These are the 5 criteria that the OSU robotics faculty use to evaluate graduate applications. Other schools may have different requirements, but overall this is a good standard for how to shape your graduate applications.
- Academic preparation: We want to know if you have a sufficiently strong technical background to pursue the research area you are interested in and if you are capable of completing more open-ended graduate courses. Your transcript provides information on what classes you took and how well you did in them. Your personal statement should fill us in on skills learned outside of classes that are relevant to your chosen research area. These can come from projects (class, summer projects, clubs, etc).
- Research experience: We want to know what research experience you have had and what motivates you to pursue research. Examples include volunteering in a lab, completing a research internship, co-authoring a conference paper, etc.
- Extracurricular activities: We want evidence of your drive, self-motivation, and ability to collaborate. Examples include extracurricular activities, leadership experiences, and any examples of independent learning (e.g. online classes) that involved these elements. What have you accomplished outside of the classroom?
- Contributions to equity and inclusion: The OSU Robotics program expects students (and faculty) to contribute to making Robotics and the STEM fields more equitable, diverse, and inclusive. Your personal statement should describe any engagement that you have had with diversity activities. Examples include outreach activities, participation in the Society of Women Engineers, participation in the Society of Black Engineers, tutoring, mentoring of disadvantaged communities, etc.
- Program alignment: If you were to join the OSU Robotics Program, who are the 2-3 faculty members that you would potentially like to have as advisors? What is it about their labs and research programs that interests you? How do you see yourself contributing to those research programs?
Your transcript and resume should provide summaries of classes you’ve taken, internships, volunteer positions, job experience, and skills gained. Please use your personal statement to provide more detailed information about the five categories above. This is also the place to tell us about any adversity or special circumstances that have influenced your contributions in those five areas.
More information on the current research in robotics at OSU can be found here. To answer program alignment (criteria 5) please include in your statement which labs you could see contributing to.