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EE Graduate School (too early to think about it?)

  1. Oct 7, 2007 #1
    I currently am a sophomore EE student and I'm thinking ahead to grad school. Right now my GPA is at a 3.85 and will hopefully be >3.9 at the end of this academic year. Next year I plan to begin doing research (my school has a very good program for letting undergrads do research), and I have interned for the US gov't this past summer, and possibly- through people I know- work for Intel this summer. My general question is if it's too early for me to begin thinking about graduate school? Besides that, what else should I be thinking about?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 7, 2007 #2
    No, it's not too early. You should look at what subtopic you want to get into and research the departments that offer the best programs.

    You're on the right track.
  4. Oct 7, 2007 #3
    It's kind of hard for me to say which subtopic I like the best right now.. so far they've all been interesting to me :rofl:. I should know that by the end of this year as I'll have

    Does the ranking of your undergrad school effect your grad school admissions? My school is ranked in the top 10 and was wondering if bits like that come into play
  5. Oct 7, 2007 #4
    From what I've been told, the ugrad school you went to doesn't matter that much.
  6. Oct 7, 2007 #5
    go and get a EE degree .... it is worth ..... interesting and high salary also ...
  7. Oct 7, 2007 #6
    It's definitely not too early to start thinking sbout graduate school. I wasn't truly gung ho about grad school (PhD) until the end of my 3rd year (out of 5 years). I always considered grad school, since freshman year, but I was maining considering MBA and MSEE programs. It wasn't until later that I realized that the PhD is what I really wanted to do. IF I would have known I was going to do a PhD earlier I would have gotten more research experience instead of industry experience.
  8. Oct 7, 2007 #7
    I'd say that it depends, and that it can definitely factor in (albeit indirectly). If you go to a highly-ranked undergrad school, chances are that there are some "famous" professors with whom you can associate yourself. If you do an REU with one of them and impress a couple of others (e.g., by taking their class and doing superbly), then that's three great recommendations that you can have. An excellent recommendation from a well-known tenured professor is worth a lot more than one from an unknown associate professor.

    Anyway, I'd say that you can never start thinking about graduate school or getting involved with research too early. Largely due to PF, I started to think about it when I was a freshman. *WARNING: shameless bragging to follow* As a result, not only was I able to graduate in three years, but I was also admitted to every EE grad school to which I applied, all of which were in the top of the rankings. (I just started my first year of grad school.)

    And yes, I credit PF with giving me nudges in the right direction.
  9. Oct 8, 2007 #8
    Thanks everyone

    Shameless bragging that is well deserved :approve:

    If you don't mind, what type of "stats" should I have for top graduate schools?
  10. Oct 8, 2007 #9
    Well, your GPA's good, so definitely keep that up, and try to push it even higher if you can. It seems to me that EE programs don't care too much about the GREs, largely because there is no EE subject test and the general test isn't terribly useful. (In fact, the school I ended up attending didn't even require them.) Don't get me wrong: you should still try to do well in them, because they do count for something (e.g., for fellowships), but I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about them.

    On the academic side, I think it would behoove you to pick a specific area of interest as soon as you can. It's fine to be interested in a lot of things (and I can certainly sympathize), but you're going to have to do it eventually. If you end up deciding that you hate the area you picked, then you can always switch later on. The biggest benefit of doing this is that you can start planning what classes you'll take well in advance. Also, you can start looking into professors who might supervise your undergraduate research. I think that a big part of my application was the fact that I had a very good idea of what I wanted to do and that I had the courses and research experience to back it up.

    On a personal level, I basically mapped out my entire undergraduate curriculum at the end of my freshman year. At the time, I knew that I wanted to graduate in three years, and so I didn't even consider that the focused courseload could be a boon to my application. Fortunately, my department had a web page where it gave a listing of classes belonging to the various research interests, and so that was tremendously helpful. Even though I didn't stick to my map religiously (I eventually disregarded it in favor of grad students' advice), I looked at it in my last semester and found that, surprisingly, I had stayed pretty close to it. Moreover, my research advisor has told me several times now that he is impressed with how much material I was able to cover as an undergrad, so I know that I was well-prepared despite having graduated in three years.

    I already talked about recommendations, so that leaves research. It's essential that you do undergrad research in your area, and that you get a good recommendation out of it. That's pretty much all I can say about that.
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