So I have a variety of questions as I start putting my mind through some pondering about graduate school. Some background on me, I am a third year Aerospace Engineering student at UIUC. I currently have a cumulative GPA of 3.63 and an aerospace GPA of 3.67. Up to this point, I have been very involved in various engineering clubs and a few leadership roles.
I have done some independent study work building some UAV tracking algorithms and next semester I will be doing independent study work with another professor with the initial goal of building some parallel code to simulate various flows using the Euler Equations.
Now, I have done most of my Aerospace coursework at this point and so I have been filling up time,for the most part, with mathematics and computational courses since I am interested in these areas.I have taken a few extra courses in fluid dynamics and applied aerodynamics and plan to take a few more system dynamics/control courses before I graduate, but I am very interested computational aspects to solving problems and I want to use it for aerospace applications.
For my computational courses, I have learned a lot of the standard numerical methods for solving linear/nonlinear equations, ODEs, PDEs, differentiation, integration and also learned finite difference, finite volume and finite element. I want to note I am currently learning to code finite element, which previously I just learned to find stiffness matrices using various methods. I have coded finite difference extensively and finite volume, however.
Also, I am currently in a graduate course that has covered more abstract linear algebra, linear ODE and a little bit of nonlinear differential equations and will soon cover complex analysis. I plan to take courses in the next year on nonlinear differential equations, applied mathematics towards numerical applications, linear and nonlinear programming and probably PDEs.
So given all this, I am planning to set goals to try and get into a graduate Aerospace program at a place like Stanford or MIT because they have some computational aerospace programs, which hits what I am interested in right on the nose. However, I don't suspect my grades are good enough right now, especially if I want to get some aid. My goal is to put the extra effort into my classes and bring up the grades so when I start applying next fall, I can be the best candidate possible.
Based on my interests and goals, does anyone have a good idea of a minimum GPA I should shoot for to possibly get into these two schools? I ask not so I can shoot for the minimum, but so I can see if I have a chance. I also understand that I should try to get involved with research/independent study more before graduating and I will work on that.
Thanks all for your insight and feel free to leave me any other advice you feel would be helpful. I know I want to go to graduate school, but I know if I can't get enough help or an assistantship or something to help me pay for it, I won't consider that school. I want to note I do plan to apply to UIUC for grad school, but I have heard mixed feelings on going to grad school at the same university you went to for your undergrad.
Anyways, thanks again for any responses you all give!