I recently got back my final marks for the first half of my courses (3rd year physics in Spain) and am getting a little frustrated at the fact that my marks don't reflect the work I've put into them. Grades in my country's system work as follows: "Aprobado" (5.0-6.9/10) "Notable" (7.0-8.9/10) "Sobresaliente" (9.0-10/10) "Matricula de Honor" (10/10 and top 5%, entirely up to the prof's discretion). I've already gotten some frustrating results where I end up getting something in the high 6's, but the "aprobado"/passed label it gets makes it look indistinguishable from a bare pass (5.0). My transcript will show the numerical grade however. I have long been searching for grade equivalences between US and Spanish universities but I have never come across anything official, so for now I'm assuming that my GPA translates into something "mediocre" by US standards (just below a 7.0 average), but I have taken several graduate level courses (and will take several more) as part of my curriculum and will be doing a final year thesis under a department head in my chosen field at a top 10 UK institution next year. I'm very serious about applying to US grad schools next year (thinking several state schools with programs in astrophysics/physics, have about 7 in mind) and will soon begin preparing for the pGRE which I'm confident I can do well in. I'm going to have to pool a lot of resources I don't really have into it... and I'd really like to know what my chances are if I can do above average on the pGRE (and GRE, and I'll also be taking the TOEFL as although I grew up in the US, my university is not English-speaking, so it is required). I will be getting some good rec letters from profs in the field including my final year project adviser. How does my situation look? Am I risking pooling a ton of money with zero chances of admission into 7-8 schools, even if I do well in the pGRE? I'm a legal US resident, does that give my chances of admission a boost compared to other foreign applicants who require a visa? Is it a good idea to email universities directly about my concerns? Perhaps ask if they've ever admitted students from my country and with what grades/pGRE grades? I'm fairly desperate here and I really don't have a clue what my chances are. I'd appreciate any help! Thanks.