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should I make a left toin at Albukoykee?


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So I keep looking at the USNEWS top grad programs, can't decide on where I want to apply, and I hope to get some insight from here.

I want to do a Ph.D. in Sociology, I want to research Diasporas and Transnationalism, specifically Social \ Welfare structure and economic stratification. if I had to write dissertations today, it would be check how financial status effects Jewish identity and practice among Secular and Non-Orthodox Jews. 
I don't know of any current researcher that would be interesting to work with. about the ethnic social system I know of a book written by two Prof. from UCLA, but they are in the Social Welfare department. and I'm less keen on the welfare perspective. 

Now, given that I don't have specific Professors I would like to work with, I have no clue where I should go. I'm interested in Demography so I though UPenn. except that Princeton, New York, and Columbia, but for no good reason except them being in the top 20 in different places. The thing is that I don't know about my chances of getting in, I'm not that familiar with the workings of the American University systems. 

I'm 31 years old (which somehow old), I've got a BA in Jewish History from the Israeli Open University, and by the end of this year would also have a BEd in Non-Formal Education from an Israeli College, and an MA from the Hebrew University in Current Jewish studies. My MA thesis is about Israeli Immigration encouragement policies and their effect on immigration from the US. I don't know how MA thesis goes in the states, but it an actual Inter-disciplinary research that I hope to get a few paper published from it.

Except that I have some experience in research, I was a policy researcher for a local NGO, I got one study published in a book, and the rest were 'internal' stuff or policy paper that were sent to politicians and such. I have also worked for a year for a local News site startup that went belly-up before it went online. except that most of last ten years I've been an educator, and education director and worked with different kinds of youth, at risk from Israel and American university students.

The main problem I guess (except not knowing where to apply) is that my GRE ain't that great v:162 q:156. I was sick at the day, and I can take it again, but its damn expensive - like half month's rent, and you know renting is my favorite indoor activity. should I?

I think I can get two good recommendation letter, and one less good one.


What should I do? do I have a chance at those schools? should I apply to other schools? do the GRE again? are there any other universities that I should check out and might have interesting people to work with? should I grow a mustache? 

any advice would be appreciated.

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