So you've decided to come to Tech
Woohoo! We're glad you're coming! :)
Anyway, this page is meant to help you guys out with what you need to do before you come here. That way you're not all confused and wondering if we forgot about you. If you have any questions about anything that's not on here, feel free to contact Julie by any means you wish.
The first thing you'll want to do is register for parking, even if you're not sure if you want it (you won't have to pay anything until August and you can always cancel it before then.). Parking registration begins April 15th and ends June 30th and can be done online at http://www.parking.gatech.edu. You will need to have your student ID at that point, which you can look up at the GT ID# Lookup site (as new admits, you should already be in the system). Update 4-17-04 - I've heard reports that some have tried to log into the parking system and they haven't been found yet. Apparently it does not matter when in the time period between April 15th and June 30th you register, as long as you get it in at that time. So if you're not in the system yet, try again in a little bit, and if you're not in by June, I would contact Barbara Binder (binder@cc).
When you register for parking, you register for a specific lot or garage. Some lots you should consider are below (you can view a map of the parking lots).
If you work in CoC (Systems, Theory, Programming languages, Info Sec):
W23 garage, W24, W21 lot
If you work in CRB (Software engineering, database, some LS&T, first years without a lab group yet i.e. starting with a TA):
W23 garage, W25 lot, W26 lot
If you work in TSRB (HCI, Graphics, IS, Robotics, some LS&T):
E82 garage (best), E81 garage behind GT hotel
If you're not sure where you're going to be residing yet, your best bet is probably the W23 garage. It's halfway between the CRB and the CoC, has tons of spots, and you're pretty much guarenteed to get a pass there.
Check out the housing link to see some of the places current students live and read and make postings about people looking for roommates.
I've had good luck with Craigs List in finding apartments.
Check the publically accessible usenet newsgroup git.ads, which often has posts for people looking for roommates or leases they want to hand off. You can also find people who want to sell furniture for cheap, as well as make posts if you're looking for a place to live and looking to buy stuff.
Note: If you were on the housing tour the first weekend, the places you visited were the Graduate Living Center, Centennial Place, AMLI @ West Paces, and Haversham Apartments. All of these are described on the Housing - Renting page. If you were at the second visit weekend, K.K.'s party was also in Centennial Place.
Before you're allowed to register for classes (which will be done about a week before they start), you must fill out the incoming student health forms. This is required of both U.S. and international students. The forms can be downloaded from the GaTech Student Health Center Website.
The forms require proof of immunization and a Tuberculosis (TB) test. When I did this, I was on internship and had my mom go to the family physician back home and fill out the immunization form, and then I went to the Board of Public Health in the city I was staying in to get the TB test, which cost me about $20. The TB test requires you to make two visits: one to get injected with the testing agent and then you must return a few days later to get it "read", so make sure you plan accordingly.
Registering for Classes
Registering for classes is something you won't have to worry about until you arrive in Atlanta. During your week of orientation, you will receive assistance on how to register. All registration is done online using "Oscar".
Classes start at 5 minutes after the hour or half hour and run until 5 minutes until the hour or half hour. 10 minutes is just enough time to get across campus. Getting to TSRB or to the management buidling by TSRB from CCB may take longer.
The earliest classes usually start is 8AM. Some run as late as 7:30 or 8:00 PM, but most class times end no later than 6PM. Generally MWF classes are 1 hour sessions with TR classes being 1.5 hour sessions. The break time for lunch MWF is 12-1, TR 11-12. Many of the area seminars are during these times as a brown bag.
Here are the Classes Offered for Fall 2004. The computer science graduate level classes are the 6000+ level classes. The only undergraduate classes that can count are 4000+.
In order to count as a full time student, you must take at least 12 credit hours, 9 of which have to be letter grade or pass/fail. The other 3 can be audit hours. If you are an RA or a TA, you can register for up to 9 credit hours of 8998 or 8997 respectively, which should be counted as auditing. The college recommends that you register for as many credit hours as you can, up to 21, so that they get more for budgeting purposes.
What you should take your first semester:
HCC students should talk to Beth Mynatt or Janet Kolodner about clasees. This information is back from when there was only one PhD offered.
- CS 7001, the required Grad Studies in Computing class, is TR 4:30-6:00 PM. For those of us who are not morning people, this is quite a relief. This course is 5 credit hours and is graded as pass/fail.
