I recently finished a round of PhD applications.
I always knew I wanted to do research, but when I applied I didn't know what sub-field of Computer Science I wanted to do my research in. I was already out of school a year when I decided that I may never figure it out just by sitting around, so I just bit the bullet and applied to a PhD program with what I knew.
Naturally, a month or two after I applied, I realized that what I really wanted to go into was robotics, which I have very little experience in at the moment and which I didn't mention in my personal statement.
I'm pretty good at teaching myself things. Give me another few months and I'll probably be able to learn quite a bit about the subject, and I'd bet anything I could put together some decent projects that could make me impressive enough to get into a good robotics research track, but I've already applied to a bunch of schools and it's at the point where if I'm getting in, I'm not getting in for anything robotics related.
So, here are the options I see in front of me:
Turn down the offers I get, try again next year when I can be more focused and well-researched on which programs/professors I want. This feels like giving up, and I'm always nervous about putting things off, especially for a year.
One of the schools I got into happens to have a good program for robotics, but I doubt my application was on any of those professor's radar. I could contact professors from that school and ask if they'd want to work with me, but I don't know what I'd say with so little robotics knowledge. Another school I applied to but haven't heard back from has an even better program for it, so if I am emailing professors, there's still time to email professors from that school as well.
Go to a school I got into, and just hope I'll be able to switch programs.
I know I ultimately have to decide for myself what to do, but any advice is greatly appreciated.