bfollinprm wrote:I'd listen to your recommenders. They know you, know what they're going to write (presumably they're having difficulty recommending you to the top schools on your list), and probably know something about past admissions trends from your school. Anyone who tells you things here is less informed, and so their opinion is less important.
Not that I'm saying the recommenders are infallible (though if they're not convinced I doubt they'll do much to convince the committee), and they could be wrong. And if an $80 application satisfies your "what-if" wonderings several years down the road, that's a pretty cheap price to pay.
As far as waiting, it's a personal choice and I understand wanting to get the ball rolling on your life, but if you're worried about things taking an extra year to get going, the slow, arduous walk down the physics career path might not be the thing for you. Even if you go in the fall, when you're 28 you'll be making <25k and living in a student apartment you share with 2 other people while your friends are getting married, having kids, and buying houses with 6 figure tech-company salaries. Changing that age to 29 or 30 isn't going to noticeably change the narrative of your life, and in fact, if you end up at a better fit with a more productive group, could save you a year or 5 of second postdocs before you reach the promised land.
Now, if you're just ready to leave or move on, that's a different story. Like I said, definitely a personal choice.
Brilliant comment! My supervisor also keeps reminding me that if I live up to 80, the extra year is really not going to matter all that much. My graduate education, and the names of the schools on my resume, is what will make much more difference in the long run.
I suppose I just have a $400 itch, that I can satisfy only by sending in all these applications...
I'll edit my profile - but I am an international student. Not from China, or India, however!