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WaliaIbex

Letter of Rec Choices, and Advice for Targetting Schools. (EE or BioE/BME MS Applicant Fall 2017)

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Undergrad Institution: A University of California

Major(s): Bioengineering / Biomedical Engineering

Minor(s): Electrical Engineering and Political Science

GPA in Major: 2.60

Overall GPA: 2.54

Length of Degree: 4 years

Type of Student: Domestic, Black male.

Degrees Applying for: MS in EE (where research interests align) or MS in BioE/BME

GRE Scores: Not taken yet

Research Experience:

  • Undergraduate Researcher in Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering Lab. I worked on two projects here, one of them analyzing ketamine as an anti-depressant (effectiveness and side-effects) and the other is real time "mind reading" through miniature microscopic imaging and mathematic computation. Two tentative authorships should come out of this. 2 presentations. 15 hrs/week. Took a lot of personal ownership on the projects I had, and felt genuinely very interested in learning more about the more electrical engineering side of this field (Signal Processing, Neuroengineering, and MEMS). By the time applications are in, I will be in this lab for 1.5 years.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

  • Academic scholarships
  • UROP Grants
  • 3 Dean's Lists.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

  • Senior Design Project: Will be related to Microfluidic Health Diagnostic Devices or Embedded Drug Delivery Device.
  • Internship at major medical device and pharmaceutical company.

Any Miscellaneous Information that Might Help:

  • Campaigned for and established a food pantry on campus to fight food insecurity. It secured funding for next 10 years. The project started at the end of freshman year, and I will be seeing it through to the end.
  • Have tutored STEM concepts and been a part of many efforts to recruit African-descent, Latino, and women into STEM. (summer camps, tutoring, volunteering, mentoring, etc.)
  • Difficult life circumstances -- had to work 35 hrs/wk. Many family deaths (6+), increased responsibilities at home (tutoring, cooking, picking up brother), and more I'd rather not get into. Because of this, I have a huge upward trend in my more recent grades, and I hope to do well with the 3 remaining quarters before application season ends.

 

I am here to ask two questions:

  1. I have two letters of recc in mind already -- one from the PI of my lab and one from a professor I took an upper division class with. The upper division class relied heavily on class I'd done poorly in. The class and research the professor conducts are related to my research interests, and I got an excellent grade in it. For my last one, I could ask the dean of my school, since we've worked together before multiple times doing recruitment, retention, and other events, and he knows me in a professional (but not academic) capacity. The reason I am a little hesitant is that I don't think he knows me as well as the PI for my lab and the upper div professor who's class I did well in. I can also ask my manager for the internship, but again, he only knows me in a professional capacity. Should I try to make a good impression with the 6 more biomedical engineering professors whose classes I will take, and ask one of them? Who should I ask for my third letter of rec?
  2. I know my numbers don't stack up against the average applicant. What are some EE MS programs I should be looking at, considering my stats? I want to study EE so I get more classes about signal processing and computation so I could study BCI's, signal processing, and neuro-engineering with a more solid base in coding and data structures. I have a few programs in mind, but I truly don't think I will stack up against the competition with the average applicants at those, honestly.

 

Thanks for your help, and I appreciate the honesty and advice.

Edited by WaliaIbex

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To my best knowledge, most EE programs have deadlines in Dec/Jan, which means your choice of options will be limited at this point for 2017 Fall admission. Since you haven't taken GRE yet, I'd suggest targeting schools that either doesn't require GRE or have deadlines in late February/March. You can also consider programs that offers 18 Spring admission. 

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On 1/23/2017 at 11:41 AM, hope2000 said:

To my best knowledge, most EE programs have deadlines in Dec/Jan, which means your choice of options will be limited at this point for 2017 Fall admission. Since you haven't taken GRE yet, I'd suggest targeting schools that either doesn't require GRE or have deadlines in late February/March. You can also consider programs that offers 18 Spring admission. 

 

Oh whoops! Sorry for labeling this wrong. I meant that I would apply in the fall of this year.

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You should take the GRE ASAP, so if you don't do that well on it you can retake in the summer. It's good you're thinking about rec letters now. Make sure they mention your GPA in the letter and are able to say you are a great worker in the lab & learner despite the lower GPA. 

This semester if you are able to make a very good impression on one of the profs you have a class with, I would ask them, especially if you are able to get a good grade in the class. 

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