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In need of advice..


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Hi guys,

I'm currently a Junior at a small private college in MA. I intend to apply to grad school in the fall for a MS in CS.

I have a decent academic record - 3.15 CS GPA and 3.33 cumulative GPA.

However I have not taken some core CS courses yet (e.g. algorithm analysis, architecture), but I have been checking out the ArsDigita lectures in my free time.

This is how my audit looks (for CS and Math):

CS 1xx* B- 4 Computer Science I Fal 07-08

CS 1xx* B- 4 Computer Science II Spr 07-08

IT 1xx B 3 Intro to Information Tech Spr 07-08

CS 2xx* B- 3 Data Structures I Fal 08-09

CS 2xx* B+ 3 Data Structures II Spr 08-09

BIS 3xx* A 3 Database Management Syst Fal 08-09

IT 2xx A- 3 Intro to Oper Sys & Scrip Spr 08-09

CS 2xx* B+ 3 Visual Basic.Net Spr 08-09

CPE 2xx* B 4 Digital Design Spr 08-09

CPE 3xx* B 3 Machine/Assmbly Language Fal 09-10

CS 4xx* A 3 Operating Systems Fal 09-10

MATH 1xx B+ 3 Calc I Mgt,Life,Soc Sci Fal 07-08

MATH 1xx A 3 Calc II Mgt,Life & Soc Sc Spr 07-08

MATH 2xx C 3 Discrete Structures I Fal 08-09

MATH 2xx B- 3 Discrete Structures II Spr 08-09

MATH 3xx B+ 3 Linear Algebra Fal 09-10

MATH 3xx Probably B- 3 Theory of Computation Spr 09-10

As you can see, I struggled in the beginning, as I had no programming experience coming into college. I have also struggled with discrete and theory.

I have 1.5 years of industry experience at a large insurance company (internship) - experience with Cognos 8 BI and ERwin tools

I have been working on a large open source project through an NSF fund at my school. The project will be part of the Software Engineering course in the fall.

I am very motivated to participate and initiate projects and extracurricular activities like this. I also help out with all the open houses.

I took the CS practice test, the ETS book that is online - got a 680 without having taken algorithms or architecture yet, but having basic knowledge of asymptotic complexity analysis and search/sort algorithms.

I have been practicing GRE quantitative problems, with few incorrect, so I will likely score above 700.

Here's the dilemma:

I got accepted into 2 CS REUs: 1 at a top 20 CS school and another at a small liberal arts college. If I choose to do one of those, it is likely I will lose the internship. I am leaning towards the top 20 school one - which i have to get back to by Friday.

Did anyone have a similar record like mine, and is now in grad school? Should I reconsider staying in the industry? (it looks like they may make an offer to me next year but I'm not sure).

Any comments? thanks a bunch

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