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Obviously, this story is highly anecdotal. I'm sure other departments have other ways of handling the problem of compraring people from different educational systems.

It feels like the main difference here is that the admissions committee looks for evidence of high/low English proficiency. There are also plenty of things other than grades to look at -- test scores, research experience, interests that match faculty here, etc.

Well, it's true that being a good communicator (particularly, writing papers) is a major differentiator in terms of actual grad student success. Since the job of a CS grad student is basically to write research papers.

That said, how do you judge the English proficiency of someone from India or China, without meeting them and working with them?

They make them take standardized tests that show very basic English skills, but I think you can't really judge that well in terms of doing high-quality writing and good interpersonal communication.

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