How to explain courses with non-descriptive titles

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InquilineKea
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How to explain courses with non-descriptive titles

Postby InquilineKea » Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:53 pm

So if I took an independent study course, where should I explain the course's content? Should I explain it in the personal statement, or could I attach another piece of paper explaining the content of courses with non-descriptive titles? It would be awkward for me to explain it in the personal statement since I've taken numerous courses with non-descriptive titles.

This also applies for "Special Topics" courses, "Models in X" courses, and other courses like "Objective Analysis" - whose content involves time series analysis/time-frequency domain analysis - which you can't really get from the name of the course.

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twistor
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Re: How to explain courses with non-descriptive titles

Postby twistor » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:55 pm

Don't bother trying to explain it. You'll waste time and space and no one really cares about the content of your courses. More important are the course number (upper vs. lower level) and grade. Unless you think the content relates strongly to the field of research you want to don't waste your time.

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grae313
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Re: How to explain courses with non-descriptive titles

Postby grae313 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:17 pm

If you've studied a significant amount of advanced topics under course titles like "independent study" then it is to your advantage to let the admissions committees know the extent of what you studied. If a professor who oversaw your coursework in one or more of these classes were writing you a letter of recommendation, I would have them address it there. Furthermore, you could give them a list of the special topics you studied in other courses and ask them to mention it in their letter. If you will not be getting a letter from any such professor, then I would recommend just applying as usual to universities and after your application is submitted, email the admissions secretary and ask if you could send a list of more descriptive course titles. There is no place formally for this in the application but in most cases they'll probably be happy to print out a supplementary document like that and toss it in your file.

If it was only one course I wouldn't worry about it. Special topics in X and Models in X is descriptive enough to give a good idea of what you studied, and no one cares too much about the specifics.

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InquilineKea
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Re: How to explain courses with non-descriptive titles

Postby InquilineKea » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:26 pm

Oh okay - thanks so much! That helps a lot.

Another place might be the CV - to mention the significant courses one took there. But do applicants generally send CVs? Are there any cases where they're discouraged from sending one?

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grae313
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Re: How to explain courses with non-descriptive titles

Postby grae313 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:28 pm

InquilineKea wrote:Oh okay - thanks so much! That helps a lot.

Another place might be the CV - to mention the significant courses one took there. But do applicants generally send CVs? Are there any cases where they're discouraged from sending one?


I know I sent a CV with some of my applications. I think many had a screen where you could upload a CV or copy and paste one into a text field, but not all. Also it might be possible to slip something quick into your SOP, for example if some of the topics you studied related to your research you could mention in passing how studying X, Y, and Z in your independent study course was helpful for such and such...




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