That is a great question.
See, while an SOP is written in a more professional tone, your Personal Statement will have a hint of emotion in it.
In a Personal Statement, you have to explain why you chose the university and the program based on your personal experiences.
For example, how, a friend/family facing an issue gave you an idea for a project, and you fell in love with the subject.
See where I am going with this?
You don't have to be formal. You have to be your true, authentic self.
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RE: Personal Statement
RE: University specific para
Your university-specific paragraph should talk about the university, the program, and why they interest you.
You could relate to the student bodies and the committees you wish to join.
Mention any professors you know and admire.
Outline why you are the best choice for the program.
This shouldn't take more than 200-220 words.
RE: University interview questions
The majority of questions universities ask are these -
- Tell me something about yourself
- Why did you pick this course
- Where do you see yourself 3-5 years down the line
- What are your strengths
- What are your weaknesses
- Share a challenge you faced and how you solved it
- Why should we pick you over other students/What is unique about you
- What are your favorite subjects
- Why our university
- What will you do if we reject you
If anything more comes to my mind, I'll add it
RE: What are the different types of university interviews?
The university will most likely prompt you about the interview well in advance. However, I have also heard that sometimes, you only get 2 days to prepare.
There are a few common types of interviews universities take-
- A recorded video interview - you will receive a pre-recorded set of questions on your screen, and you'll be allowed to take some seconds to prepare before answering each question
- Informal QnA sessions - several students will be called at the same time, and the mediator will judge you based on your preparedness, presentation, and communication skills
- One on one - this is the regular kind of interview that gets conducted over a telephone or Skype
- Some universities also conduct group sessions and case studies as part of their interview process
RE: Which courses should I do before flying?
Depending on the difficulty level, you will find several options for machine learning courses on Coursera & EdX. Here are the top 5-
Machine Learning — Coursera
Deep Learning Specialization — Coursera
Machine Learning with Python — Coursera
Advanced Machine Learning Specialization — Coursera
Machine Learning — EdX
RE: Is it true PhD programs are fully funded?
It is pretty hard to do a PhD without getting financial support from the school, and universities understand that! You get a monthly stipend and the tuition and health insurance is covered.
The school either rejects an application or grants admission with funding guarantees. In some rare cases, it does grant admission but offers only a partial aid.
RE: Good colleges to do a masters in astronomy in US
You can look at Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, California Institue of Technology, Boston University, University of Arizona, and University of Virginia