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If I wanted to check how competitive it is to get into a school's PhD (or MS/PhD track) program, what should I look at? For undergraduate, I usually search for the incoming SAT/ACT scores and the acceptance rate, and I found that pretty reliable. Is there something like that for grad schools?

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I am not aware of any absolute measure for this. However, you can have a general idea by:

  1. Some schools provide last year(s) statistics about their programs (usually in the prospective student section). For example, program A has attracted X number of applications and Y applications were accepted.
  2. Also, some programs have a fix limit (i.e. due to number of equipments available) for number of applications to be accepted.

  3. Sometimes online admission results like the one in Grad Cafe give you a sense on how strict the school is.

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Although not entirely accurate, due to the high variability of individual applicants and admissions committees, UT El Paso created an "Acceptance Estimator" for Computer Science applicants. The Estimator provides an ordered list of schools the applicant is likely to be accepted to.

UTEP CS Acceptance Estimator

My gripe is that it largely ignores the most important component of one's application: Research Experience.

This Estimator is designed to help you find schools that match up to your skills, and by no means is 100% correct.

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