I have read and been told that research is the single most important factor for applying for PhD programs in STEM fields. But, I also hear that GPA and GRE scores are the first cutting point for adcoms.
What is actually more important, grades or research? Will committees look at applicants with low GPAs?
In my scenario, I have a ~3.4 GPA overall, ~3.7 in Major (CS). This is not stellar. But what I do have is 1 first-author conference publication (Best Paper Award at conference) and 1 first-author journal publication as a Junior, with more other work/papers in progress. And my GREs are 158V/170Q/4.5W.
I'm very interested in top schools, but I'm worried my GPA will hold me back.
Will admissions throw away my application at sight of my GPA? Or will they take the time to review my whole application?