I'm an undergraduate student studying computer science in my last year. I graduate in Spring 2017. I have a 2.97 GPA. I will likely have a 3.0-3.1 when I graduate. I want to end up at a top university for grad school and dream of being a researching professor.
I recently was able to speak in person with a new assistant professor from a top school at a conference recently about working with him through an RA or post-bac position. We got along well and he enjoyed my ideas as I did his. It seems like we fit well as people (which is important, I'd say). We're still corresponding via email.
The RA position is up in the air until he files the grant for it so until then my only viable option to work with this professor is through this post-bac program.
Here's my dilemma:
I'm concerned my GPA and lack of a strong 'rising trend' will outright prevent my acceptance to this post-bac program. And if the RA position isn't an option, there goes my chance at getting networked into this top school for now. I know this isn't the whole truth and that it's a more nuanced situation but I can't help feeling this way sometimes.
Here are my questions:
How helpful is it to get into top post-bac programs for low-GPA students if they: a. Already have correspondence with a faculty b. Have already spoken about possible projects with that professor that both parties agree are good c. The professor mentioned he'd "make sure [my] application gets considered in full" d. Contact the Director of the program mentioning the correspondence with the professor and the student's concerns about their GPA/application
How hard is it to get into top post-bac problems? a. Are they competitive? b. How many people apply knowing faculty ahead of time? c. How many people apply usually?
Some Info That (may) Hurt My Application:
- GPA = 2.97, will likely be 3.0-3.1 at graduation
- No significant 'rising trend' in grades after sophomore/junior year - I've genuinely been a B student because I didn't care for classes until I cam across A.I. Two years later I now know in my heart this is my calling and I want to be a professor as well. In a way, I believe this passion cured my depression (see below)
- Changed majors from biomed (2yrs) -> chemistry (2yrs) -> computer science (1yr)
- Multiple failed courses in my transcripts in my first year (Failed college algebra three times because I had depression my first year; couldn't care about anything)
Some Info That (may) Help My Application:
- Major GPA > 3.2, will likely be > 3.3 at graduation
- Invested in research in the field (A.I.) I'm going into with this prof at the uni where the post-bac
- The research I'm doing is possibly groundbreaking. PI mentioned in last meeting "This has the potential to be material for multiple PhD dissertations"
- I'm the primary and only author aside from the PI on that project
- My outreach is beyond excellent by all standards (founded multiple advanced STEM organizations, am an avid public speaker on STEM [more than 6 talks/lectures in the city], and recently started a lecture series for students at my uni on AI that was funded by MIT for the Fall 2016 semester) (and there's more outreach I'm not listing)
- I'm hispanic and will be the second person in my family to get an advanced degree
My Current Plan
- Contact the Director of the post-bac program, mention my concerns, see how I can make my last few months as useful as possible for acceptance
- Mention to the Director my correspondence with the assistant professor
- Keep corresponding with the professor about topics and reinforce the idea I'm worth his time
Please let me know if this is clear to understand. This is my first post and I'll edit it if it's unclear.
To make things more clear - as my question has been tagged as a duplicate of another - I'm asking for advice on how to navigate post bachelor "post-bac" programs.
For those who may not know, this is not an umbrella term that refers to all things a recently graduated undergrad can pursue. It's a specific academic program offered by some universities. I have not seen any questions address this topic and I defend that post-bac programs are different enough to justify my request for help.