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2019 Statistics PhD Applicant

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Undergraduate Institution: Smaller unknown state university 
Major:  Statistics

Minor: Math
GPA:  4.00

Programs Applying:  Statistics Ph.D.
Type of Student:  American, Caucasian Male
Courses Already Taken: Calculus series I-III , Mathematical Reasoning (proof methods class), Statistical Methods, Differential Equations I, Differential Equations II, Regression Analysis, Linear Algebra, Stochastic Processes, Modern Algebra, Special Topics (course on construction of Lebesgue Integral/ introductory Measure Theory),  Probability Theory, Nonparametric Statistics, Mathematical Statistics, SAS Programming, Time Series Analysis 
Courses Planning To Take: Experimental Design, Generalized Linear Model, Mathematical Models, C++ Programming 1, C++ Programming 2, Numerical Analysis, and Real Analysis (maybe another special topics too)
GRE: Verbal: 158 Quantitative: 169 AWA: Not graded yet but I feel maybe 4.0/4.5 possibly higher. Not planning to take Mathematics Subject GRE.
Research Experience: 1st author publication in peer-reviewed Springer journal (applied statistical model for count data), 1st author on second paper hoping to submit for publication by graduation! Also a couple conference presentations (One was a poster presentation).
Recommendation Letters:  Letters of recommendation will be from statistics/mathematics professors. I have worked very closely with one statistics professor on the research above and I am close with other professors from taking different courses/being involved in department activities.
Coding Background:  R, SAS (C++ as well by graduation)
Work Experience: Four years experience as statistics/mathematics tutor
Schools I'm Interested In:  Duke University, Columbia University , University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Pennsylvania State,  Rice University, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, University of Florida
I am really looking for advice on what type of schools (top tier/ mid tier/ low tier) would be reasonable for me to apply to. I am planning to apply to about 7 or 8 schools. I really appreciate all the advice and everyone's time! Thanks.
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I think your list is really solid. Duke will obviously be a reach for almost anyone, and Columbia would probably want to see your subject GRE coming from an unknown school, but I think you should hit that mid tier of PSU/UIUC/Rice/UF level schools really hard.  Honestly I think MSU and VTech are too low for you to aim. Have you thought about biostat programs? I think you'd be very competitive even in the top 5.

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