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grad school debacle--where should i apply

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I'm a senior chemistry major at a public university with a 3.35 gpa and 3.1 major gpa. I also have a math minor. I would like to attend graduate school because I love to do research and it's my favorite way to learn--but right now I have 3 things that are holding me back currently

1. I am interested in many fields of chemistry and I am not yet set on choosing one

2. My GPA is super low but everything else about my application would be pretty good. I'm not sure which tier programs I should apply to.

3. I'm considering taking a year off to get lab-tech experience in a specific field that I'm interested in (food chemistry) and to potentially raise my GPA by the time I apply.


Here is my profile-

Research experience: (I've been actively doing research since freshman year and have continued throughout the school years)

-University funded summer fellowship: biochemistry

-Summer REU: computational chemistry

-NASA Internship: atmospheric Chemistry

-1 current internship at a space-tech start up

-I've presented research at 3 national conferences and 4 regional conferences

-1 publication (first author)



-2 women-in-stem scholarships

-Departmental chemistry scholarship

-University "fellow"



I was a resident advisor for a while and I am an ambassador for a women in stem group on my campus where we do a lot of outreach. 

I have 3 different research mentors that I have worked very closely with and I feel like they will write fantastic letters. 

I'm actively involved in my schools dance department?

I am currently a tutor. 




So basically, I'm not sure what caliber programs I should apply to. Would top 10 schools be too far out of my range (Berkeley, Princeton, etc)---I'm assuming they are out range.? Are top 20 schools out of my range (UCLA, UCI)?

Would it be beneficial to just apply next year when I potentially bump my GPA up to a 3.4? 

Should I take chem gre?


I'm sorry for the questions, but if you have any insight I'd be forever grateful. 





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1) Apply to a mixture. It can't hurt to aim high.

2) Your GPA is quite low. Would that be a major GPA jump from 3.1 to 3.4? If not, doesn't seem like a big jump.

3) I would take it if you think you can do well in it!

The fact you have a first author paper as an undergrad should help a lot. Is there a reason your GPA is low? You/your letter writers may be able to explain it away.

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