First I wanted to say that I looked through application profiles from 2011-2014 to find people with similar stats as mine who have been able to get admitted to theory programs ( I don't really care if it's top 10 or not).
physics gpa ( including required math courses for major) 3.544 not including that would make it 3.5ish.
physics gre 700 52% (Sep 2014)
I have done well in many advanced physics courses (A, A-), and never got lower than a B. The reason for B+/B grades is because I didn't do so well on time-pressured exams I am working on improving that by spending lots of time solving physics problem etc.
I know my stats are not great, but I know that it is possible to do HEP-TH with these stats somewhere.
I have done two projects in HEP-Th ( no publications) and my profs were very happy with my work and I believe they would write excellent rec letters.
I don't really know if "safeties" exist with my stat because I feel like it could really go either way also since it's HEP-TH. In fact, I am also applying to engineering programs for masters.
Although my main focus is to do HEP-TH, I am keeping my options very open for applications! HEP-EX , CME, Quantum Information/Computing.
My list includes:
U Toronto (requires B+ average, No GRES) this would be competitive because I am international applicant(American)
Drexel University (lower match?)
UC Irvine (upper match?)
UC Davis (a reach)
Does anyone have other suggestions? I came up with this list after combing through past results and looking through faculty/research profiles. there's a student from my college with similar stats who got accepted to UC-Davies for Cosmology theory! However, that was three years ago and I am positive it's even more competitive now.
The reason I want to go to graduate school is because I loved my research experience and they were in HEP-TH. I am open to other options, but my statement will definitely reflect I love HEP-Th no matter which other field I indicate interest in. It's hard to change the statement to make me seem like I didn't like HEP-TH haha.
I love research and want a research oriented job in the future. Comp sci is sort of appealing to me too. Especially areas like quantum computing/information. If I apply for engineering masters, is it possible to work in this area from the engineering side too?
Thanks for any advice or input!