I have begun the arduous experience of applying to graduate school in physics
Many of the schools tell me to "... list all the graduate and professional schools and programs to which you are applying...". Some even ask for order of preference. Simple question, why are they asking this?
If your list happens to be in the order A,B,C,D,E and you are asked this question when applying to C., maybe they'd want to know whether you have kept that particular school as a safety or as a reach school, or applying because you really are interested in their research! And maybe by doing so, they want to evaluate themselves!