So, last weekend, I visted Carnegie Mellon. The thought of Graduate School really didn’t worry me until that weekend. The workload seems intense, and Carnegie Mellon is a really good school for Computer Science. While I honestly didn’t realize this before, there are four top schools in CS – MIT, Berkeley, Stanford, and CMU. For me, a person who is not sure they should be in Computer Science at all, it seems like an interesting decision to go to one of the best schools for it.
There are six accepted students into the Computation, Organization and Society program (the program I applied and was accepted for). There are four asian students and two white students, all male. I only was really able to talk to the Matthew, he is twenty-five years old, and quite nice. He is graduating this May from NCState with a Masters, in an area very related to COS.
My two advisors seem very professional and very organized. Dr. Sadeh, seems strict, yet very knowledgable. He got his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon, has spent five years working for the European Commission and has a French(Belgium) accent. He also helped assuage my fears about turning down the University of Edinburgh, by saying it would almost certianly be possible for me to take one of my summers at an internship overseas.
Dr. Cranor seems very nice and open. She is also quite pregnant and due to have her third child this week. She was really good to talk to and she has a nice office. She also quilts.
In my meeting with them I expressed my newfound worry that I am not good enough. They tell me I am. They express large amounts of confidence in myself that I may or may not have.
The School of Computer Science as a whole has nine different Ph.D. programs. They excepted in total around 80 students. Out of over 1500 applicants (five percent). I actually have fears I could get kicked out. Wouldnt that be ridiculous. It doesnt help that one of Luke (of carolyn)’s friends came to Carnegie Mellon this past fall, and left when the semester ended. He said he hated it, however I think other factors were more heavily involved. To balance that Brian has a friend William who is in his second year at CMU in their Ph.D. program for Language Translation in CS. I got his number and e-mail and am going to talk to him soon. Pittsburgh seems nice as a city but it is no … Chicago / San Francisco / Paris (those of course being my top three cities in no particular order.)
I talked to my friend Bridget a few days ago. She is moving to Ireland when she graduates in May. I almost just wanted to go with her. This Ph.D. is going to be a lot of work, a lot of years, a lot of papers, and research (which is started from day one and does not cease until you leave).
I am trying to be as honest with them as possible. I know that is one of my biggest setbacks, I get into these little misleading statements about where I am with things and they get all blown out of proportion and that is how i break relationships with bosses and such. I need to not do that to get through this program.
During the presentations today, Norman said the COS program expects a 100% acceptance rate of students. As in now that they have accepted us and talked to us they expect 100% of us to come here. They really want to make it as painless as possible, and they really want us. Lorrie and her team uses Apples. CMU buys me a computer once I get here and it is any computer of my choosing, it can be an apple (there is a price limit i think).
I met some great people, including Matthew above, and a Micheal from Purdue, and Rebecca from McGill, and a bunch more. They were all really nice. I also heard that most applied to the other schools that were good at CS. I only found one person who applied to Cornell (and didn’t get in), quite a few who didn’t get into MIT, though it seems most got into Berkeley and Stanford. Almost everyone here is considering other places. The only two people I know who are definetely going to CMU are both in the COS part of CS. Many people have other places. I am certainly on the rolling-waiting-lists for both Cornell and MIT. That means as people that they already accepted turn them down, they will invite more, maybe they will get to me. It is also possible they are waiting to hear about more funding.
If I haven’t heard from Cornell by tomorrow morning I am calling them. I think Edinburgh has about a 5% chance right now. Carnegie Mellon is probably around 75%, and I guess the other 20 is Cornell accepting me, or me going insane, or becoming a writer (those might be the same thing), or me just traveling around the country. If Cornell does accept me, then I will need to head out there and visit. If not, then I think my decision is pretty much made up. Thoughts?