Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Georgia Tech and Me

A few months ago I posted this after receiving a rejection from Georgia Tech's Online Masters in Computer Science program. Since then, after an email exchange with the dean of the school of computing, my rejection was reversed and I was admitted into the summer session, which begins very soon. I've been holding off posting about this, but wanted to give a brief touchbase. My previous post doesn't paint the program in a very good light. Some of that was due to my being hurt at an unjustified rejection, but some of my criticisms are still valid. As I get ready to register for my first course and begin taking classes online, here are a few of my observations on areas for improvement:
  • Process deadlines and dates - Once admitted to the program, there are still a lot of questions. For example - I was admitted to the summer term, but I have no idea exactly what the dates for this term are. I have a vague idea of May to July, but none of the admissions material indicates the timeframe for the work I will be performing. Furthermore, the registration dates are not too highly publicized - there is a process where you can check with the registrar via the student portal, but it wasn't even really working until mid last week due to the status of OMSCS applicants. A quick email with a few reminders (alongside the DAILY emails we get with somewhat relevant general Georgia Tech news) would greatly benefit the prospective and admitted students.
  • Value for money - I don't speak of the education, as I have yet to experience that (and regardless of my opinions, Georgia Tech's Computer Science program is ranked in the top ten in the nation), but rather during the application process. Form letters are inexcusable when someone has paid an application fee to be considered. This is endemic across academia - pay $50, get a form rejection. If I am paying $50, even if I don't get accepted I feel as though my purchase - which is between 5-10 hours of minimum wage earnings - warrants at least SOME individualized feedback. A personalized note. Tips for improving on the application. ANYTHING other than a generic, lazy form rejection. I understand the fears of providing a base for a discrimination suit, but in an objective measuring system designed to weed out applicants, there needs to be at least SOME room for objective feedback! I find this just as frustrating in the business world when applying for jobs (I am looking at YOU, Google and Amazon - give some freaking feedback and alleviate the single greatest complaint about your interview processes), but at least in those cases the only thing I lose is my time.
  • Samples of coursework - I have absolutely zero idea how to prepare for the forthcoming coursework. Any examples of the courses themselves may have been publicized, but the accepted applicants should be reminded of these examples rather than having to resort to google searches of mass media. You're working on developing a system that will serve thousands of students each term - these convenience elements will save thousands of man-hours in help desk questions, support tickets, and overall will reduce general frustration.
Have any of you been accepted to the program? What are your thoughts on the above?


  1. Hi Matt,

    Could you explain how you convinced them to accept you?

    1. Hi Sadece,

      I simply sent an email detailing their reported admission requirements, how I met each requirements, and asking for more specific feedback on why I was not accepted. I would recommend taking a very business-like approach if you wish to pursue those steps, as my letter was a bit more petulant than it should have been (I sent a toned-down version of the open letter I referenced in the beginning of this post).