(chemistry major applying for grad school) I would consider myself a very good candidate, but I'm pretty biased. I won't run down everything, but I feel like I am on the very high end of all the things they look for in an applicant. My trouble is in figuring out where to apply, and how many places to apply to. Right now I would really like to apply to ~10 schools. I am just so incredibly afraid of not getting in somewhere and being utterly devastated. If I only have a 10% shot of getting into a top program, I could easily not get accepted anywhere. Just like you could flip a coin a few times and never see heads... Right now I am applying to two "safety" schools; my home university (I really don't want to go here for grad school) and where I did my REU, both ranked as average programs. I am fairly confident that my acceptance is pretty much guaranteed at these schools. The rest of the places I want to apply to are mostly top 20 programs. I'm not sure if I should spread out more safety schools between my current safety schools and the bulk to the "reach" schools I'm applying for. I just don't want to apply to too many safety schools and miss out on applying to better programs. I just don't know what I would do if I don't get in anywhere. I feel like such a strong candidate, but sometime I worry that it is just a matter of time until the rejections start rolling in. Nothing against lower ranked programs which I'm sure are full of great scientists (especially where I did my REU), but I have worked so hard to try for a spot in a good program. Now it is getting down to the wire and I'm panicking that it won't pay off. How can I stop this anxiety about graduate school (which I want to stress is due to the magnitude of my dedication these past years) and more importantly, take steps to ensure that the worst case doesn't happen? So far I have tried to list three faculty from each school that I want to work with. Could this end up backfiring at all if, say, those are the only people working on that subject and they decide my interests are too narrow for their program?