Ziqian Liu, an accomplished student who graduated from Columbia International College in 2018 and University of Waterloo in 2023, has been accepted into Ph.D. programs in Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Princeton University, Cornell University , and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) . Well done!
These prestigious programs have offered him not only a full ride scholarship but also a generous yearly fellowship stipend of over USD 50k.
During a recent visit to CIC, Ziqian offered tips and tricks for aspiring students interested in pursuing computer programs in university.
Here’re the key takeaways from the conversation:
- Waterloo and UofT both have top computer programs in the world. To gain admission to these programs, a minimum average of 98% or 99% in 4U courses is required. Approximately 25% of the students enrolled are international.
- Waterloo computer programs are renowned for co-op opportunities with tech giants like Google, Amazon, and FANG, allowing students to earn up to 4 co-op credits. Moreover, the extensive network of Waterloo alumni working in Silicon Valley provides excellent job referral prospects.
- Transitioning from high school to university is a significant shift. The pace is much faster – the workload of a single week in university may be equivalent to a month and a half in high school. There could be 130 deadlines in 100 days. Falling behind can be challenging to recover from.
- The first year is often the most demanding, so preparation is key. Apart from the computer courses at CIC, there are many free online resources such as Leetcode and Coursera that can help you enhance coding skills.
- Mental and physical preparedness are crucial as computer programs are highly challenging. Finding a balance and avoiding overwhelm is essential.Planning plays a vital role. Before selecting courses, consulting ratings for classes and professors can help determine if they align with your goals and learning style.
- Managing the pace of study is equally important. Allocate more time for difficult courses and avoid overloading yourself. Always have a backup plan in case of lower performance.
- Strong communication skills are highly valuable. Articulating your ideas clearly enables better understanding and engagement with others.