I was admitted to and began Stanford’s MS in Computer Science (MSCS) program in Fall 2018.
Some people have asked for advice on applying. In this post, I present some of my thoughts on applying and resources that I found useful. Not necessarily in order:
- Learn about the program. It’s 2 years. Research is optional. Be ready to either pay a lot of money or get a Teaching or Research Assistantship. Read the entire FAQs https://cs.stanford.edu/academics/prospective-masters/faq
- Compare the Stanford MSCS to other programs. Either PhD, MS, or MEng programs at other schools. In terms of MS specifically, two similar caliber/intensity programs are Berkeley’s MS (not the M.Eng) and Princeton’s MS.
- Consider what CS classes you would actually take at Stanford. https://cs.stanford.edu/academics/courses
- Learn about the CS research groups at Stanford. If you are seriously interested in doing research, email professors whom you are interested in potentially working with.
- Read this guide! I found it immensely insightful. https://nlp.stanford.edu/~rkarthik/DAGAP.pdf
- Explicitly decide whether you want to attend Stanford’s MSCS program. Commit to yourself to give it your best effort.
- If still in your control, do what you can to achieve a high GPA and GRE score. The article linked above has some good context for these. Unless you’ve gotten a perfect score or really don’t have the time, study and try again.
- Using what you learned in 1–5, carefully write your statement of purpose. Start *early* and have as many people as you can read it and give feedback.
- When asking for recommendation letters, give your recommender the most information possible to help them write a great letter (e.g. your resume, your statement of purpose).
- If you’ve made it this far, you are a step ahead of many other applicants and the odds are in your favor :)
Good luck in the journey!