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Where to spend my application dollars?


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I've been reading comments on here for a while and you all give such helpful feedback that I thought you might able to give me some great advice, as well.  I'm trying to decide where to apply - any thoughts?


Broadly speaking, I'm interested in studying gender.  More specifically, I am interested in studying gender and modern politics in the US (women's rates of participation, the War on Women, what lessons can be learned from the 2008 election and the reactions to Clinton and Palin), as well as reproductive rights in the US (which crosses over with the political aspect, but also from a legal standpoint), and I am also interested in comparative perspectives (women's participation in the upheaval in the middle east, their participation in nation building/re-building, understanding Islamic feminists).  Given all that, I'm not sure where to apply.


I've looked into the following schools:

U Wisc

UC Santa Barbara

UC Berkeley




U Mass-Amherst

UT Austin




U Mich


I'm thinking of applying to:



UT Austin

U Wisc

UC Santa Barbara


I did a lot of research and tried to figure out which schools had good matches in terms of faculty and/or good overall programs/schools with significant resources.


Have I missed any schools that I should look into?  Are any of the ones I'm interested in bad choices for non-obvious reasons?  I'd like to limit my list to fewer than 8 schools, preferably 4-6.


For reference, I already have a professional degree and have been out of school for five years.  I just took the GRE and got a 170V/159Q.  In professional school (a top 30 school), I was in the top 5% of my class.  And, I have a few (non-soc) journal articles to my name.



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