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Rising Junior ECE Seeking Grad School Advice


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Hi all,

I'm new to this forum. I'm beginning to seriously consider grad school, and I'm looking for some words of wisdom.

A little about me. I just completed my sophomore year at a small engineering college. I am majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering (overall GPA: ~3.65, major GPA probably somewhat higher). I've held summer internships/REUs for the past two years, and will be participating in Caltech's SURF program this summer. I TAed a freshmen class this past year, and will continue TAing, either for the same class or a different one. I've participated in two small semester long research projects (unrelated to each other).

I haven't quite narrowed down my focus just yet, but I'm interested in artificial intelligence, robotics, learning, and generally things along that alley. I've started to look at particular schools. I really like Caltech's CNS program, and am interested a few others.

My questions are pretty general. Do I stand a shot at top notch programs like Caltech's or MIT's (I realize that at some level it's rolling dice, but I'm wondering whether or not it's completely unreasonable for me to gain acceptance)? What kinds of things are important/not important to grad schools (I've heard research is big, varying opinions on GPA)? Anything else I should know moving forward?

Thank you for any and all advice!


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Hi purplesmoke. I'm a Caltech undergrad in EE (rising senior). 3.65 is (as far as I know) a relatively reasonably GPA (meaning it's a possibility, but it's definitely not going to be stand-out). Also, how your GPA is considered does depend somewhat on where you went for undergrad--a 3.65 at MIT is more impressive than a 3.65 at Florida State.

Who are you working with for your SURF? I would try as hard as possible to connect with your professor--Caltech is small enough that if you develop a good rapport with the prof and he wants you to work with him/her, you'll most likely get in. If you're working at JPL, at the very least meet with profs you're interested in.

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