<p>I'll be a senior this coming year in materials science and engineering at a first tier research university. I want to apply to graduate school (PhD) this fall.</p>
<p>GPA: 3.16 overall; 3.40 in major; 3.63 2nd half of college (so far). Since I am on co-op/non-credit research this fall quarter, this is where my grades stand for apps.
GRE: 680Q 700V; retook new format estimates 750-800Q 750-800V on old scale
RESEARCH: 1.5yr full-time (3mo at a time) co-op doing materials research at tech startup, will start working for reasonably well-known professor in the fall for my final year. Obviously only 1 quarter of academic research will count when its time to apply...
PUBLICATIONS: None but I have had experience helping write SBIR proposals and reports. Some chance I may be able to get one during my first quarter of academic research this fall, the PI is pretty productive and his group is small. I will give it my best shot. No pubs at co-op because our my work is proprietary and I haven't been invited to any conferences.
LORs: 1 from co-op boss, 1 from my department's lab director (also co-chair), 1 from my PI this fall. The first two will be glowing, and I will bust my ass to make sure the third is as well. All will have seen me do lab work/research.
SOP: I've got a pretty good way with words so I'm confident I can write a good one but I haven't really looked at this. Advice? Should I start writing it now? I know more or less why I want to go to grad school, I want to make research my career, and I have a pretty good idea of specific things I'd like to study.</p>
<p>Is there anything else I'm missing?</p>
<p>Also, I've been thinking I might be interested in a related field for PhD like Physics or Electrical engineering, how hard would that be to go to instead of materials engineering?</p>
<p>I'm looking at all the top schools for matsci currently (MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, NU, UofI, NU, UCSB, UMich, Cornell, Georgia Tech, Penn State, UofF, CalTech, CMU, UPenn, Ohio State, Harvard, Purdue, UofW-M, RPI, UofM-TC, UT-A, Johns Hopkins, Lehigh, UCLA, etc). I know my GPA is a sticking point but it can't be helped. I'm pretty sure I can get into some of these schools but I'm not sure how high I should try to aim--no reason to waste the application fees...</p>