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University Admit Series : An Interview With Sara Aafreen

Sara Aafreen

Bachelor’s in Electronics and Communication Engineering, Batch of 2020, College of Engineering, Guindy.

Pursuing MS in Computer Science, University of Edinburgh

Worked as a Software Engineer at FINEOS

Interviewer: Balaji Anbalagan (GT)

Interviewee: Sara Aafreen


GT: What drove you towards applying for this course at the University of Edinburgh?


Sara: I was very keen on doing a course that had flexible coursework. The course structure put forth by the University of Edinburgh was very appealing in its aspect of credits, and that was the first thing that drove me to apply here. The Computer Science course comes under the Department of Informatics which gives students the liberty of choosing from the variety of bulk credits from any subjects across the department.


GT: What requirements are crucial, according to you, for getting into this university?


Sara: A good GPA and English certification exams like IELTS/TOEFL are default requirements for any university. For the Computer Science course offered here, an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, or any other mathematics intensive undergraduate course, would be sufficient.


GT: What was the timeline you followed for the rigorous MS application process?


Sara: Most US colleges complete their first batch by December. So, if you are targeting that, you would have to get your documents ready by November. The University of Edinburgh had a rolling basis that fills up at a single instance that opens in November and stretches down till the end of March. The application timeline varies between colleges, so you have to give individual attention to the timeline of each college.


GT: Have you done any projects/internships or written any research papers that increased your chances of getting into the university?


Sara: I applied for a Taught Master because I wanted to enter the industry instead of the research side. So, a research paper is not necessary for their Taught Masters degrees. I mentioned my final year project since it was a crucial part of my Taught Masters.


GT: What characteristics do you think these top tier universities look for in an applicant, especially when writing the letter of recommendation?


Sara: Once we pass their entry-level criteria, it all boils down to the Statement of Purpose and Letters of Recommendation and how we express ourselves in the SOP. It is subjective to all universities. They are not expecting our life story; they want to learn about what we have done so far and how well suited we are for this program. There is no particular criterion, but we must express those points well.


GT: What was your first reaction when you heard that you got accepted into the university?


Sara: I was happy since this was one of my first choices, and I was intrigued by their coursework.


GT: Did the pandemic change the application process in any way?


Sara: In the US, the GRE was waived off for most universities last year. There weren’t many other changes specific to the University of Edinburgh. 


GT: What is your view on the PG admission interview series?


Sara: It is a great initiative; juniors get insight from people who made it to the top universities. Kudos to GT for that.