Hello, here are my current stats:
Undergraduate Institution: Small liberal arts school in midwest, completely unknown for physics
Major/s: Physics and Mathematics
GPA: 3.93 cumulative; 3.95 for Physics; 4.00 for Math
Ethnicity/Gender: White male, from the U.S.
PGRE: 620 (This is the score I received on the April Exam, I am signed up to take it again this September)
GRE: Have not taken it yet
Coursework: I have taken one semester each of the typical undergrad courses, i.e E&M, Quantum Mechanics, etc., on top of two intro physics courses, two intro chemistry courses, and various math classes. Overall, I have found that I will have taken fewer physics courses than students at other universities, however I have taken every course available to me at my institution for both physics and mathematics.
Research Experience: My only research experience is an International REU, through the University of Florida, I participated in this past summer, where I was sent to a university in the UK.
Letters of Recommendation: I do believe I will have three strong letters of recommendation. My first will be from my physics advisor who I've taken five courses with, who knows me quite well. My second will be from one of my mathematics professors who I've also had four classes with. My final letter of recommendation will be from the mentor of my REU project who is a professor at the university in the UK that I was located at.
Research Interests: I am unsure of exactly what field I want to apply to, however I am leaning towards the theoretical/computational side of physics. Per the advice of my advisor, I will express this in my statement of purpose and mention that I want to explore my options first, being open to all fields offered. To be completely clear though, I will still include what specific research of each institution sounds appealing to me, referencing publications/professors, to be sure to convey I know what my options will be there.
Finally, here is the list of schools I will be applying to, in no significant order:
1. University of Wisconsin Madison
2. University of Utah
3. University of Florida
4. University of Notre Dame
5. University of Oregon
6. University of California Santa Cruz
7. Colorado School of Mines
8. University of Texas Austin
9. University of North Carolina
10. University of Pennsylvania
11. University of Washington
Unless there are major concerns, I would like this to remain my final list. I also do not plan on adding schools to this list, since financially I only want to pay for about 10 overall applications, and not much more. I am completely aware that my PGRE score will set back for schools like UT Austin, Univ. of Penn, and UW Madison, and am hoping I score about 100 points higher for the September exam.
Overall, am I competitive enough for the schools on my list? I know that I will not get accepted to every school on my list, just because of how things can work out, but can I expect to receive an offer from at least a couple?
I appreciate you taking the time to read through this and provide me feedback!