I am a senior with a 3.5 cumulative and chem GPA and a great research experience. I have not taken either GRE, but I am dead-set on going to graduate school. In order to help my chances and keep my chances up of getting in what should I do this summer and next fall? Should I do research position with a local company or try to contact someone at a university to do work with them? Also when would be the best time to take the GRE ( in may to have it done with) or this summer? If so how do I go about finding this type of research/work so that I stay active in chemistry. Please help, Thank you so much.
With respect to the GRE, the best time to take it is when you are prepared. If you have not been doing practice tests or review, May will be too soon. Start spending a couple hours (minimum) every Saturday preparing. I took a diagnostic, realized my math was fine but verbal was a weakness -- which I think will be true for most chem majors -- so my preparation was to go through the dictionary making flash cards. But you've got to know for sure what your weakness is and prepare accordingly.
If I were young again, I would try to get a research experience in both industry and academic. Apply for an REU at a school other than your own, ones that you would consider for grad school. Apply for several; they are competitive. Deadlines are coming up soon (Feb 15 perhaps, so you've got to get on that). If you work on your GRE Saturday morning, I would spend Saturday afternoon looking at grad schools, going through faculty lists and see what research projects turn you on. Then contact those people to see if they may be looking for some summer help. Be genuine though, if my research doesn't turn you on and you tell me it does, I will know within 5 min of talking to you.
One thing I absolutely regret not doing when I was your age is "building a rolodex." The best thing you can do for your career is knowing lots of people. Best of luck. Beau Séant!
So it is in fact possible to still do an REU even though i am graduating? Thank you for the help it is so much appreciated.