I'm sure many of you are in graduate school or have graduated. I dare say some of you, like the creator of this site, probably even went to a top robotics school like CMU. I come seeking advice on how to get into a top tier grad school.
First, a little background. I graduated last May with a B.S. in computer science from a relatively unknown school. My GPA was good, but not stellar (3.3 overall, 3.6 major). I was capable of far better, but slacked off way too much. Since then, I've developed a much better attitude. I was planning on taking a little time off between grad schools and have done so, though I was working a pretty mind numbing job in the meantime. I applied to several top schools, and have been rejected by most of them so far. My GRE was fairly good (780 quant), but I'm sure my GPA and lack of research experience are holding me back. I would love to get a Ph.D. in either robotics or CS with a focus on AI from a top school (CMU, Stanford, MIT, etc.) , but realize that isn't likely to happen with my current credentials. My backup plan is to get a Master's in CS from a great-but-not-top school like University of Colorado or maybe University of Pennsylvania, work hard, and then apply for my Ph.D elsewhere (or maybe stay on if I find I can accomplish all of my goals at such an institution). Does this sound reasonable? Any other advice?