Grad school in the US with european BSc

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Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 12:54 pm UTC

Grad school in the US with european BSc

Postby PoissonPilote » Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:23 am UTC

Hey guys,

I'm in need for advice concerning grad school right now.
I'm currently finishing a 2 year undergraduate french diploma in computer science (called DUT for those who know). Next year, I'll be doing the final year of a BSc in computer science (with options in artificial intelligence) at Oxford Brookes University, in Oxford, UK.
After that, I plan on doing a MSc. + PhD in the US.

My marks concerning my current diploma are average good (i'm in the top third essentially). If the marks were to be converted rawly to GPA, it'd be around 2.5. Thing is, here the valedictorian's GPA would be around 3.0 or 3.1.
I haven't worked really hard this year, but I hope to do so next year (theoretical CS interest me much more than UML and java stuff). I hope to achieve Bristish First Class honours.

My question is regarding my application to US grad schools. I'm afraid that my french system marks could be misinterpreted and work against me. Also, I've seen that most grad schools in the US have application deadlines by early december of the year before, so I wouldn't be able to submit my UK marks for the first semester to make up for it.
I could also wait for the end of the year, and apply for spring semester. In that case I'd be able to submit all of my marks, but it's a bit risky: if I'm not accepted anywhere, I will have nothing to do for the whole year.

What do you think I should do?
My current draft of an idea is to do the following:

- Take the GRE around november, and try to rock at it
- Submit applications to schools with recommendation letters from my teachers at Oxford from the first semester and GRE results for fall semester, and pray
(- Pray)

If I'm accepted somewhere I want, hooray! If not:

- Eventually give the GRE another go if my results weren't excellent the first time
- Resubmit my applications around June, for spring semester
(- Pray even harder)

What do you think my odds are? Do you happen to know how are foreign diplomas (and UK BSc.) regarded in grad schools?
I guess I'm not going to hope for the best school ever, but a little part of me wishes to get in Berkeley, MIT, CMU, dream would be the MIT Media Lab, but I don't know what my odds are.

I'm a bit lost guys, as much as to which universities I should apply to (no need in applying to the top 10 if it's evident I have literally no chance there), but also as to how I should proceed to maximize my chances to go to grad school.

(the option of continuing my MSc. + Phd in France or England is not really one for me, except if I have literally no choice. But come on, I'm going to make it, right? right?)

Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 12:54 pm UTC

Re: Grad school in the US with european BSc

Postby PoissonPilote » Sun Jun 14, 2009 10:39 pm UTC

Oh come on guys, you've got to be kidding me. As if no one here knew how grad schools and international students and US/UK equivalencies worked.

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Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 7:34 am UTC
Location: Montreal

Re: Grad school in the US with european BSc

Postby Quenouille » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:09 pm UTC

I don't, but may I recommend the phdcomics forums? It would seem like an even better place to ask.

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Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:29 am UTC

Re: Grad school in the US with european BSc

Postby Sethric » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:09 pm UTC

I don't know about the trade offs, but I can comment on the application process. Go ahead and follow through on your initial plan to take the GRE and apply in fall. The act of applying opens a file in your name. You can continue to add to that file until a decision is made. That usually means you will have enough time to get your marks from the first semester into your file before the decision is made. Concerning your marks themselves, make a note of it in the application if you wish, but keep in mind that being in the top third doesn't really guarantee much, and you said that you hadn't really worked hard, which is probably something you don't want to mention to them ;) . You will need to make your case through your GRE, recommendations, and any specific coding you may have done in your career. Good luck.

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