Another "what are my chances" thread (astro grad). Some details about me and my undergrad institution: Senior physics undergrad at a Spanish institution recognized in the EU as the home of the most important observatories in the region, big collaborations with U of FL. Rigorous program that uses a lot of grad level textbooks, will have taken a few grad courses (already took one). Will be doing my senior year at a big UK institution where I'll be doing a Msc. thesis as part of my undergrad curriculum with the dept. head (possibly resulting in a good rec letter in time for applications, I hope). This will be the only research experience I'll able to get. Rec letters from prominent astrophysicists with contacts in many of my desired grad schools. Grades that according to World Education Services, converts to a 3.2 GPA up to my junior year (grading is fairly harsh in my country). Will be taking GRE, PGRE, and TOEFL (even though I'm a US resident and have been bilingual all my life, still need to go through this for most schools). Know from my registrar that a few graduates from my uni have gone to US institutions in the past: Oregon St. Uni, UMass, Caltech, U of FL(through a now-defunct exchange program)... but I have no idea of what characteristics they had. Kip Thorne, Fred Close, Jocelyn Bell and a Harvard prof visited my uni in the past 3 years, if that means anything. Tons more but these are the only that I recognize. I've combed gradschoolshopper, AIP, graduate-schools.phds.org, pgreforums & gradcafe (to get an idea of the admitted students characteristics) several times and have compiled the following list of schools I like/feel like I have some chance of getting into: U Hawaii U Florida U Minnesota U Arizona (physics program with astro concentration, as the astro program has a 3.5 cutoff) Arizona State U Ohio State U Case Western Reserve U Dartmouth College Rochester IT Penn State U U Boston U Mass Amherst I would like some feedback on my chances of admission, I'd like to slim it down to 10 or 9 schools. Any reason to discard Penn, Boston or UMass? I'm thinking TAships might not cut it for the Mass. schools due to the high cost of living. I think U of FL is too competitive but I can get very personal rec letters from profs/advisers with lots of contacts in their astro department, so I'm applying anyway. Same goes for U of Az and Ohio. For some schools I'm considering applying to both physics and astro departments. According to AIP, only 1 student enrolled in Ohio's astro program in 2010 and there have been 0 enrollments in CWRU on more than one occasion, is this something to be concerned about? I think both programs are great, especially Ohio's, but are the admissions tough in these programs? Can't find any history on ASU's and very little on Rochester IT's enrollments/graduates, it seems both grad programs are very new (RIT's astro program started in 2008), could new programs like these be looking for students from all over the world or would they be more conservative in their admissions (ie: just sticking to domestic students)? Looking forward to the replies, I'd appreciate any help.