I am a Physics senior, and will be graduating with a BS in May 2018. Couple weeks back when I really got into the application process, I realized that I don't stand any chance of getting into a good physics PhD program.
I have a good GPA in my major and average GRE scores but my application falls short when it comes to research experience. I tried to get involved in research at my undergrad institution, but none of the faculty members were doing research. I only have one summer research experience (at a renowned institute in Germany) but the work was mainly computational and doesn't directly relate to the research programs that I am applying for. For my senior project, I did a little bit of research in physics, but the results were not exciting at all (basically just imaging some quantum dots and finding the size distribution).
It was when I was writing my personal statement that I realized that my application will not be competitive at all. Should I still apply to PhD programs at less-selective schools? I am personally inclined to do a Masters first, not only to get some research experience, but to also figure out which field of physics excites me the most. The only thing that worries me is that most Masters are not funded (although I have found a few in Europe that have scholarships). I really want to do my PhD from a good program and I feel that I am just not ready for it.
I am losing hope and any career advice at this point will be highly appreciated.