Hi there, I'm in the process of applying to graduate schools and am having some trouble deciding what schools to pick. At my current school there is no Astronomy/Astrophysics going on (there's primarily condensed matter, optics /photonics, some bio physics and high energy stuff being done). I spoke with a professor who will be writing me a letter of recomendation and he said he honestly wasn't so sure about what good astro schools were, and the only one he recomended was Johns Hopkins. I'm looking to get as many opinions on theses issuses as possible and thought that this might be a good place to do it. My first problem is that I'm not 100% all the time whether I want to do astronomy or astrophysics, and even in that I'm not sure what I'd want to due more specifically in each area. I'm thinking of applying to some astronomy programs and some astrophysics I think...although that also depends on the school seeing as some schools have seperate astronomy and physics departments. I've come up with a few schools, but I'm not basing my opinion on much more than what I've heard here and there and their websites. What I'm trying to do is come up with a list of schools ranging from ones I'd love to go to but don't know if I'd really get in, middle of the line schools but still good ones, and sorta safety schools but hopefully still good schools. What I've got so far (and am willing to take out and replace with others if necessary) is Berkeley (my top choice) Columbia Johns Hopkins University of Hawaii University of Washington University of Chicago University of Michigan Brown Stony Brook Upenn I don't really know what's a typical # of schools to apply to but it's for a good purpose so why not just go for a bunch right? I'm not really sure whether some of these are worth considering and what some other good schools (not just top but middle of the line and saftey schools too) are. I'm also honestly not sure what my shot of getting into some of these schools is either. My GPA isn't the best nor the worst. Overall it's a 3.140, my physics GPA is about 3.34. I know the grades aren't the best but I've working full time and living on my own and supporting myself so I'm hoping that means something. I've also taken a graduate math methods course, 2 semesters of grad E&M, and will be taking a stat mech course next semester. I don't know what my phy gre score is yet but i feel like i might have done not too bad...not great but pretty ok. I also did a summer REU in astronomy looking at the issue of Compact Narrow Emission Line galaxies an their relation to other compact systems like drarf galaxies and quasar host galaxies. I'm currently still working with the professor I was working with over the summer and hopefully something good will be forthwith. I know alot of this is vague and I'm probably rambling but hopefully you folks understand the plight of a nervous undergrad worrying about getting into a grad school Any opinions on any of this (other good for astro grad schools, opinions on the ones i put etc.) would be greatly appreciated. Also honesty is truly important here...if someone thinks i haven't got a shot in hell in getting into certain schools I've listed I'd apreciate the honesty. Sorry again for rambling, and thanks for any advice.