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nathan-b
October 10th, 2013, 07:54 PM
I am applying to grad schools to study computer science (I am getting my undergraduate degree next semester) and I need to write a Personal Statement. I've read that this is supposed to be memorable, unique and most importantly not boring. I hit on the idea of writing a Python program to generate a personal statement using a probabilistic algorithm (based on a Markov chain, similar to the Mark V Shaney bot http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_V_Shaney). I would use the text from sample personal statements on the internet as the seed for the program and then submit the result. In your opinion fellow Ubuntu-ers, would this help to convince the readers that I am grad school material, or is this a Really Bad Idea? Perhaps I am over-thinking this a little bit?

sffvba[e0rt
October 10th, 2013, 08:37 PM
You may impress who ever is looking at this if they are also a programmer and sees it as intuitive... but that would be a long shot. What will the school really learn about you as a person if you did this.

-1 for me on that idea.


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walterorlin
October 10th, 2013, 09:30 PM
I see this idea as either working really well or really badly depending on who views it with not much. Are you sure the person reading your personal statement will understand python?

nathan-b
October 10th, 2013, 10:15 PM
I see this idea as either working really well or really badly depending on who views it with not much. Are you sure the person reading your personal statement will understand python?

To be clear, the actual text would be English, just randomly generated by a Python program.
But I agree, very high-risk/high reward. At the end of the day I feel like they would not like the gimmicky nature, even if it was technically impressive. It would definitely be unique and memorable though, which is why I'm sort of attracted to the idea over the generic "I've been interested in computers for X years, therefore I want to study at your university, blah blah."

tgalati4
October 10th, 2013, 10:34 PM
Explain how you would like to change the world. Look around at the massive social problems that exist. Pick one and explain how you would solve it using the tools that you learned at University XYZ. You want some big picture thinking in the essay, not some cutesy puzzle that only geeks would understand. Also include some references to your excellent comp sci foundation that you received at University ABC that would make you a successful candidate at University XYZ.

mrgs
October 11th, 2013, 10:51 AM
If a programming teacher is willing to run a script he receives from a complete stranger I wouldn't want him to teach me.

nathan-b
October 11th, 2013, 06:58 PM
Explain how you would like to change the world. Look around at the massive social problems that exist. Pick one and explain how you would solve it using the tools that you learned at University XYZ. You want some big picture thinking in the essay, not some cutesy puzzle that only geeks would understand. Also include some references to your excellent comp sci foundation that you received at University ABC that would make you a successful candidate at University XYZ.

Thanks for the advice! It seems like a much better direction to go in. :D We'll see how it turns out...

tgalati4
October 12th, 2013, 02:53 AM
Let us know if you get in!

mJayk
October 14th, 2013, 05:45 PM
Why would you do this, they will learn nothing about you bar you can do something that they would expect you to do anyway.