This post was sponsored by David Tian, but all views are my own
Sick of being a Teacher? 👷👩🏫👮♀️
So, you've had enough of the 9-5 grind? Maybe you're a teacher dealing with too many behavioral problems, or you pursued a Biology degree, hoping to become a doctor, only to realize that med school isn't the path for you. Whatever the reason, you're fed up and craving a change 😡. What's the next move?
If you're anything like me, you've stumbled upon those elusive creatures known as Software Engineers. They rake in $150,000 while living it up in their fancy high-rise apartments, creating cool stuff, and only putting in 4 hours a day, all while rocking their sweatpants. How is that even possible, and how can you become one too? 🤔
So, you start doing your research and quickly realize that you need to learn how to code and become pretty darn good at it too. Well, that sounds like a challenge... Where do you begin, and what are your options to learn coding?
Formal Education (Degree program)
You ponder to yourself:
"I lack the discipline to teach myself, and honestly, I have no idea where to start. A coding bootcamp seems intriguing, but I've heard some of my friends from bootcamps are still struggling to find jobs. Maybe I should consider going back to school, but which program would be the right fit?" - You
The 🔑 to Your Problem
Congratulations on making it this far! You've come to the right place. You aspire to be a part of the prestigious University of Pennsylvania and master computer science. UPenn offers an excellent Computer Science master's program tailored for career transitioners or anyone looking to become tech-savvy. Now the burning question in your mind is, "How on earth do I get in?"
90 Pages of Goodness
To get into UPenn's MCIT program, you'll need an impressive Statement of Purpose (SOP) essay. While they consider various aspects of your application, including your undergrad degree, GPA, career experience, relevant CS or math coursework, and GRE scores, nothing holds more weight than your SOP. It's the game-changer that can transform an "okay" candidate into a "great" one. The admissions team isn't just interested in your academic background; they want to see your determination and passion. UPenn is serious about screening out candidates who might face burnout, and your SOP is your chance to prove you have what it takes to thrive in the MCIT program.
Now, a resource that is a MUST READ to help you craft your SOP is..🥁..🥁..🥁
Crafting a Winning MCIT Personal Statement by David K. Tian is an absolute masterpiece, and I can personally vouch for it being the primary reason I got accepted into the MCIT program. When I went through the application process, my academic credentials were decent, and I chose not to take the GRE, so I knew that my SOP needed to be exceptional. My biggest hurdle was organizing my personal statement. Although MCIT's application provided a few questions they expected everyone to address, it was evident that the responses should be in essay format. While I considered myself a decent writer, I struggled with consistency and clarity. I needed guidance, and that's when I stumbled upon David's book.
So, How Will This Book Help You? 🤝
David's book consists of 12 insightful chapters, each focusing on a specific aspect of the SOP. For instance, Chapter 2, "The Hook," sheds light on clichés that applicants tend to overuse when starting their admissions essays, such as:
A Standalone quote
"I have always..."
"I am writing to apply for..."
David skillfully explains how these introductions have become stale in the sea of thousands of applicants striving to stand out. Instead, he offers three alternative options that applicants should consider, even providing short excerpts from successful essays as examples.
This pattern of critique and guidance is present throughout all 12 chapters. David points out weaker examples and flawed writing structures, while also providing the readers with valuable advice on how to improve their statements, complete with real applicant examples. Let's take a look at another example from Chapter 3, "The Introduction."
In "The Introduction", David emphasizes, "When writing the introduction, ensure that the problem you're trying to solve is strictly a professional one, not a personal one." While this might seem obvious, the example of what not to do he provides gave me a chuckle because, truthfully, it was something I was initially tempted to write in my own essay:
My parents were penniless immigrants from [country], who worked hard and sacrificed so that I could receive a high-quality education. They instilled in me the value of hard work, and now it is now time for me to repay them for all they have done for me. I am thus applying to the MCIT program at the University of Pennsylvania so that I can learn more about the field of computer science and honor my parents' sacrifices
David reminds us that although the SOP is considered a personal statement, "the admissions committee is looking to build a cohort of professionals - their purpose is not to make your parents proud." I agree with David here. While acknowledging your background and a noble cause to give back to your family is commendable, the admissions committee is primarily focused on how you faced a problem in your life and how technology education can help you solve it, not how difficult your upbringing was.
If you're dead serious about securing your spot in the program and find yourself grappling with your SOP, I cannot emphasize enough how much I recommend purchasing this book. You can find it on Amazon through this link. For a mere $10 USD, you'll significantly boost your chances of being accepted into the program you've been dreaming of. And let me tell you, David's credentials speak volumes! With an undergraduate degree from the prestigious University of Chicago and two master's degrees from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown, respectively, it's safe to say he knows exactly what he's talking about.
Lastly, once you get in, give him a quick message on Slack as he's an MCIT student himself going through the same trials and tribulations 🙌