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Grades or Internship Experience?

  1. Jan 4, 2009 #1
    I am a senior computer engineering major at a university in the US. My overall GPA is 3.4 and my major GPA is 3.85. I've had two summer internships and one 6 month co-op.

    I'll be going to the workforce as engineer to one of the companies that I've worked for right after graduation. After that, in one year, I plan to apply to an Ivy League school for admission into their MS in Electrical Engineering program. Given that I do well with GRE, have strong recommendations, etc... which will look better:

    1) If I focus on my last semester on bringing my grade up to 3.45-3.49?
    2) Continue on with my co-op work experience this Spring as a part-timer and only graduate with a GPA of 3.4-3.45?

    Note, the GPA I mentioned above are calculated to what I can get at most.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2009 #2
    The GPA increase you're forecasting is not very significant. You're major GPA is very good, and your chances will be good based upon that. If you continue with your co-op, you might get an increase in your starting salary because it will count as more experience.

    However, if I were you, I'd use my final semester to find some research. That would be a great addition to your professional and academic resume. That would count a huge amount towards your graduate school admissions.
     
  4. Jan 4, 2009 #3
    Ok, going on with choice #2 then, would it look better if I continued to work for my current company (Intel) or got a new internship position for the spring? I'm particularly thinking about IBM or Computer Associates. Do you think that's a good idea? Also, have you heard any experiences for either of those companies that previous interns have had?
     
  5. Jan 4, 2009 #4
    Well, let me ask -- are you going to be staying with Intel after you graduate? Have you already been made an offer?

    If you are staying with Intel, and they have made you an offer, the benefit of you staying there is that you'll continue to forge contacts and prove yourself so that when you start full-time you'll be well-known and get on some good projects.

    If you have not been made an offer, I'd try a different company. This will be useful in two ways - it will let you see how another company operates and you can also list this as another, completely separate, work experience. This will increase your starting salary.

    In my research I work closely with a few engineers from IBM and it is a great company. My lab has close associations with them. My best friend is going to be starting at their Fishkill, NY location as a software engineer this summer. He co-oped with them for two summers and he really loved it. I can't say I've had any experience with CA.

    I guess I should ask - what are your goals in this situation? Just to increase the likelihood of getting into a top graduate school? I should mention that if you are doing something at your internship that aligns very closely with what you want to do in grad school, that will be very helpful in both applying for grad school and for impressing a potential adviser.
     
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