Apping for Dummies

UPDATE: My advisor, Amin Vahdat, has written an excellent blog post on this subject.

UPDATE: A much extended and updated version of this article has been converted into a small guide book which is now available for purchase from for Rs. 99 (excluding shipping). They take credit card payments and shipping is available anywhere within India as well as to UK, USA and Canada.

I am also making the book available in its entirely for FREE below. Hope it is helpful to some of you out there. If you find the book useful, I would appreciate if you could drop me a line :)

View this document on Scribd

Note to prospective applicants to UCSD or elsewhere

Come fall, I inevitably receive emails from numerous people enquiring about admissions at UCSD. I have tried to put in all the information I have in this document and the UCSD Grad Student FAQ. Please go through these documents carefully before sending me an email. In particular, do not send me email asking the following:

  • These are my credentials. Can you tell me what chance do I have of getting admitted to UCSD: I can’t. And even if I did, I probably wouldn’t. So please, don’t ask.
  • What should I do in this XYZ situation?: please contact the graduate student admissions office at your respective university. They have people who are paid to answer such questions and help you out. I’m not administrative staff, and I don’t have the time, motivation or enthusiasm to accurately answer such questions.
  • Will I get financial aid?: as I’ve mentioned here and elsewhere, if you are admitted to a PhD program, you probably will. If on MS, chances are low. There are exceptions in both cases, and beyond that I don’t have an opinion. This is all I know, honest!


  1. Pingback: My first “book” is published! « Floating Sun

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