I am from an Indian university with aggregate of 3.37 GPA in a 4.0 scale. Scored 317 in GRE with 163Q and 154V at 85 and 64 percentiles respectively. Secured 107 in TOEFL. Physics GRE @600 with 28%tile.
I have a minor in Mechanical Engineering with specialization in renewable energy technologies. I have a conference paper in my minor and done research work in my microwave engineering course.
Am interested in pursuing astrophysics for PhD or masters.
Am applying for Ohio state, Penn state, Caltech, MIT so far. I've got strong LORs and 7 projects experience out of which one turned to be a conference paper. Please enlighten me with some realistic scenarios and some good safe universities for fallback. I don't want to waste an year in between. An astrophysicist I know advised me to apply for radio astronomy and then transition to stream of my choice once I got it since I have good background on the communication department. What's your take?