I am an Aerospace Engineering major at a top 10 university with a 2.6 GPA. As for an upward trend in GPA, there is a slight one, but not significant enough to make a difference in my opinion. After gaining interest in physics through research projects, I decided to teach myself and obtained a perfect score on the PGRE last fall. I wish to continue into a phd program in physics, but I am not sure whether or not it is worth applying. It seems people are worried about acceptance with low 3+ GPAs, and I am well below a 3.00. I have heard of students with similar GPAs getting accepted, but only with stellar research experience or convenient connections - neither of which I have.
My research experience includes 1 year in astronomy (type 1a supernovae spectroscopy) and 1 summer working with a particle physics researcher with minor presentations and no publications. I want to study particle physics so the astronomy research seems irrelevant.
Does the fact that I am not a physics major help my GPA situation at all? Will the PGRE save my GPA? Give it to me straight.