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Few Questions about Grad school

  1. Dec 25, 2005 #1
    I'm a Junior in WVU Mechanical Engineering right now. My GPA isn't bad (3.95), but I don't really have any research/experience in the field. Last semester I worked with a grad student on a nano-structures research, but I really didn't do much. This summer will probably be my last chance to do something so I'll try to get an REU or an internship. What if I can't do anything this summer though?

    What I really want is to get in a top engineering graduate school...will they accept students who only have a good GPA (from a crappy undergrad college) and GRE score? I haven't taken the GRE yet, but I think I'll be able to do well on at least the quantitative part. English isn't my first language so I probably won't do well on that (I scored 780 on the math section and 470 on the verbal section of the SAT on an 800 scale the first time I took it). How much attention would an engineering graduate school pay to the english part of the GRE score? I tried to look for guidelines on what the minimums are for GRE scores, but they seem to think of that as some sort of a huge secret. What do I need to get on the GRE test to get in like...MIT or something?

    Will getting a math minor help me get in a good grad school? Will recommendations from faculty suffice? How about recommendations from the grad student I worked with?

    Any advice/tips would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2005 #2
    Hmmm...if the reason I'm not getting any replies is because I'm hopeless and I won't be able to get in a grad school like MIT, I'd rather someone tell me that. I really don't mind criticism.
  4. Dec 26, 2005 #3
    Sometimes threads here move slowly, don't worry about not getting any replies yet :)
  5. Dec 30, 2005 #4


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    Where are you from? If you speak a bit of english don't be afraid about language. If you are planning to go USA for studying, you will learn english also.

    If I were you, I would be afraid about what is going to read your employer in your desired university in your application file. If you don't have any undergraduate research experience to show nor strong letter of recommendations of your professors (who by the way should be recognized scientists), forget about enrolling one of the top universities.

    That's my opinion.
  6. Dec 30, 2005 #5
    Wow, someone actually replied to this thread :biggrin:.

    I'm not worried about the english. I live in the USA now (I go to WVU) and english isn't a problem at all. I was just saying that I might not do very well on the GRE english part.

    I don't think any of the professors here are recognized scientists. I guess I'll just have to find a good REU this summer. BTW, I'm not a permanent resident yet, but I should be getting my green card in a matter of months. Can I say that I am a permanent resident? Otherwise I probably won't be able to get an REU.

    PS. will getting a math minor help me at all with the admissions in a graduate program?
  7. Dec 30, 2005 #6


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    My case is a little bit different. I am not american. By the way I don't know what is a REU. But I do know I was admitted in my grad school thanks to my undergrad advisor in Spain, with whom I worked and did research, and who recommended me. He is a very well recognized scientist in Combustion all over the world. Maybe a professor hiring a grad student is looking for someone with potential in addition to a previous knowledge of the research field. If you apply to a top grad school you should tailor your application to a specific researcher, but at the same time you cannot tell him you don't have any idea of his field of research.

    In my case I developed an unusual interest on Fluid Mechanics. I studied Mechanical Engineering (5 years program), majoring in Energetic Technologies and minoring in Machine Mechanics and Structures. I had 5 courses in Fluid Mechanics which I literally destroyed. In my fourth year, I was proposed to (learn how to) do research by this scientist I told you about. I got a deeper knowledge in Fluid Mechanics and Combustion, which has turned out to be very useful in USA. Somebody read my application in my MAE department, and I was proposed to be a GSR.

    I think each of us has a singular history to tell you, but to sum up I would tell you it is very difficult to get into a good school only based on your GPA and the studies the 95% of your class has also. You should go deeper into some specific matter.
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