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Showing posts from March, 2015

Reflecting on CS Graduate Admissions

I was just indulging in my favorite bad habit (reading hacker news), when I came across a discussion about prestige in faculty hiring - namely, the fact that the majority of CS professors across the US come from the top 18 or so universities, and that even within that, there's bias.  The HN discussion turned to Ph.D. admissions, with a commenter noting:

"I'm not sure, but I'd bet that the best institutions actually don't care where their applicants come from. They can afford to just choose the best. It's the so-so places that have to signal their quality by 'hiring the best'. I've seen this in graduate school applications - students with poor marks often stand a better chance of admittance in a top program than a so-so one."

I just finished chairing the CMU CS Ph.D. admissions committee, so I thought it might be worth writing down my experience in doing so.  With two very important notes:

I'm not doing it next year, so please don't use …