Alright lets be honest here, my GPA is not excellent, I mean not terrible (like a 3.3 or 3.4) but I'm a female and I have a dissablity, majoring in astrophysics. I've been really sick and missed up to 5 weeks of classes in one semester being in the hospital, and this happened over like 3 semesters so all those semesters my grades were sorta bad. But I still have taken challenging classes, and am a double major. My PGRE scores aren't back yet so I don't know what those are, I have research experience- I do have a decent chance of getting into places yet, I don't need to get in top 10, but a top 50 would be nice. Do you think they can look past my GPA because of the circumstances? I am getting better so the grad schools don't need to worry about it affecting my performance once I'm there. I don't really doubt that I can get into a low ranked school, I'm applying to like 10 programs all over the board
realistically I have a decent shot a few of these right?
Hey - I'm in almost the exact situation as you are, and I can say - if you're *really* passionate about what you're doing, then yes, getting into top programs IS possible.
It depends on what your interests in astrophysics are though. The earth science/planetary science programs do tend to be more forgiving of low GPAs and low GRE scores (as long as you have research and as long as you *know* what you're doing). My overall GPA is around your level (though it's due to a huge number of grad-lvl courses), and I screwed up my PGRE, but I still managed to win a top student fellowship from UChicago Geophysical Sciences (you can do a forum search for geophysical - there was someone else in a similar [but possibly worse] position as you who also got into the department).
Out of all the programs you're applying for, I think that Columbia's Astro department is probably the most forgiving of them (it doesn't have problem-based quals). I actually emailed my transcript and PGRE scores to them (along with the strongest parts of my app), and in spite of that, they said that I was a very strong candidate . One of the people there even managed to get special permission for me to apply to two Columbia departments.
Yale also invites many applicants to their campus, so that's where passion can really get through (and where the people who don't have passion get weeded out). And New Hampshire's Physics program has like a 50% acceptance rate.
My impression is that Brown's Geological Sciences department also seems to be pretty forgiving (I'll learn more when I visit in 2 weeks).
 Of course, they might say it to everyone, but that wasn't the response I got from other schools.