secander2! wrote:Just my opinion: As you probably know, UCSB, Cornell, and U Chicago will be serious reach schools, but it's always good to have some, so I don't necessarily think you should take them off your list... if you've got the money for application fees, it can't hurt, especially since the effect of a published paper seems to be somewhat random in how much it counts for. The others seem like they might be more feasible, but I might throw in a super-safety just because you're doing theory.
Also, did you say that you've already worked with some people at these schools? I would bet that this would count for quite a lot! If you've got somebody on the inside who really wants you, you're probably almost assured a spot.
UWash is also a GRE heavy school... phenomenology as in theory i guess, because you need to take similar courses as an experimentalist as well, so i don't know what you want to go into.