I am applying for graduate schools now. Does anyone know what schools most highly value? I have good grades, but not in everything, it is pretty skewed towards things I like because I always spend my time reading books and papers to learn in depth instead of skim the surface like my profs ask.
I've started to become sort of specialized, I guess in particular for my grade.
I have people, one very famous chemist, who say they will write me excellent letters of recommendation.
I have about three and a half years of undergraduate research experience semesters and summers. I did a poster at an ACS meeting and have two publications (first author) which will be ready after applications are due unfortunately. I am presenting another poster soon. I run one of my projects and designed the other with very little direction from my boss except when he gets weird and does what he does. I get credit and grades (all A and my school does not do A+) for the work I do in lab, but what is on my transcript does not reflect the number of hours I have spent in lab because I exceed it by about triple every semester.
I have only taken one graduate class, but that is because my school is too small to have a graduate chemistry program, so I took it at Cornell. I got an A.
I have no idea what grad schools look for, but I love being in lab and investigating things I think are cool.
I got a D+ in art class for not showing up last fall and I bombed thermo because I didn't really respect my prof and couldn't learn from him (he told the class he was going to give us the easy version of thermo!!!!). I know the material, but I could not learn it from him.
I guess I put what I do in lab before everything else I do. I know that is not really what an undergrad is supposed to do.
Will this hurt me when applying to schools? I am very knowledgeable and people who are well respected know me as the "tattooed girl who came out of the blue and kicked everyones ass" (I'm covered in them) because my old prof at Cornell apparently ranted about me a bunch. I don't know, two other profs called me this with slight variation saying my old prof told him my name but he forgot when I was there to use a reactIR (friggin excellent for kinetics btw).
I'm not the work hard no matter what type. A lot of what I have done is test to see if I am actually smart, which means no effort for something I like to see if I can do it instead of wondering if I know the material simply because I worked hard. I don't spend time on things which don't interest me because there is so much that does interest me, so I am drawn to that, even though it is not a good idea.
However, when I like something, I usually work my ass off and pick up on the material very rapidly and comments I receive are that I jump from beginner to advanced extremely quickly.
I hope I don't get rejected from every school I apply to. It's pretty nerve wracking. There are so many things I am not good at and the holes in what I know are immense. I hope I can get in at least somewhere.
The guy I had at Cornell asked me to work for him. I didn't really like what he did and wanted to stay on my current project so I turned him down. I hope that was not a bad move.. I couldn't just go work for him so I could have an entry to Cornell.
I think I may have made too many mistakes. It's just my personality to have to "specialize" in something and undergrad was not really awesome because I got called to not do that to a great extent.
If anyone can let me know what admissions committees value, it would be really great to hear. I hope I can at least meet some of the desired criteria. I kind of went rouge when I started getting to be in a lab.
Sorry if this is a rant... I am fairly exhausted and thought if I could explain my situation better, it would gather the most relevant input.