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Do I have any chance at top 10 or 20 grad schools?


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Hey guys,

I'm currently a rising senior at MIT majoring in chemical engineering. I'm thinking of applying to graduate schools, but every time I do, I have a feeling that I won't get into any good schools...

My GPA is 4.6/5.0 and technical GPA is 4.2/5.0. I have been in an undergraduate research position each summer (after freshman year, after sophomore year, and after junior year right now), but have not gotten published or anything like that, though some of my data this year might appear on a poster at a conference. I have not taken the GREs yet. I'm not sure I can think of three professors to ask for a letter of recommendation - I am planning on asking the PI's for this summer's and last summer's research positions, and maybe a professor for a lab class I will be taking this coming fall (is this acceptable?), since I don't think that I was able to forge a particularly close bond with any chemE professors from my courses.

If I get a good score on my GREs and am able to get a third letter of recommendation this fall, do you guys think I have a chance at getting into top 10 or 20 chemE grad programs? Every time I look at my transcript, I just get discouraged from applying at all...maybe it's just better to apply for jobs?

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Are you applying for master's or PhD? Also do your grades have an upward or downward trend?

Your gpa should be okay for the top 10/20 chem E schools for an MS (especially if unfunded). That being said I would focus on making those connections with professors because the LORs are important (The people you mentioned sound OK). Your gpa should be fine as long as you've got a solid SOP, some good letters, and a decent GRE. However If you're going for PhD, you better start doing some serious research...

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Thanks for responding, and congrats on Duke!

I haven't decided about whether I'm applying to master's or PhD (is it possible to apply to both?) I think my grades...stabilized? So my worst and best grades were earlier on, and then now it's fairly consistent.

Regarding "serious research" - how "serious" are we talking about? I'm not sure I would have the time this year to seriously commit to research. Would it be better to try to get a research position after graduation and then apply to PhD? Or apply to PhD after completing an MS?

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