I will be graduating with a BSc Physics degree from the UK next year. I have recently decided that I want to get into a PhD programme in the US. However, I have little money and would not be able to fund myself. I know getting into a fully-funded programme will be very competitive but is it even realistic for an international student like me with barely any research experience?
Here is my profile:
Undergrad Institution: Above-average Arts/Science University in London (top 20 for Physics but not that well known)
Overall GPA: Above-average (will probably graduate with a first-class honours which means scoring between 70-100%)
Length of Degree: 3 years
Type of Student: International
Research Experience: None. But will be doing a final BSc research project from November 2016 to March 2017. This is a requirement for my course and the final mark will count towards my degree. My project is very computational, involves lots of programming, modelling and data handling. I want to do a PhD in something similar.
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: I got a scholarship worth £10,000 at the beginning of my degree.
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I'm doing an internship this summer for a small IT company where I will be using a lot of C++ and Python (will help me out majorly for my BSc project). I was also an outreach ambassador for the South-East Physics network in the UK.
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Will volunteering experience help? I volunteered at an organisation in India where I taught Maths and English to kids living in slums.
I will be taking the GRE soon but I'm confident I won't do too bad.
Considering everything above, what schools would you recommend I apply to (for a fully-funded PhD programme)? I don't want a list of names, just the tier that I should realistically consider.