- You also must register for the TA workshop class (even if you are not TAing), which is one credit hour, and runs for two hours a week for half the semester. The course is CS8801 and is on Monday from 4:05-5:55 and is graded as pass/fail.
- It is recommended that you take one and only one graduate level course in addition to 7001 for a letter grade. Usually, this class would be in your area (i.e. if you're interested in HCI, take the HCI course, if you're interested in AI, take AI course, etc).
- If you need more hours, you can register for seminars in areas you're interested in, which can either be pass/fail or audit. Usually you don't have to be registered for a seminar to show up, though.
- Fill in the rest of your credit hours with 8997 or 8998, up to 21 hours.
For example, here is my schedule for my first semester, as a TA and someone wanting to specialize in HCI.
RA or TA?
How to decide:
There are advantages and disadvantages to either choices. An RA is a great way to get more into the area you are interested in, and specifically, involved in the group(s) at the CoC doing what you're interested in. You'll get to know the latest research going on in this area done by the other professors/students by attending brown-bag seminars. You'll get a taste of the research style at the college. A successful RA gives you a great head start toward getting your Ph.D.
However, RA is a big time sink. There is no end to the number of hours you can spend on an RA. If you discover midway into the term that you are not interested in the research project, or you don't like your advisor's style, this can turn out to be a pain. TA, on the other hand, has a time cap of 15 hours a week. You don't have to work any more than that. It's also a great way to gain teaching experience. However, all the work that you do for a TA does not help to toward getting a Ph.D.
When you'll know:
You'll receive an email with RA openings sometime in the summer. However, this is by no means a comprehensive list. A lot of professors don't list their open RA spots because they like to speak to students individually before deciding whether or not to offer an RA spot. So, if you want an RA, you should contact the professors you possiblly want to work for and see if you can arrange something.
You will also receive an email in the summer asking you what kind of courses you would feel comfortable TA-ing for. However, you won't find out your exact assignment until you arrive Atlanta.
How to get paid:
During orientation week, there will be a place for you to fill out all the HR paperwork required of you. Nothing more is required after you complete these forms. Just wait for your paycheck at the end of each month. You will get half of a month's pay at the end of August.
What if I have a fellowship?
If you have a fellowship like NSF or NDSEG, contact Keith Oden (keith.oden [at] grad.gatech.edu) in the graduate office on main campus. He will inform you of everything you need to know. Basically, you won't need an RA or a TA, and you will get money directly and your tuition will be completely covered.
CoC Email accounts and mailing lists
You will get your general GT email account when you arrive on campus and first get your GT student id, or "Buzz Card". It will be a really cryptic email address that looks something like firstname.lastname@example.org. This email is only used by the univeristy to send out general announcements, but you may also need the account to sign into things like the GTwireless wifi service and the Office of Information Technology's software download page. Most people have their gt# email addresses forward to their CoC accounts.
The CoC account is your pride and joy. I THINK you might be able to sign up for that as early as right now, but I'm not sure. The form is here: http://www.cc.gatech.edu/cns/forms/account_form.html
- Basically, you get to pick your login name that will be email@example.com (they recommend using "professional" ones, but you can always use the default Firstname.Lastname@cc.gatech.edu alias if you want to be professional). You get 4 gig of space. You get a nice IMAP email account. You get some webspace. It's nice. Get it as soon as you can :)
There are several mailing lists you might be interested in joining. You can sign up for them at http://mailman.cc.gatech.edu
- One is "slush", which is the anything and everything mailing list for CoC grad students. Post questions, post things to give away or requests for roommates, answer questions, post links, etc. The traffic is variable, but it can be high. Sometimes you'll go a few days without getting anything, and then one day you'll get 50 because someone started a political debate. Most people choose to filter slush emails to a folder.
- The other mailing list is the happy hour mailing list, which will start in the fall. It is "c2h6o", the chemical formula for alcohol, I'm told. Basically, you get an email on Fridays with the location for the gathering of CoC students at a local restaurant that also serves alcohol. People get dinner, have a few drinks, and then may decide to do something else socially afterwards. It's a great way to get to know other grad students. The crowd can be anywhere from 4 to 30 people. It varies. Also, even if you don't drink, you can still go for the food. No one really gets drunk at these things and no one will look down on you if you don't order alcohol (in fact, I'm a cheapskate, so I rarely order alcohol at happy hour!).
Another guide for new students: http://www.cc.gatech.edu/gsc/guide.html
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