Posting this here because I know that many of you come from similar backgrounds. Back a few years ago when I was just starting undergrad, I chose my current university because it's near my mom who had been diagnosed with cancer immediately before, and they offered me nearly a full-ride. Needless to say, now I'm regretting it. Now, don't get me wrong. I love having a small department. I've had research opportunities that I wouldn't have had elsewhere, mainly because there is no graduate program. However, it's frustrating in other ways. I'm the only one going to graduate school. Neither of my advisors even mentioned it as an option. When I asked where I should consider applying and what I should consider specializing in, they told me that they felt going into the industry would get me more money in the long run. I'm pretty sure I want to go to graduate school though. Many core classes aren't offered. Mechanics II is only offered every six semesters - meaning I won't be able to take it before I graduate. I also tried to get an independent study, but the professor (also the department chair) didn't have time. No one even told me about the GRE until a few months ago! But I guess that's my fault for not looking into it. Now, don't get me wrong. I've tried my best to make up for these sore points on my graduate applications. I've been studying vigorously for the GRE and I have a 4.0, but I know that my application simply won't stack up to the people I'm competing with to get into graduate school. I've had an internship at a national lab (and am continuing to work with them, as long as I can afford to) and hope to do so again next summer. I'm also a Goldwater scholar, but as a female that doesn't mean too much. Long story short... what can I possibly do to make up for my poor choice in universities? I can be as successful as I want, but I'll never be able to compete with even an average student from an Ivy League. Is there *ANY* chance of being able to apply to a tier 1 school, or am I out of luck?