I want to apply for a Master's degree program in Robotics at some top schools in Europe and America. However, I feel my current profile is not strong enough to get into a top school and I am looking for ways to boost my profile and increase my chances. More specifically, I graduated with a GPA of 4.06/5.00 (which is relatively low) and I have read that most top would not even consider one's application if one doesn't have a very high GPA to start with except one can show strength in other parts of the application like the GRE score, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, research publications etc. For example at ETH (one of the schools I am considering), it is rumored that one has to be in the 99th percentile to get in.
Although I haven't written the GRE yet, I hope to score 330+ and I also hope to write a convincing purpose statement. However, for the recommendations, I have only two lecturers (yes, not professors) who know me very well and I am sure they would write good recommendations for me but they are not majorly in the field of Robotics so this may not be a huge plus (Not sure about this, any clarifications would help). Also, I do not have any research publications. To improve my profile, below are some of the steps I am taking/considering taking:
1. Online courses in robotics, machine learning algorithms etc. 2. Looking for a Professor at my local University who is active in the field of Robotics to work with 3. Looking for a job at a Robotics company to gain experience 4. Taking my undergraduate project (a UAV) a step further and publishing my work etc.
As for , there seems to be a slight difference of opinion in the answers I have gotten on this site as to how much impact this may have but the consensus is that the impact is minimal.
I included  because some schools ask for three recommendation letters and I currently have only two reccommenders. Additionally, I want to know, how eager are Professors to work with people who are no longer students of the University? Does anyone have experience with working with a Professor while maintaining an a full-time job? How tasking is it?
In , by a step further, I mean making the platform an autonomous one as it is currently remote piloted, and then publishing the work.
What I want to know is, with my list above, am I heading in the right direction? Which of these (or any others that I haven't listed) are likely to have the biggest impact on my profile?
Just a small consideration, I have a short time (about 5 months) between now and most schools' application deadlines, so I need to make this boost within that period.