Admitted with Scholarship in Master of Information Security

Further Studies
that you think will cast positive effect on your application. There
is one thing that I want to remind you that you need to adjust your
SP and PS to the requirements of different universities accordingly,
Wang Xiaoran
Senior Student Ambassador
Admitted with Scholarship in Master of Information Security, Technology and Management
by Carnegie Mellon University
otherwise your application is just at the “noise” level. To be specific,
avoid making your PSs and SPs for different institutions with just
one phrase difference – the university’s name. You can refer to templates on the internet but remember to revise them to your own style.
Selecting Schools
Personally, I deem school selections as the most vital component in
I’m Wang Xiaoran (Frank), a Year 3 graduating student of EE department and I have
decided to pursue my Master program in the
Information Networking Institute of Carnegie
Mellon University. Throughout a year of
the application process, I have gained many
practical experiences and want to share all of
them with my fellow classmates.
your application. If you evaluate yourself properly, you have already
won half of the battle. There’re two resources that you can make use
of to better orient yourself: your senior classmates and the internet.
As for the former, simply ask their opinions on the schools you chose
base on your test scores, GPA and your past academic experiences. In
terms of the latter, there is one forum that I highly recommend to all
of you: Taisha ( As far as I know, more than 80% of
the Chinese applicants share their experiences and seek help on that
forum. Hence, it’s not unusual to be overwhelmed by the amount of
Taking Tests
information contained in almost more than 1000 new threads every
day. In addition, you need to decide the number of schools to apply
Generally speaking, you have to take GRE and TOEFL tests to
demonstrate your capacities of English. As for the former, there’re
only two sessions of paper tests annually, held on June and October.
I strongly suggest that you take the June session and then you will
have plenty of time for the massive applications from September
(when the online application systems normally open). Otherwise,
you will be quite stressful in October taking tests as well as contacting schools, filling in application forms, mailing documents,
etc. concurrently. As for the TOEFL test, I recommend you take
it one month immediately after the GRE test. The reason is that
GRE demands myriads of words’ recitations and can give you a
comprehensive practice on both your reading and writing skills.
Hence, one month is pretty enough for preparing the Listening and
Speaking sections of TOEFL but not that long to make you rusty
on the Reading and Writing sections.
Preparing Documents
There are in total three documents that you need to write for yourself,
Statement of Purpose (SP), Personal Statement (PS) and Resume.
In SP, you have to describe your academic achievements, study and
career plans, while in PS you’re free to write any life experience
for. In my opinion, you can choose 12 institutions hierarchically
with 3 for your dream schools, 6 for your competent ones and 3 for
backup. As for the backup universities, select only those you will
attend instead of as less competitive as possible. Otherwise, you
would probably end up with schools you’re not willing to take part
in at all. Moreover, DO peruse every single line of information written on the websites of your intended graduate programs and think
whether you really like the curriculums of them. Furthermore, take
a look at the academic staff of the programs you’re interested in
and check out whether their research interests coincide with yours.
This is helpful when you plan to apply for Teaching Assistant or
Research Assistant to relieve your financial burden. Last but not
least, location of an institution is more important than its reputations
and academic professors when it comes to application for Master
Degree, while it’s the opposite for Ph.D. Degree.
A Wired Rule
There is a wired rule in the application process. Supposing that
University A has a better reputation than B and you have already
been admitted by University A, it does not necessarily mean that
you’ll be admitted by B and vice versa. Hence, DO NOT panic if
are deliberately arranged for students from different engineering
your first rejection letter is sent from one of your backup schools.
backgrounds to gather and explore some completely new fields. In
At the end, I want to express my sincere gratitude to EE department,
addition, preparation on several English language tests should be
for giving me three fruitful years and opportunities to exchange and
started if we choose to study abroad. Therefore, in the face of those
intern overseas. I love this big family! Finally, I wish my junior class-
above choices, sufficient time for self-reflection and consultation
mates cheerful job offers and admittance from their dream schools.
are essentially needed before entering the final year.
It was the experience of my exchange study in the U.S. that greatly
aroused my intention of continuing my education under another
different style of environment. At that time, I began to realize that
GAO Ning
what I have learnt from undergraduate courses appeared to be
BEngIE, Yr-3
relatively narrow and insufficient, which prompted my desire for
Senior Student Ambassador
keeping exploring new fields and acquiring a complete set of skills.
Therefore, hoping to equip myself with some fresh knowledge as
In review of my four-year undergraduate
well as to broaden my future career path, I determined to switch
study in CityU, one biggest harvest so far
my learning course of technical knowledge to soft and flexible
is my decision made around two years
interpersonal skills. The uniquely designed curriculum of the En-
ago on the pursuit of further study in the
gineering Management program in master degree quickly caught
U.S. after graduation. What seems more
my attention and seemed to fulfill my ambition. Afterwards, busy
significant to me is that I have discovered
online applications to the attempted universities soon begun at the
what I really want to further pursue and
beginning of the final year. The preparation on personal statement
have chosen a satisfactory direction. As
which is mostly required during application is considered to be a
far as I believe, no matter what we choose after graduation, the initial
time-consuming work which should be put much effort in present-
as well as most essential preparation is to think over ourselves and
ing not only academic excellence but also individual charisma.
discover what we wish to be in the coming years. Once we have truly
In my view, remarkable emphasis should be placed on individual
found out our own path to future, any devotion we make during the
characteristics and uniqueness, which reveals one’s ambition and
process will be precious treasures in our life.
will quickly catch review panel’s eyes.
As a result, the second year in the undergraduate study is considered
It was worth waiting for several months before having received some
to be a very critical stage, during which we need to start consider-
best offers from renowned universities. After careful comparison,
ing what we intend to do after graduation. Several far-reaching
I finally accepted the admission from Duke University in the U.S.
questions should gradually be thought over. To work or not to
to start my new journey. The campus environment and featured
work, that is the first question. To work, firstly we need to largely
curriculum of the program are the two most critical elements that I
explore among a variety of companies that are available in the list
have considered during the selection.
of summer internship program. To continue to study, we have to
face another important question whether to dig deeper or explore
In retrospect of the whole application process, what has impressed
broader. PhD program aims at offering students with a much deeper
me most was the time when I was thinking over my ambition and
bed for academic research related to their undergraduate majors,
expectation before getting busy with school selection. I believe that
while master degree program is designed to provide abundant
once we clearly know our destination we will get over any obstacles
choices. Students from different undergraduate backgrounds can
through thick and thin. Spending more time listening to our hearts
choose to continue pursuing a deeper level of study in their original
is what I have learnt and stuck to during the four-year precious life
area as well as to switch to another new track of knowledge. As an
in CityU. Finally, I wish all the best to my classmates and junior
engineering student, what’s more exciting is that some programs
students in future.
Department of Electronic Engineering, City University of Hong Kong