Fine, I'll Look Into Grad School


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“I’m done with education, I want to make money!”

– My Naïve Ass circa 2018

Ever since my failure to get a job, grad school is now an option (if I get a passport before April). Because of that, I’ve decided to give this option the attention it deserves by asking the hard questions.

Am I Too Stupid For Grad School?

Probably. While my GPA was a 3.2, I worry that it’s too low. Combined with how I struggled with the math requirements and a couple of CS classes wacked me hard, I don’t think I have a chance at grad school. Also, I remember looking at some CS masters requirements and they insisted on having many theoretical CS classes, which I don’t have.

Maybe I’m underestimating my abilities or they’re an accurate reflection of my ability. Then again there have been a few points when I managed to understand hard things. Besides, I can use this as an opportunity to develop a strong academic backbone.

Thesis or non-thesis?

At some colleges I’ve seen, they offer a thesis and a non-thesis masters. From what I’ve heard, the non-thesis has more classes and works towards a project while the thesis option has a lot more research. While the thesis presents the option of academia, I really want to work in industry. However, I really want to have a master’s that provides a strong theoretical foundation along with the opportunity to make a substantial project.

How will I Pay for it?

With money.

Seriously though this is something I’m struggling with. I was fortunate enough to get a full scholarship for my undergraduate. Sadly, such an opportunity is unlikely to present itself again, especially with how mediocre I am.

I’ll try to get into a European university, probably in Germany, Cyprus or Italy where tuition for everyone is free or very cheap compared to the US. Problem is that I now need money for living expenses which are about $12k a year. Family can’t help given how there’s basically no foreign currency and I doubt I’ll get any scholarships so I really don’t know what to do.

Maybe you cansupport me?

What should I look for in a grad school?

A decent reputation, interesting environment and a curriculum which isn’t just a fancy bootcamp and actually features a decent theoretical foundation.

Where Do I Want To Apply For Grad School?

As I mentioned, I want to study either in Germany,Italy or Cyprus since they have free tuition, some English-taught programsand have a decent chance for me to leave Zimbabwe forever.

Why do I even want to go to grad school.

A few reasons.

  1. Gain a more profound understanding of computer science. I want home in on certain CS topics, mainly to do with software engineering.
  2. A do-over of college. While I can’t go to college again (now at least), I really want to approach grad school with more purpose and maturity.
  3. A way out of Zimbabwe. I have no hope for this country so I might as well find a way to leave it.
  4. Credentialism. Even though a company might want to hire me, work visas are typically restricted to those with higher education (or they might get more points towards their application).

How do I Prepare?

I’ll wait for an acceptance before gearing up to learn at that particular institution. Most likely involves learning the country’s language and brushing up on my CS knowledge from college.

How do I apply?

Online.

I mean, it depends on the institution. They probably need letters or recommendation, transcripts and the like. Not sure how I’ll get letters of recommendation from professors I was taught by over a year ago.