I am currently at a community college, and the only reason I want to transfer out is because the physics department here is absolute garbage. Whenever I have a question for a problem, if I go into the department, walk down the faculty offices and inquire for assistance, 9/10 of the professors are unwilling to help, even during their office hours. The times that professors are willing to help, they provide incorrect information or simply do not know how to solve the problem(s). Also, the general education and pedagogy here is terrible (I am basing the comparison of my school's courses to the lectures I have seen online at other schools). The only real help I get are from users on this forum, but sometimes it is difficult to explain/understand a concept through text communication only. Also, the responses on a forum are not in real-time, thus assistance for a single problem is usually spread out over a course of several days. Sometimes it gets annoying to keep track of many problems at once or lose a train of thought during a problem which is why I think I need the help of people in real life for certain problems. I applied to some schools as a sophomore transfer since I am very poor and get application waivers, but got rejected by every school. I wasn't surprised as many of the schools were unreasonable for someone of my academic stature and undistinguished track record in high school. Also, nobody at my school was willing to write letters of recommendation for me so I think that was also a factor, though I've heard of people getting accepted to schools that required letters of recommendation but didn't submit any. I plan to obtain my associates this upcoming year and transfer as a junior, but some students from my school who are transferring out for this upcoming semester who have a similar GPA to mine (3.8-3.9) have been rejected by schools I had previously considered "safety" schools. My biggest fear is not that I won't get accepted into schools of prestigious reputation or top-tier schools, but that if I transfer to a lower-tier school, I'll face the same issues I am currently having with my school's physics department. Furthermore, what if my new school does not have any research for physics available? I understand that REUs are highly competitive, so I would have to rely on those, but I may not get accepted into any. There are students performing research year-round at their schools, so even if I did get accepted into an REU, I would only have about 2 months of research experience tops. If I don't get accepted into any, well then I would have absolutely no chance at any graduate program in the country as a PhD candidate. So if I don't get accepted into any schools that have a good physics department, what would your suggestions be at that point?