Background: I'm a senior at a large state university studying electrical engineering, and I will graduate in May. Currently, my GPA stands at 3.08. I am on track for a 4.0 this semester, which includes a graduate-level course in digital communications systems. By the time I graduate, I should be sitting around 3.3 overall, with perhaps a 3.6 or better over my final 60 credits. I interned this past summer at an electro-optics company, and I am currently instructing a circuits and systems lab course which I will instruct again in the spring. I received my revised-GRE score report yesterday. I scored 167Q/163V (95th %ile and 93rd %ile, respectively) with an abysmal - though uncharacteristic - 3.5 (29 %ile) writing score. I am trying to figure out which tier of graduate schools would give me a realistic shot at acceptance. My question is whether it is worth my effort and my money to apply to highly-ranked programs like UCSD, GA Tech, etc. I would appreciate any and all advice, as my engineering adviser has proven unhelpful during my visits.