn (literature review, lab works etc…)…then he will expect from you…

Most of the professors do not update their profile although they have currently available research positions. In that case search their CV or other related options.

Explore and find your future professors to whom you are going to perform advanced research.

Good Luck!!!!!

~Mottaleb Hossain

Graduate Student, University of New Mexico, USA

http://www.unm.edu/~mottaleb77

Recommendation Letter for Graduate School

September 17th, 2010

Raihan Masud, PhD Student,

Dept. of Computer Science, University of Oregon, USA
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Recommendation letters are very important for admission. For recommendation letter, most important thing what the referee is telling about your research credential and potential for grad schools. It is more valuable if the referee says -

“I have seen him for four years and most of the classes with me, he got B but his aptitude for research is extra ordinary. His thesis under my supervision was published in 15th IEEE conference on … He has excellent problem solving skills which I strongly believe will make him a star graduate student. He will produce quality research for sure. I enthusiastically recommend him for the PhD program at University of X ”

than if the referee says

“He has taken five courses with me. In all those courses he got A. I personally know him and he is very studious student and his gpa is 3.99. I wish him good luck in grad school”

Also it is good idea, if the referee tells about his own research and also from where he got his PhD. Please refer #3 sample letter.

Warning: Having similar recommendation letter from 3 faculty will increase the chance of understanding that you wrote those letter and then the faculty signed it. This has a very bad impact on admission process. So, request the faculty to write on your behalf or at least if you provide drafts to them, try to focus on your different strengths on different letters. Also try to follow different writing styles.

Here are some links for recommendation letter writing. Please read as the following order. My favorite is #2.

#2. http://www.cs.brown.edu/~sk/Memos/Grad-School-Recos/

#3. http://www.gradschooltips.com/sample1.htm

Good Luck.

Higher study in Finland

August 28th, 2010
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Rokon Uddin
ECE 2k5
Masters Student
Biomedical Engineering
Temperate University of Technology
Web: http://www.tut.fi/public/index.cfm?siteid=32
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