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Hi all. I will start to apply to graduate schools this upcoming fall and I am having many doubts because of my low GPA. Do I even have a chance? What schools should I target?
School: University of Illinois (UIUC)
Major: Mechanical Engineering
GPA: 2.85/4.00 cumulative
Past 4 semester GPA's in chronological order: 3.25, 3.40, 3.21, 2.33
GRE: 730Q, 470V, 4.5 analytical (taken with extreme test anxiety, planning on taking again)
No documentable extracurricular activities. Actually I did Engineers w/o Borders for a little bit but then dropped it when I realized that 40+ undergraduate "engineers" working on a single project (without a solid plan) is pretty futile.
Experience: (1) Currently doing plasmonics research for a prof (i'm banking on him to get me in), and (2) being a technical assistant in another prof's private consulting business (did this for 1 full year) and (3) other than that i've never had a "professional" internship since they don't give internships for sub-3.0 students
Motivation for Grad School: I see the value in an advanced degree and i enjoy learning. Also, both my parents have phd's and I would look like even more of a failure (on top of bad grades) if i only had a bachelors.
Research Interests: heat transfer, nano-optics/light-matter interactions/plasmonics, and nano-/micro-scale phenomena and processes
Do I even have a chance of getting into a decent engineering grad school? when i say decent i'm talking lower half of "tier 1" schools (i.e. ranked 12 to 25 in US News) I see that a lot of them have a 3.0 GPA requirement and I've emailed a few places that say they only calculate the last 2 years of GPA. Anyhow, I bombed this past semester (i developed a sleep disorder and super bad test anxiety) with a 2.33 and am really getting worried about getting in to a grad program.
Which schools should I target? when i applied for undergrad programs i did the "blanket technique" where i applied to like 10 schools and see which ones accepted me. with 3 recommendations being hard enough to get already, i feel i would be asking too much of my recommenders if i had them send these letters to too many places. Do you guys know which engi schools are more likely to weigh recs and gre scores (which i know i can get an 800Q on) over GPAs? or Which schools are known to be more lenient with the GPA factor?
Are any of you guys out there in an engi grad program now and had sub-3.0 undergrad GPAs?
i'm looking for more than the "grad schools look at the entire package" type responses and also a little moral support :) thanks for your time guys!