I am an undergraduate chemical engineering student who has been participating in research for a little less than a year now. I was able to get a paper published on one of my previous projects. Since I do not feel that the automotive industry is for me, and since I really like doing research, I have realized that the biomedical engineering path is more suitable for me.

I started looking for summer research programs at different universities throughout the US, and also found one in Switzerland, but some of them require a very high GPA. The reason why I want to participate in these types of programs, is because I truly want to make my research skills more versatile – I also believe that being exposed to different research projects, will help me on my own, current, research project.

I do not have the high GPA, but I have the stamina, ambition, and research experience that I believe it takes to complete such an intensive summer program. Should I still bother applying to them, is there any chance they will consider me?

I do not want to ask my research professor for letter of recommendation, when I know there is no possibility of me being accepted. For anyone who has participated in said summer research programs, what was your experience like? Do they really place such a strong emphasis on GPA, or do they take into consideration the work you did/have been doing in your lab? I was thinking of emailing the department head of these programs, introducing myself, “bothering” them, but I am not sure whether starting off with “my GPA is not high enough” is the best idea.

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