I'm an undergrad math/physics major and an aspiring theorist. I, like many others, would like to go to a top physics school for my post-grad education. I have a couple of questions about admissions to these schools. First, purely speaking in terms of GPA, below what GPA would these schools (Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton, Harvard etc) start raising eyebrows? I know that GPA is viewed in the same manner as SATs are viewed in undergrad admissions (a high one doesn't guarantee anything but a low one probably means you're out). What mark do you think this would be? Of course other factors also count for a lot but here I'm taking about the "danger zone" in terms of GPA. Secondly, does GPA as a pure number mean a lot or do schools place more of an emphasis on the actual transcript? As in, if the classes bringing down my GPA are say intro E&M and ODE's, would the fact that I did well in upper-level E&M and PDE's count in my favor? Would someone who followed the standard track and ended up with a 4.0 be viewed as a better student than someone who jumped ahead and took higher level classes earlier on, but ended up with, say a 3.8? Thanks for answering.