Assuming that I have enough money for all the application fees (I do), how many grad schools should I choose to apply to? I am looking to do high energy theory (with an aim toward GUT). After some research into good programs in places I would actually like to live (after moving to California two years ago, I'm pretty addicted to the West Coast), I've narrowed my list down to (not in any particular order): UC Santa Barbara UC Berkeley UC Davis Stanford U of Chicago UT Austin UW Seattle I had originally intended to come up with a list of 5, but I am having difficulty reducing this list any further. UC Davis is on the list because I'm currently taking a grad-level physics class there (as a means to get my foot in the door after being out of school and working for three years); as such, Davis is a "safety" school. I've already filled out most of the applications for Stanford and Austin as well, so it is mostly the others I am trying to decide between. My dilemma is that I'm unsure of my qualifications (long story involving some things that happened in my last two semesters of undergrad, plus the fact that my undergrad is in Computer Engineering rather that Physics), but I want to get into high-level theory, which is highly competitive, so I want to maximize my chances of getting in somewhere nice. The Stanford application specifically asks you to list all the other places you're applying to, so my new concern is: are there any consequences for having too long of a list? Would I be seen as indecisive or uncommitted? What, in your opinion, is a reasonable number of programs to apply for? And do you have any other advice for me? Edited to add: A quick summary of my situation, in case people don't see the post I made slightly below: Undergrad: BS Comp E, Purdue GPA: 3.50 Physics GRE: Practice tests were at 850-ish, felt very good about Nov 3 test (no scores yet) GRE: Taking it on Dec 6 (not worried about it, usually test well on such things) Undergrad Research: None. Most people in Computer Engineering didn't do such things. Recommendations: Two former professors (one is Assoc. Dean of EE), plus current professor. Extras: Took several upper-division Physics courses (intended to minor in Physics). Did OK. Currently taking grad-level classical mechanics at Davis; getting an A and often helping other students. Current professor recommends highly.