I have been getting a fair number of emails from undergrads that are applying to grad schools and there appears to be one common theme to them all. What do you think about these schools? It seems most of these kids only have their eyes set on the cream of the crop top level schools and nothing below them. I have to remind them that for every kid admitted to some program at Dana Farber or UCB or Cornell, there are handfuls of them that get a rejection letter. My biggest piece of advice to them is to diversity their application portfolio, I know I did. This is sort of like what you did when you were a punk ass high school student applying to colleges and your guidance counselor probably gave you the same advice. Apply to some wish list schools, some that might challenge you to get it, and some that are your safe schools.
Here is the breakdown of my grad school applications:
-Schools that would only let GR in to use the bathroom before campus police escorted him out.
-Schools that would let GR in if he had compromising photos of trustees or program directors.
-Schools that would let GR in if he could only spelle good.
-Schools that would let GR in he would promise to behave according to rules of polite society.
-Schools that would let GR in if he would just pay the $35 application fee.
-Schools that would let GR in if he has a pulse.
So why not apply to some wish list programs, a few solids ones, and one or two you "know" you could get into. Otherwise if you get roll snake eyes on every single application you are going to be sitting out another before going to grad school.