Hi guys, wassup? I am a physics undergraduate motivated to get into top graduate programs, namely MIT. It is not its name or prestige (only a small amount!) which attracts me to it, but the experience I desire, that is, to immerse myself to an environment, surrounded by other students of diverse backgrounds of same passion that brings us to the same place, together discussing and doing research, headbutting against the wall doing problems in classes taught by professors I admired for their research or teachings. It'd be silly of course if those were my only reasons: they also have many groups doing cutting-edge research on field of my interest (quantum information). My aims are: a 4.0 in major GPA, 900+ PGRE, and 5 graduate courses. As of research, I have done a semester of experimental semiconductor physics, and am looking to join a group in quantum transport simulation. I am graduating in 3 years, but if I do not get accepted, I can stay for another year to do more research (this will not be a problem financially, as I will have scholarship/financial aid for 4 years). I am also actively involved in our chapter of SPS as an officer, and have done a lot of volunteering in high school. I will have a very "good" (whatever this means) statement of purpose essay, as I have a lot to say about my strengths, experiences, and goals. I am fairly confident that I could achieve my aim by hard work. But what I am scared of is that even with a 4.0 GPA, 990 PGRE, and years of research with publications, it seems that nothing can assure an acceptance into MIT, chances even lessening as years pass by (observed from the grad cafe and physicsgre.com). As such, I would like to hear advice on admission to MIT, or other top institutions; what other factors exist, what I could do to maximize my chances, etc... Any advice will be deeply appreciated. Thanks in advance!