I was interested in deep learning and devoted most of my undergraduate time to it. However, as I learn more about this field, I discover it does not fit me: I hate tuning parameters and doing experiments. Developing concrete and explainable applications seems more appealing to me.

I am about to apply for grad schools in CS and the personal statements become a headache. I what to apply for professional programs but all my experiences are in AI.

If I don't write about them, I have nothing to say except for mundane course projects. If I write about them, how can I explain why I choose a program for future SDE? Should I do intern works for the time being and postpone my application to next year?

I am also considering programs that do not have a clear orientation to work or research. Should I focus on one topic, post two topics in a parallel manner, or, discuss my changed mind in my PS? I am afraid that changing mind would be considered as a lack of resolution and reliability.

  • 1
    "Developing concrete and explainable applications seems more appealing to me." So why are you applying for graduate school? Isn't industry a better place to do that? Nov 26 '19 at 11:29
  • Are you in the US (or considering studying there) or elsewhere?
    – Buffy
    Nov 26 '19 at 13:19
  • I am not in the US. I am curious about what education here is like and I also look for career opportunities. Applying for grad school is a way to do so. Nov 26 '19 at 13:46
  • I'm still confused about location. Where is "here" in your comment? I can offer advice for US study (maybe Canada) but not most other places.
    – Buffy
    Nov 26 '19 at 14:03
  • What do SDE and PS stand for?
    – user2768
    Nov 26 '19 at 14:16

A personal statement is set up to describe the development of your interests as they pertain to your graduate program. People apply to graduate programs for many reasons. The backgrounds of applicants may differ widely. The personal statement is an opportunity to tie together your experiences in such a way that they show the school that your skills and interests will likely lead to success in their program.

In your case, you need to talk about your previous experiences, show the research skills you mastered, and describe in positive terms how that led you to an interest in professional work. A few general tips:

  1. List out how your experience in AI would help you in that school's CS program. Then, in your draft, describe previous projects in ways that highlight the transfer of skills. These can be general abilities - like time management and project delegation - or specific skills with development tools.

  2. Think about the transition in positive terms. Don't focus on what you don't like in AI, because the purpose of a personal statement is not to write about why you don't study something else. Focus on what you like about software development. Then, as your overall narrative, convey from point to point how AI led you to pursue software development. (If you really have no positive reasons for pursuing CS, then you shouldn't be applying.)

  3. Specify an achievable goal that the graduate degree would help you attain. In other words, if you go to this school and work with professors in X and Y areas to earn (for example) an MS, what do you plan to do? Setting such a goal will help flesh out your motivation.


I think the best personal statements are the honest ones. Your question here might be the first draft of yours. Describe what you studied, why you want to move on to something more concrete and immediately useful/fun. (Be a little less forceful than "hate tuning parameters".) You can explain why simple (perhaps not "mundane") course projects turned you in this direction.

If you can connect your future plans to the work of particular people at the school you are applying to your odds will improve. Tailor your cover letter as appropriate.


I am about to apply for grad schools in CS and the personal statements become a headache. I what to apply for professional programs but all my experiences are in AI.

You could advertise your experience and explain why you want to move, e.g.,

I devoted a significant amount of my undergraduate study to deep learning,
with results including [[summarise results]]. I want to shift my focus to
[[grad school topic]], since I favour [[benefits of new topic]] over [[disadvantages of old topic]].

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