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Do I still have a chance to get into top tier programs?



Hello, I am a Sophomore (Junior in few days) in electrical engineering and was wondering if it would be too late for a shot at getting into top tier masters/PhD programs. I just recently became interested in graduate school and it is too late to apply for summer research and even my college's year round research program for '17-'18. Next year I will begin REU and other research applications early and hope to gain some then, but would that be enough to get into top programs? I will have a 3.95+ gpa after this semester so I don't think grades will hold me back at all. I'm looking at elite schools like MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, but don't have much hope for those now. I'm also interested in top schools like UMich, UIUC, UCBoulder, UCLA, Cornell, etc.

Another path I could take to get more research is lower my credit hours during my senior year (4th year) and then take another semester finish my degree. In this path I would be able to get good research during the 4th year, the summer after, and possibly that fall too. This would not be that much of an inconvenience to me as I already have a full tuition scholarship. Would this be the best course of action in order to increase my chances for grad school?

Also, will doing an REU at a specific university increase the chances of being accepted there? 


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Hi @EmptyHobbitses ,

I think that you could only benefit from having research experience prior to going to graduate school. I do not say this only because it will possibly help you getting into a program, but also because having a research experience before graduate school will help you figure out if this is actually the path you want to take. It would certainly give you a better understanding of research and probably put you in contact with current graduate students.

I know that this is a very general advice and does not necessarily answer all of your questions but I hope that helps.

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