Changes to get into PhD. or MS in MIT [CS or Meche]

<p>Hi friends:
I finished Civil Engineering this year, I graduated in 4 years and a half for a nominal duration of 6 years (a complete record for engineering in my uni). Also I graduated being the "Best Graduated", ranked 1/140. My university has also another ranking to compare all the students of the uni, where I am the 4th from a total of 11.000 students. But I have a very low GPA in comparison to other universities: 3,5 approx (Of couse it isn't low in my uni, I'm ranked 1st but comparing to others universities it is. The system here is very hard)
I need guidance, and I want to know the real chances of being selected in the MIT, Stanford, Caltech, etc. (I'm from South America and poor, so I need funding too :( ) There are some teachers interested in working with me, but everyone wants me here for at least for 3 years as a researcher and lecturer.</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>Please guys, I need to know the possibilities. I'm alone in this.</p>

<p>Go to each of the schools' websites and see if you have taken all the courses suggested for their CivilE students.
Since you sped through your ug curriculum you may not have taken all the necessary classes to apply for grad school in CE.
Have you taken the GRE?
How much research have you done?
Any of your professors have a relationship with the CivilE dept at the colleges you listed?</p>

<p>Here is 4 things US universities need for Science (including CE) Grad School Application, in order of importance:
1. Excellent Research Experience
2. Excellent 3 Recommendation letters from your professors
3. Good GPA
4. Good [url=<a href="http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/%5DGRE%5B/url"&gt;http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/]GRE[/url&lt;/a&gt;]&lt;/p>

<p>I think you are fine in terms of GPA. Universities understand that some international GPA are not scored the same so if 3.5 in your country is top rank then it's top rank. Let them know about this in your application personal statement. So based on GPA alone yes you have chance. </p>

<p>But GPA is not the top priority, you need research exp. You need publication. This is because your application strength will be compared with other international applicants' for the very few international spots at those schools. Other international applicants that apply to those schools usually have publications and research exp on top of their top ranked GPA.</p>