Hi all-- first time posting here so if something is off please be patient with me :)
I'm currently in the process of applying to neuroscience Ph.D. programs (hopefully with a computational neuroscience focus). I'm applying straight out of my undergrad and am absolutely terrified... I was convinced by my parents (mistake no 1) to apply to all the top tier schools in my field. Ie: Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, Princeton, NYU, Cornell, MIT. I'm also applying to Boston U, Mt Sinai (aka Icahn School of Medicine) as kind-of backup schools. (Realistically I think they're the only ones I have any shot at MAYBE getting an interview.)
I know everyone asks this here, but: do I actually have a realistic chance of getting in?
GRE: first attempt, 169V/162Q/5.0AW. second attempt, 164V/164Q/5.0AW.
GPA: 3.69 cum, 3.6 (biochem) and 3.7 (math) major GPAs at my current school, but they don't count my (two years of) transferred credits from community college. With transfer credits, 3.84 cum GPA, 3.73 (biochem) and 3.84 (math) major GPAs.
Math, biochem double major. I've been doing math research for ~1.5years, in a field that has neuro applications, but haven't actually done any neuroscience research. (1 publication as 2nd author; lots of poster/conference presentations.) My college is a mid-level public university, with no neuroscience program or coursework. However, I've tried to choose my electives so that they would help a grad degree/career in neuroscience.
I'm active in academic clubs on campus and have some leadership experience. I also have quite a lot of community service, if that helps. Without revealing personal details I am very "well-rounded" both on paper and irl.
I have 4 solid letters of rec, and am fairly confident with my statement of purpose. I interview well, but of course I have to get invited back for an interview first...
I've been in contact with some faculty from most schools. At the very least, an email back from them saying "you look like a great fit, email me again if you get an interview".
I'm sorry if this is a stupid thing to ask, but I'm nervous that I'll send out 11 apps and get 11 rejections. Please let me know what you guys think! Do I need more low-level schools? Are these all too much "reach"? Or would I be better off taking some time off to work as a lab tech or RA, and then applying in a few years from now?
Thanks in advance~