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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Konstantin Kuzmin

Ph.D. Computer Science

Prior university: St. Petersburg State Electrical Engineering University "LETI"
Advisor: Dr. Boleslaw K. Szymanski

Why did you select Rensselaer for your PhD in Computer Science?
I received an email from Rensselaer indicating that my GRE scores were favorable for admission. I hadn’t heard of the school, so I asked my trusted friends and family members, and several were familiar with the school and its reputation as a strong technology and engineering school. One ancestor of my host family in the U.S. was also a Rensselaer graduate around the turn of the 20th century. Ultimately, it seemed like the best fit, and I was selected for a Research Assistantship, which provides full funding for my education and living expenses.

Where else did you apply?
Drexel, Rutgers, Boston University, and George Washington University in the United States

How do you find the program so far?
Honestly, it’s more challenging than I thought. Professors are stricter in terms of deadlines than I was familiar with in Russia, and several of my professors are more formal than I had anticipated. I found my advisor both supportive and demanding of my best work. I realize now that you are not admitted to a degree program in the U.S., particularly a PhD program, unless the faculty truly thinks you can be successful in the program. This has been helpful in reminding me that I can meet the rigorous expectations at Rensselaer.

What advise do you have for prospective Russian students interested in RPI?
Try to meet with people in your program of interest in person or via Skype to see if the program is a good fit. I attended a QS World Grad School Tour to find U.S. schools and found it very helpful.