So the title question is not real clear so let me try to elaborate. I am currently 30 and a senior in college. I will be graduating this spring with a BS in Computer Engineering. The way my school is set up the Comp-Sci and Computer Engineering departments are together and the Electrical Engineering department is separate. I expect to graduate with over a 3.5 gpa (not wonderful) but have no research or intern/on the job experiences. I am looking at continuing on at this same institution with their phd program. My gre scores verbal 165, Quantitative 158. Their cut off is 146 verbal and 156 quantitative. I still need to talk with them and see how they utilize the gre scores and see if I need to retake the gre and up my quantitative score.
So from that mediocre beginnings I come to the grand finale. When talking with professors and otherwise looking/learning in my field. How do you find those areas that are new and pushing into the frontier. When I write a letter of intent and they want me to tell them what I want to be doing. Where do I go read up on the new stuff for my major. What are some all around objectives and methods that people use and then specific to computer engineering what are people reading or procuring their resources from.
What other things could I do in this last year that may help my chances of being picked?
As an additional question, Letters of recommendation would be coming from professors from within the department that will be doing the selection. Some of these Professors would be the ones heading my thesis committee(i think that's right). Does anyone have any experience they can relate where they went to grad school at the same institution that they go their BS degree from. I will have one outside reference as a peer mentor for our freshman engineering program but otherwise most of the professors have seen me go over the top in my work for their classes.