Applied Data Institute:
Detailed Applications Overview

The Applied Data Institute is an intensive 10-week digital program for STEM and computational social science graduates and young professionals. The ADI aims to equip students with a practical understanding of Data Science and AI tools, and their usage across various domains like law, medicine, art, etc.

To be eligible for the program, students must be well-versed in Python programming, must have completed a bachelor’s degree, and should be available to commit 20-25 hours to the program per week for 10 weeks, beginning October 2024. Students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply as long as they meet the Python eligibility criteria.

The applications for the ADI’24 are open 14th June - 12th July, 2024. The steps in the application process, and how to navigate the same are outlined below.

ADI Applications: What are the stages involved?

The application cycle for the ADI takes place in three stages:

Stage 1: The Python Pre-Screen

The first step in the ADI application process is to fill in the Sign-Up form for the Python Pre-Screen.The sign up form is short and only requires a few basic contact details*. Upon filling the form, you will receive an email with a Google CoLab file attached (applicants from China will receive a .ipynb attachment). You have 24 hours to complete the pre-screen. Once completed, shortlisted candidates will be invited for the second stage of applications.

*Please fill out the pre-screen form only when you are ready to take the python assessment. Responses to the assessment submitted after 24 hours will not be considered.

Stage 2: The Written Application

Candidates clearing the Python Pre-Screening will be invited to submit a written application between 1st to 16th August, 2024. The written application will ask applicants to submit multiple essay-type answers, talking about their motivations, reasons for applying, past professional and community experiences, and so on.

Stage 3: Faculty Interviews

Finalists shortlisted through their written applications will be invited for a personal interview with the ADI faculty in the week of September 2, 2024. Admissions decisions will be communicated to selected finalists by September 13th. Applicants not progressing to the next round will be informed of the results in the same week as shortlisted candidates. There might however be a delay of a few days as we communicate with waitlisted candidates and accommodate them if shortlisted applicants withdraw from the application process.

The Python Pre-Screen

The Python Pre-Screen is designed to judge an applicant’s programming fluency, and their computational skills when faced with technical problems. Once you will the sing-up form, you will either receive access to a Google CoLab file (for non-Chinese applicants), or receive an automated email with an attached .ipynb file (for Chinese applicants). These emails will carry further instructions - for example, completing the pre-screen within 24 hours. At all points, please carefully read all instructions outlined in the Sign-Up form, and the Pre-Screen Assessment.

For example, some of these instructions ask non-Chinese applicants to submit a google email id:

Instructions on the Pre-Screen Assessment outline the mimimum number of questions you are expected to complete (e.g: 2 “core” tasks, and 1 “data” tasks), and instructions on submitting the notebook (making sure it runs independent of any files on your local system):

All that the applicants need to know are outlined throughout multiple stages in the Sign-up form and the Python notebook. Please follow all instructions carefully. If at any point you need clarifications, reach out to , preferably before starting the Pre-Screen Assessment.

The Written Application

Essay-type questions typically require applicants to provide written responses that are more detailed and personal than simple yes or no answers. The most common example of an essay-type question is perhaps the ubiquitous “Why do you want to join xyz?”. Applications for Equitech Futures’ Programs heavily rely on such essay-type questions to assess various aspects of an applicant’s character, ambitions, motivations, and qualifications. These questions also allow applicants to showcase their unique strengths, experiences, and perspectives. More details allow us to consider an application more thoroughly.

Answering the question asked: While essay-type questions generally ask applicants for more details, avoid adding irrelevant details to your answers. Be direct and concise with what the application asks of you. For example, if you’re submitting an essay/video on critically analyzing the prescribed article, you do not need to summarize the article too. Irrelevant information only distracts the reader -  and might throw us off the crux of your argument.

Including examples and personal details: “Show, don’t tell” is a great writing advice that applicants can use while answering questions asking them to unpack their experiences, motivations, and expectations from an Equitech Futures’ Program. It helps your application to include details of your experiences working on a climate change project (for example) as opposed to just stating that you’ve worked on climate change in the past. Similarly, if you’re trying to answer why you want to join an Equitech Futures’ Program, or what you expect from it, including details about your personal and professional/academic journey and ambitions helps us get a better understanding of how our programs might benefit you.

Using AI tools while answering questions: We understand that applicants might refer to AI language models while writing their applications. These tools, when used correctly, can improve the grammar, fluency, and quality of your applications. However, we strongly discourage applicants from plagiarizing their essays, and using these tools to write answers from scratch. AI language bots write in the way you’d expect AI bots to, stripping the answers off any unique human voice that an applicant would have otherwise had. AI-generated answers are often generic and monotonous, lacking the depth that conviction that real-life people, impacted by real-life issues often have. Moreover, with the number of applications we receive, multiple answers from people across the world being copies of each other is a telltale sign of plagiarism - rendering the application unable to be processed to the next round.  If you’re stuck choosing between a “better” sounding answer, and a more authentic sounding one, err on the side of the latter.

The Faculty Interview

The Faculty Interview is designed as a conversation between finalists and the ADI faculty to better understand the former’s motivations and expectations from the program. While there is no specific material that the applicants are expected to cover for their interviews, interviews in the past have delved deeper into the written application, and the applicant’s approach to the Python Pre-Screen.

It's important to note that adhering to these guidelines doesn't guarantee acceptance into any of the Equitech Futures’ Programs. Instead, they serve to demystify the application structure, clarify expectations, and provide best practices to enhance your responses to the application questions. 

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