I am new to this forum so forgive me if I am not adhering to certain established conventions - e.g. posting in the correct place, posting something new, etc... I suppose I will start with the background info - I am a domestic male graduating from a little known, if at all, college in Georgia. I have been doing research in AMO physics since my freshman year, mostly with a prof in the physics dept but also for an REU at NIST, have published two papers (co-author and first author), am on around five APS conference papers, and have presented at two APS conferences. I am expecting a letter of recommendation from my advisor at NIST who is, I suppose, a well connected individual, and also letters from a few profs in my department (including my research prof), all which I expect to be very strong. I have a 4.0 GPA at my current school, but have a couple old transfer credits (mundane required classes, which I, unfortunately, neglected) which bring my cumulative GPA down to 3.73. I also did fairly well on the PGRE - 900 (86%). Lastly and most relevantly, I took the general GRE twice; (1st time) ran out of time on the quant section and did pretty badly - 154~690 on the old scale (67%), did really well on the verbal section - 164~690 (94%), and did ok on AW - 4.5 (%). (2nd time) Did better on the quant section (still not as well as I should have) - 161~770 (86%), was apparently way too careless on the verbal 154~520 (64%), and I don't yet know my new AW scores.
Now, I am applying to mostly top ten schools, along with a few in the ~20-10 range, in AMO phys, condensed matter, or quantum info, and was hoping for some general advice from those who may, or may not, have ventured before me. I feel as though my application is fairly strong but I worry about the awkward arrangement of general GRE scores (good on verbal, bad on math -> pretty good on math, bad on verbal), the little known school, and the old, not so good, transfer credits. Do I have a good chance with these schools? Will the second verbal score will hurt me? Is the math score assortment ok when coupled with the other things in my application? Is my GPA ok considering my math and physics GPA is a 4.0? Should I send out emails to professors at the schools, which I now have time to do, even though deadlines are quickly approaching? Am I just driving myself insane, for no reason?
Any wisdom, or even just any outside perspective, on these concerns, will be much appreciated!