Hi, I am an international student (UK) and as the title says, I received a 3.0/4 in my bachelors due to various personal circumstances at a top university in the UK (QS ranked top 10 in the UK for physics, top 100 globally).
Fortunately, I was able to get into another top university (Also, QS ranked top 10 in the UK for physics, top 100 globally) for my masters largely due to a supervisor who was sympathetic to my circumstances and excellent recommendation letters, I recently graduated from that masters with a grade equivalent to a 4.0/4 GPA, top of my class in several modules/courses. This university didn't release class ranks so I don't know where I stood overall but I suspect if not at the top, near it.
Whilst at my masters I did significant research work in experimental astrophysics. Because this work is mainly being used internally by the research group I worked with and also because in my experience UK institutions are a lot less eager to have their pre-PhD students releasing publications than US ones are, my work hasn't been published. Despite this, I did have a notable contribution to a major experiment and I expect that will be reflected in my recommendation letters.
I have yet to sit the GRE or pGRE but I have been preparing for them for months and based on recent practice tests I expect to score quite high, possibly perfect scores in the quant, verbal and pGRE or if not, at least 95th percentile across them, but of course there's no way to know for sure until I take them.
Since the top US astrophysics PhD programmes (Stanford, Caltech, Harvard, MIT, UC Berkely etc) are incredibly competitive I'd like some candid feedback, what are my chances of getting into one of them? Would the combination of my masters grades, research work and a high pGRE/GRE score overshadow my undergrad and illustrate that it was an outlier?
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