What kind of school could you see me getting my PhD at?
**I am about to graduate with my bachelors degree in physics from a school with little prestige.
**I have a GPA of 3.5, which is at the tail end of those realistically applying to graduate school.
**I don't have an REU, but I do have a lot of work experience in forensic engineering. My experience is with using and repairing scanning electron microscopes, finite elemental analysis, electronics, engineering, machining etc. (great for someone working in a lab). I have an incredible knowledge base gained from several years in the field.
**My boss and my professors like me a lot, and want to write me letters of recommendation.
**I haven't officially taken the physics GRE yet (I'll take it in October), but I took the 87' practice exam cold turkey and got a 43 percentile (compared to others that year). I figure with studying (and since the newer tests are easier) I could realistically raise my percentile to to somewhere in the 60's.
**I don't know what area in Physics I want to work in, so I want to apply to big schools with lots of different opportunities. I figure I need to apply in experimental given my background and likely GRE score.
So now what kind of schools should I apply to?
Should I even send UC Berkeley, or University of Chicago an application?