Interested in graduate school (possibly in CS) but with lukewarm academic records and letter of rec. I also didn't major in CS. I'm already doing what most people recommend for someone in my position (work as a research assistant). What else can I do? Is this possible for me?
posted by lacedcoffee to Education (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I graduated last spring with a BS in biomedical engineering from a well regarded university. After graduation, I've been working as a research assistant at a different, also well regarded university in a neuroscience/cognitive science laboratory. I plan on staying here for 1-2 years, with goals to begin applying to grad schools this summer/fall. I have a few roadblocks on this path (which I'll describe later), but to be clear, a major reason I want to go to graduate school is because there are not many jobs options as a BME bachelors beyond research assistance positions, and I want to eventually move beyond this. I know there are exceptions, but this has been the case for almost all of my classmates. Our department focused primarily on getting us prepared for advanced degrees (med school or grad school), and little else. My undergrad curriculum was extremely broad, and I have very little depth and wish to gain more. I also enjoy research. Without a graduate degree, I am fairly certain I will eventually reach stagnation, both in terms of opportunities for professional growth and moving beyond a meager income.
I have pretty broad and vague interests, which I realized I need to define, so until I do that, I'm leaning more towards masters, but am open to a PhD in the future. I am not interested in most of the things I learned from undergrad as a BME, particularly anything involving wet labs. My cognitive science experience has been interesting, but I'm not sure I want to pursue this in graduate school. I realized that I really enjoy programming and building algorithms, and that combined with my interest in cognition, I'm am toying with the idea of a computer science degree with a focus on artificial intelligence. However, I have never taken an artificial intelligence course before, so maybe I have no idea what it'll be like! Additionally, I have no idea if I'll be competitive for a computer science graduate degree, having not majored in CS as an undergrad. I've taken a few intro to programming courses. My current work is very heavy on MATLAB programming, but I'm guessing this is nowhere near the rigor of a CS major. I pick up languages quickly, and I'm quite good at it, but again, this is coming from a general engineering prospective, not a computer science one. Will this be an issue? Do I need to take some makeup courses? My current university is focuses on life sciences, so I can't pick up a CS course here. I've looked into university websites, and though they either don't list prereqs, or state they don't have any, I'm wondering if in practice, I'll be very much at a disadvantage for admissions with my current qualifications. Does anyone have any insight about what I'll need to be good candidate for an artificial intelligence graduate degree at a good university? Obviously, I will spend the next few months looking more specifically into potential areas of study, but I want to know if my current goal is a pipe dream. (Also, I'm not interested in jumping ship to another RA position right now. I need to stay here to build a relationship with my current lab.)
I don't not have a very strong academic record nor enough stellar recommendations. Due to some mental health issues in undergrad, I graduated with a 3.2 (with an upward trend though...). Basically, I was sometimes so depressed and anxious I didn't go to class or do homework. That is now under control, but I still have my less than spectacular grades. My 2 programming courses I got B's in, even though the material was very easy for me. In my first year, I got multiple C's and D's, and was put on academic probation (which I quickly got out of). Besides my current PI, I will have weak letters of rec. I attempted minimal undergrad research before fizzing out due to mental health issues. I also rarely attended class or interacted with my professors. I think I can get enough letters, they will just be very general. I hope to get a good letter of rec from my current PI. I have no publications, and it's unlikely I will publish at my current lab anytime soon. I have not taken the GRE's yet, but I'm good at standardized tests and have taken practice ones, and hope to be at least in the 90% percentile, most likely higher. Is there anything I can do to strengthen my application at this point? I'm doing all I can at my current lab, but I don't want to be doing research assistantships for the next 5 years just to collect recommendations and publications. I need to move on to the next stage of my life.
I can't pay for my degree (in a technical field, I shouldn't have to). I will absolutely need to be funded, and I realize this is more difficult to do for masters.
I'm graduated with a BS and working as a research assistant. I want to apply to grad school, looking at masters with goals of eventually pursuing PhD. Interested in computer science, but feel unqualified. Very bright when I apply myself, but with lukewarm academic record and letters of rec. Need funding. Want to go to the best graduate program I can possibly get into. How to achieve this? Am I a good candidate for grad school?