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Robotics graduate school advice

  1. Jun 3, 2012 #1
    I would like to pursue a graduate degree, and I am set to graduate in Fall 2012. I would love if someone could give me a little advice tailored towards my current situation and goals.

    Please and thank you! Here's my story...

    I'm a computer engineering student entering my fifth year at University Of Central Florida. I have become interested in going to graduate school because I really love to learn, teach, and innovate. I have a 3.8 GPA. My extra curriculars have been:
    • A semester of research (unfortunately I never made enough headway to get published)
    • A year of physics tutoring
    • A year of working at lockheed martin as a software developer
    • Robotics club, a small competition
    • I'm beginning a job as a research assistant at a human-robot-interaction lab this summer.
    • My senior design project is a robotic chess board.
    • My electives are focused on AI robotics.

    I only have two classes left (AI and senior design II). I will graduate this December. I need to decide where I'm going to grad school and when I will be applying.

    The following are my goals
    • Receive financial assistance throughout my grad education so I don't have to live off of loans. I live very simply on about $12k a year currently and I would like to maintain a similar lifestyle and remain debt free.
    • Get a master's degree from a decent school.
    • Have the freedom to pursue a Ph.D. after a master's.
    • Possibly apply for a Ph.D. program straight away if I'm qualified

    Sometimes I feel that I'm not a good candidate for these schools because I went to UCF and I don't have published research. I'm not sure where I stand. What I am sure of is that I'm genuinely interested in academia and I am a very hard worker.

    If you could review that list of goals and help me come up with a decision, these are the questions I need to answer:
    • Do I apply to UCF only or to other schools?
    • Do I apply directly for a Ph.D. or for a master's?
    • Do I apply for spring or fall?
    • If I apply for Fall, what do I do until then? Graduate & work at a lab, Stay in school and take grad level UCF classes, or stay in school and double major in CS?

    Thank you very much for reading.
     
  2. jcsd
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