Are you thinking of applying to graduate school?
Applying for graduate school is challenging -- there are many elements of the application that may be new to you. Sometimes, it can feel like everyone else already knows what to do. The Pre-Application Mentorship Service (PAMS) is a graduate student-led initiative to support students from historically marginalized groups who are interested in applying for grad school but have questions about where to start.
Target Audience: The goal of PAMS is to support prospective Ph.D. applicants from historically marginalized groups. The definition of who is historically marginalized is specific to a region and context. This can include students with disabilities, students marginalized along axes of gender/race/ethnicity/sexuality, students from low-income backgrounds, intersections of these groups, and others.
Participation in PAMS is completely separate from the official Ph.D. application process and therefore does not guarantee admission to the Allen School. Your mentor will not review your official application, and participation will not be disclosed to the admissions committee or faculty. Information will be aggregated and anonymized to evaluate the impact of this program, but individual responses will be deleted at the end of this application cycle.
PAMS will proceed in two phases for prospective applicants to the Ph.D. program at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering (UW CSE).
In Phase 1, you will have the opportunity to meet with a current graduate student at UW CSE in a 30-60 minute virtual meeting to ask questions about how to get started on your application. Here are some potential questions that you could ask a mentor in Phase 1:
- What is grad school like?
- What is it like being a grad student at the Allen School?
- What experiences or topics should I highlight for my statement of purpose?
- Who should my letters of recommendation come from?
In Phase 2, you will receive one round of feedback on your application materials, i.e., your statement of purpose and CV. We don't expect them to be polished, as long as there's enough for us to read and provide meaningful feedback!
You may apply for both Phases 1 + 2, or only Phase 2. Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis until our volunteer capacity is reached.
If you have any questions about PAMS, please email grad-admissions (at) cs (dot) washington (dot) edu.
For information on fee waivers, and the Allen School's Application Pre-payment program, please see the Admissions Highlights section of our Admissions page.
- Applying to grad school by Michael Ernst (University of Washington, Paul G. Allen School)
- A long, rambling, mostly personal corpus of advice on applying to Computer Science grad school (for UWCSE students) by Justine Sherry (UC Berkeley)
- MIT Faculty share what they look for in applicants
- Applying to Ph.D. Programs in Computer Science by Mor Harchol-Balter (Carnegie Mellon University)
- Advice to Graduate School Recommendation Letter Writers by Shriram Krishnamurthi
Prepatory Courses & Programs
Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program
First generation students often face additional challenges when considering graduate-level education. There is a nationa-wide program in the US that offers an immersive experience to assist these students with applying and preparing for graduate school called McNair Scholar. The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded at 151 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. Students who participate in the McNair Scholar program are awarded funding, and many Universities within the US will waiver application fees. Visit the Council for Opportunity in Education's McNair website for more information on funding and a list of students who have participated in the program.