I am going to apply to few PhD programs in Microbiology (I'm particularly very interested in Microbial ecology) but I'm afraid my undergrad gpa (8.5/10 for the first 6 semester as I'm currently in my 7th semester) might hold me back (however I have scored 9/10 in all core biology subjects). But I have a lot of other aspects to my application. For e.g. :
- I have co-authored 3 research papers which are published in peer reviewed journal.
- I have co authored 6 book chapters (4 in peer reviewed journals like springer, Elsevier etc)
- I have presented 4 of my papers in 3 different international conferences (2 of them I was the first author)
- I received funding from ISRO-ASI scholarship (Indian Space Research Organisation- Astronautical Society of India) to attend one of the aforementioned conferences.
- One of my team projects received a funding of 38,000 USD from our college trust.
- I have conducted 3 months full time research internship in a research laboratory Tsinghua University.
- I have also done 2 company trainings of 10 day each.
- Plus few extra curricular activities like I was in tedx team, entrepreneurship cell etc. And as part time job I also taught few high school kids.
- By the way I should mention my college is well reputed (best in the state) in my country (India) but is tier-2
I need your help! I have no idea as to which colleges I should target ( my dream College would be University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) because of this particular professor Bruce W Fouke. He's amazing!) But I don't know if I would be accepted. I'm also not very rich so I can only afford the application fee for 10 colleges. I need your advice! Do you guys think I should apply to M.S. first get good grades and then try out for PhD. What kind of colleges I should target? (I actually concentrate more on the laboratory and not on the affiliated University but the University would be the one screening my application).