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Worries of a computer science phd applicant


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Hello everyone,

I am currently starting to plan my applications to grad school, specifically looking for a phd in computer science. My undergraduate degree (which I currently am close to completing) is in a technology field that mixed design, media, and computer science together, so while I did learn some basics I won't have the depth of knowledge that I would if I were a computer science student. I am pursuing a minor in computer science, which should help, but I'm not sure if that's enough to get me into a top computer science program. I would love to apply for Cornell, Berkeley, Caltech, Yale, and a small local university as a backup option (if I don't get into any of the others).

I am involved in research, working with three different labs at my university and plan to have 3 publications by the time I graduate (two in artificial intelligence topics and one in an HCI-related topic). One of my research opportunities was a result of the undergraduate research award at my university. The reason I chose to be involved with three different research groups was so that I could have three good references, but now I wonder if it shows lack of focus. 

Another point of concern for me is my GPA. I estimate that by the time I graduate I will have around 3.8 to 3.85 - but on a 4.33 scale. Will this put me at a huge disadvantage? I have yet to actually do my GRE but I did a practice exam without studying, just to see where I am, and got a score of 158 on verbal and 157 on quantitative, which I realize is definitely low. If anyone has any studying suggestions, specifically for quantitative, I would be so grateful if you could please let me know.

And one last question - I was invited to join an honor society for top students, but I have to pay a $90 membership fee. I have no idea if this is just for bragging rights or if it will actually have an impact on my application. I heard that honor societies are a bigger thing in the USA, and as I plan to study in the USA I wonder if it's worth it. 


Also I am a new user on this forum so if I'm posting in the wrong place I do apologize! and thank you for reading my question.

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