Here is the short background. I am a senior graduating May 2010 (BS Physics) and planning to go on to graduate school. I am interested in Condensed Matter Experiment. I have a 3.5 GPA, no research experience (will start in spring semester which will be after grad school applications) and will have just good recomend. letters (assuming since I am very shy and rarely speak up and even though I have good grades, professors don't know me well, exept as student with an A grade) My low gpa is due to C+ and C- grades I got first semester after transfer from community college. After this I have aced each class but I guess it was a transition thing. I also have a hard time meeting professors currently during office hours due to family obligations. Well I want to go to good graduate program, in the top 25-30. I am not even considering first 10, but I am realistic that I will not get into this programs with my background, so I planned to stay at my university for a year or two of grad school and then transfer with better recomend letters and research experience. I was wondering would it be better to transfer from Masters or Phd program into Phd program somewhere else? I considered to apply only to my school, however I may apply to some other ones as well, but I didn't want to waste time applying to average schools, when I can stay at my school when I know that I want to transfer to a better one eventually.