As the title says, I am having problems choosing schools. I started compiling a list of schools just based on if they have at least two of my fields of interest and if they're likely to not completely disregard my application right off the bat. That has not been very effective at paring down the list. I'm looking at going for about a dozen applications. Here is all of the important information:
Undergrad Institution: Very small program, but good professors
Major(s): Physics, Mathematics
Minor(s): Computer Science
GPA in Major: Physics - 3.75, Mathematics - 3.5
Overall GPA: 3.7
Length of Degree: 4 Years
Position in Class: Very high, but out of a small sample size
Type of Student: Domestic white male
GRE Scores : Revised Version
Q: 170 (98th)
V: 163 (92nd)
W: 4.5 (80th)
P: 710 (54th) (Yeah, I messed that one up)
Research Experience: I've researched with three professors at my university.
General Relativity: I have written programs to find interior and exterior solutions of slowly rotating neutron stars.
Nanoscience: I have grown carbon nanotubes with a CVD and written programs to model the capacitance of patches of carbon nanotubes.
Quantum Computing: I have written programs to control and run experiments in an adiabatic refrigerator.
Excellence in computer science award
Excellence in mathematics award
A Boeing scholarship
A scholarship from an endowment to the math department
Silver medal in the university physics competition
20pts on the Putnam competition
10th place in a state mathematics competition
Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
President of SPS for two years
Vice president of math club for a year
TA for introductory physics labs for two years
Tutor for the university in math, physics, and computer science for two years
Tutor for the math/cs department in computer science for two years
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
None come to mind
Special Bonus Points:
One of my recommenders has an age number of 22. He also seems to know a bunch of people in the field. He said he would write me a recommendation that pretty much says I walked in knowing exactly how to handle the computational approach to the problems we have worked on in research. In his words, I can "tickle the keyboard".
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
Nothing comes to mind.
Applying to Where:
Here is where I need help. Here are my fields of interest, in order of interest level (all theoretical):
1. Computational Physics
2. Condensed Matter Physics
3. General Relativity
5. Quantum Information
I am looking for schools with a focus in computational physics since that is really where my strengths lie. I am especially interested in numerical methods and modeling. My research advisor seems to be pushing me towards GR, since I seem to have a knack for it. But my faculty mentor seems to be pushing me towards condensed matter since he thinks I could make some great contributions there and he thinks that the big advances in physics will come out of that field in the next 20 years. They are both writing letters for me. Here are some schools I think I will apply to, but I would appreciate any help that you guys could provide.
Washington University (St. Louis)
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
University of California - Davis
Beyond that, it is just hard for me to parse the information I have on various schools. Especially regarding how they treat the PGRE scores. I think it is clear that is the weakest part of my application by far.