I am an international student studying U.S. I would appreciate it a lot if I could get some feedback on my school choices. Being in the stage of writing statements of purpose and resume, I am not quite sure where I am quite at.
Undergrad University: California, Big state school. Undergrad physics not ranked, graduate physics one of the top.
GPA in major: 3.87
Overall GPA: 3.88
Length of Degree: (2?) +2.5 years
-My high school was some weird magnet school from which I got an associate of science degree along with my high school diploma. A lot of credit transferred, so I counted as a transfer student when I came here. I'm not quite sure if I should talk about this in length in my SOP or not...
Position in Class: Have no clue.
Applying for: Physics Ph.D in Condensed matter experiment/Theory
General: verbal 165(95%) Quant 170(98%) Writing 4(54%)
Worked in condensed matter group for 1.5 years. One paper submitted to some big journal (as 5th author- you know, made samples)
Letter of Recommendations:
Prof 1: Went to office hours a lot, and got A+ on his class.
Prof 2: He gave us some class challenge, and me and my friend got it(after several weekends of labor!) getting A+ on class
Prof 3: My PI/Faculty advisor. Took some classes and worked with his post-doc for 1.5 years. He saw me working without life for 1.5 years, but not sure if he sees anything other than diligence from that.
Relevant work experience: Worked as undergraduate grader for physics lower division honors sequence for 1 year.
Applying for: Harvard, MIT, UChicago, Princeton, UCB, UIUC, UCSB, UCLA, Cornell, Columbia.
I feel like score-wise I don't have too much to be worried about. However, I'm not sure if my research experience or recommendation is strong enough. Should I be applying to more safety schools?