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I will be applying to graduate schools the upcoming fall and I have a list of schools that I like based on professors, research work, etc. But, how can I realistically narrow my list to schools I can actually get into? I am a top student at a good public school, but it is certainly not an MIT or Ivy.

I have around a 3.9 and will have taken 4-5 grad courses by the time I graduate, with research with 3 different professors and a minimum of 1 paper co-authored.

I feel like getting into schools such as Berkeley or CMU is out of my reach, but I love their programs.

Can anyone suggest me a strategy which makes it much easier for me to make choices? (Lesser the number of available options, quicker and better will be the decision.)

closed as off-topic by Buffy, Buzz, scaaahu, Solar Mike, user3209815 Jan 21 at 7:48

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    You are competitive for all of them by the sound of it. – guest Jan 20 at 23:58
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It sounds like you already have 1) a list of potential schools and 2) some idea what schools you can realistically get into and which you cannot.

So take these schools and split them into three groups: those you should be able to get into (safety schools), those for which you have a 50-50 chance, and those which you would be delighted to get into (like Berkeley and CMU). It doesn't have to be a very scientific split; a rough one based on your intuition or whatever it was that made you think Berkeley and CMU are beyond you suffices. Then apply to some schools from all three groups.

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