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What should I do to increase my chances of getting into Carnegie Mellon?

  1. Dec 7, 2011 #1
    What can I do to increase my chances of getting accepted?

    I'm currently a freshmen at Wichita State University studying Electrical Engineering. My hopes down the road are to get a PhD in Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. As it stands currently, I'm pretty unimpressive on paper. My GPA is a 3.8 which is ok but I have nothing else going for me. I volunteer at a couple of places in my free time but thats about it. So I feel that if I want a chance of getting accepted I have to start now. Can you guys tell me some things that will increase my chances of acceptance? And I was just wondering since WSU isn't that prestigious of a school, will that hurt my chances? I also would like to know what are some of the other leading schools in robotics, just so I can keep my options open.

    One more question. I was stupid and got a D in an english class and I'm pretty ashamed about it. I can assure you it wasn't because of lack of brains or anything. I retook the class and got a High A but the D is still on my transcript. Have I already ruined my chances of getting in?

    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 7, 2011 #2
    you will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever get into cmu for grad school if you don't have a significant amount of research under your belt. get in any kind of lab immediately and start working on papers. forget about the D, a 3.8 is fine.
  4. Dec 7, 2011 #3
    My suggestion might seem absurd, but I'd say if you want to get into Carnegie Mellon, stop wanting it directly. Don't do something just because you believe it will help you to get into that place. Just do what you like to do, do it with passion, the only rule is not to be lazy, that is, enjoy mostly intellectually.. in some sense.

    I believe there's no concrete suggestion that would be helpful to you. More passion, less laziness - that's about it.
  5. Dec 7, 2011 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: What can I do to increase my chances of getting accepted?

    The first thing you need to realize is that graduate school admissions are different from undergraduate admissions. For grad school, what counts are (a) your grades, (b) research experience, (c) letters of recommendation from professors or research supervisors. Extracurricular activities are irrelevant, except perhaps if they're directly related to your field of interest (e.g. being officer of an engineering club, or tutoring students in classes in your subject area).

    One D early on isn't going to kill you, especially if it's in an area outside your major field. Even if it had been a D in first semester freshman physics, it could still be overcome by doing well in the rest of courses, thereby showing that it was just a fluke or "first semester jitters."

    Many high school students find that the academic environment in college/university is very different from high school, and have trouble adjusting during the first semester. Many of them make the adjustment and do well later on. Just make sure you understand the source(s) of any difficulties you're having them, and do something about them.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
  6. Dec 7, 2011 #5
    Well, people *have* gotten into CMU without undergraduate research experience in the past <cough, cough!>, but times have changed so I have to agree that you need to get into a lab quickly!
  7. Dec 7, 2011 #6
    yeah, i literally got this info straight from the cmu cs department. . .

  8. Dec 7, 2011 #7
    Yes, I've read that before. If anything, it points out to me how much times have changed... I got in purely because of grades, recommendations, and test scores. I probably wouldn't even be considered today! :smile:

    I also firmly disagree with the idea in that article that a Ph.D. is a waste of time if you don't continue to do research. I happened to go into industry, and the skills that I learned at CMU were *definitely* useful and applicable there.

    And that concludes my rant for today.
  9. Dec 7, 2011 #8
    yeah, i gotcha. ive talked to people in industry that ive worked with, and they said a ms/mba is better because you have the benefits of a higher education and the extra time to work there getting experience / raises; with the example being used: BS + 5 yrs experiences = higher salary than a starting phd with no experience :P
  10. Dec 7, 2011 #9
  11. Dec 7, 2011 #10
    mit? google will probably be your best bet, but im p sure cmu is numero uno . . .
  12. Dec 7, 2011 #11
    I know that CMU is the only Robotics PhD program in the nation, do you think this could change within the next few years?
  13. Dec 7, 2011 #12
    i meant the top, not the only. . . i googled and found some threads. check georgia tech.
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