6

I did a bunch of code projects like implement a algorithm or use the code from a paper on a different dataset. These may not be unique (they may be, but I am not sure). I wouldn't say that these projects have the best efficiency/accuracy for a particular problem. But these are stuff that I was just messing around with and got some interesting outputs. I maintain a blog about all these activities that I do. These projects are related to machine learning, a subject in which I am interested in pursuing a MS degree.

Should I mention these blog posts in my SOP?

My SOP is a research statement, and these are not entirely research projects, but they do reflect my interest in machine learning. Would mentioning these projects benefit me in any way?

If you do recommend that I mention them, how should go about that?

  • 1
    Is your blog written in English or the same language of the readers? Is your blog's content mainly relevant to your work, or just a general blog? – Ooker Dec 22 '14 at 6:50
  • Written in English and very much relavant to my work. However there is a general section. – Aditya Dec 22 '14 at 7:14
  • You can add these details into your question, so that further readers can know what's your problem. Anyway, if your blog is well written in English and very much relevant to your work, I don't think there will be a problem. However, personally, I would like to mention it in my CV. – Ooker Dec 22 '14 at 7:59
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    If your blog is written in the same style as your post, you should really spend some time fixing your grammar before sending your blog to admissions committees. – Ben Bitdiddle Dec 22 '14 at 10:25
5

Yes. You could mention it in your SOP and/or in your CV.

I have received some applications from students in which they mentioned a technical blog, and so far it has always left a positive impression. In my opinion, keeping such a blog demonstrates:

  1. Maturity in writing and communicating (especially if your blog communicates something technical in an informal way that is not sloppy).
  2. Organization of thought and effort.
  3. Initiative.
  4. Love for learning ideas relevant to your discipline.
  • Since I myself maintain this blog and also English doesn't happen to be my first language. There is a chance that out of some 10 posts atleast 2 ~ 3 of em are sloppy or poorly organized. Will I be sabotaging my chances if I someone reads those posts ? – Aditya Dec 22 '14 at 6:44
  • 1
    I think it's impossible to give a general answer to that. – David Ketcheson Dec 22 '14 at 6:46
  • @Aditya Can you clean up those sloppy posts before you refer to them? – scaaahu Dec 22 '14 at 6:50
  • @scaaahu I wouldn't be refering to those posts in my SOP. but there is a chance that someone may read them. Also I don't know which ones are sloppy as my blog doesn't attract too much traffic. So I am guessing 3/10 posts are bad. – Aditya Dec 22 '14 at 6:53
  • @Aditya if they are already in english, why not fix them in any case? It doesnt help your readers by making a 'bad' post. If the goal is to share information, best do it in a clear way – user-2147482637 Dec 22 '14 at 9:28
3

In a notorious question in Academia.SE, JeffE has stated this:

  • What have you already done? What problems have you solved, or at least worked on? What independent projects have you been part of? What were your key contributions? What did you learn? What did you teach the world? How do your results compare to what was already known? What original ideas are you most proud of? Be specific, technical, credible, and confident (but not arrogant). Refer the reader to your web page for more details. Have a web page with more details: preprints, project reports, source code, videos, etc.

So yes, yes you can.

However, personally, I would like to mention it in my CV.

1

On the one hand, having a blog shows initiative. It shows you are interested in your subject and spend a lot of time learning on your own.

On the other hand, when I think of these blogs I don't think of my PhD classmates. I think of foreign students who have no formal credentials or experience and are desperate to prove themselves outside of the system. This is doubly true if no one reads your blog, or if it's written in poor English. Most of my classmates have no time to write blogs because most of their working time goes towards classes, research, or projects that involve other people.

I would say that if you have real credentials, you should not mention your blog, because it lumps you with those other guys. But if your application sucks otherwise, you may as well mention it because it's all you've got.

(I have a similar opinion on Coursera classes, which is another path taken by students who are desperate to prove themselves outside of the system. Except Coursera classes are even worse because it's harder to measure what the student learned.)

  • 7
    I didn't downvote, but I find your association of foreign students with low-quality blogging to be somewhat condescending. – Drecate Dec 22 '14 at 15:41
  • Of course there are many foreign students who are very qualified, and in fact they may comprise a majority of students in my program. But there are also legions of such students who have almost no qualifications and it is those students who resort to blogging. Basically it comes off as a desperate person's measure, not something you would do if you were any good. – Ben Bitdiddle Dec 22 '14 at 21:48
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    @BenBitdiddle can you give an example or two of such low-quality blogs of "those students"? – Sergii Dymchenko Dec 23 '14 at 0:51
  • @SergeyDymchenko This sort of thing: topblogcoder.com It's a good effort, and shows initiative, but I would never list such a blog on a grad school application. (Note: this guy is not actually a student, but is similarly trying to break into the software community.) – Ben Bitdiddle Dec 23 '14 at 11:25
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    Really, it's not the blogging that's an issue, or the nationality of the students. It's just that there's a certain type of person who chooses to spend his work energy on blogging, MOOCs, and other online activities, and those are typically the people who don't have real work to do. If they do it for fun that's something else, but the fact that you're listing it on a CV means it's not purely a hobby. – Ben Bitdiddle Dec 23 '14 at 11:30

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