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scrocks12scrocks12 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
edited December 2012 in Graduate School
Hi everyone!

I am an international student and I'm applying to PhD programs in Political Science.
I've just got my GRE results: 151 V 148 Q 3.5 AW I'm really disappointed, I thought I did my test better.

My other credentials are:

Undergraduate GPA: 3.9; Graduate GPA: 3.95.
Full time merit scholarships for my undergraduate and graduate studies; received bachelor's degree CUM LAUDE; special award and grant as one of the best graduate students at the faculty of Political Science upon completion of my Master's.
Study Abroad Experience in California plus a scholarship from my University
TOEFL ibt: 112
Research experience: we do not have TA/RA positions in my country unless you are a PhD student, so my "research experience" is: three independent research projects at the Uni in California; research for my Master's thesis;
Work/Internship experience: an internship in California related to my field of studies and research interests ( I worked on a political/environmental project in an NGO)

How bad do you think my GRE scores are? I can't retake the test unfortunately. Do you think they are just too too low compared to the scores of the applicants from the U.S. and I should give up and don't apply to any school at all?

Post edited by scrocks12 on

Replies to: PhD and LOW GRE!! HELP

  • seraphzseraphz Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    Yeah sorry man, at least GRE Q gotta be 160++
  • newmitgradnewmitgrad Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    Unfortunately, yes. :( I wish I could give you better news but that's way too low.
  • ElocinElocin Registered User Posts: 97 Junior Member
    From one person who did about the same on their GRE and I'm a US applicant. I have terrible testing anxiety, and standardized tests amplify that threefold. I got a 950 cumulative combined the first time and only managed to get it up to 1100 with studying. I'm not sure how it differs being an international student, but as a domestic, I'm still applying. My Quant score is a 149 for life sciences and I'm still trying for schools like Northwestern and UW-Madison in hopes that they will take me in. Granted, I'm also applying to other, lower tier schools to cast a wider net.

    With that said, I would still try applying anyway. If you can retake them, do so, but everything else looks pretty good on your application. I would consider a range of top to lower tier schools. It may keep you out of a top 10 Poli Sci program, but you never know unless you try. Grad schools look at the whole application. I mean, you have a very good GPA and experience. The only thing that looks deficient is your GRE scores.

    It may be extra competitive being an international student, and that's the only thing I can think of that would make it more difficult for you compared to a domestic student.
  • 19Azar119Azar1 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Are you by any chance from Italy? ( I thought you might because you said you graduated Cum Laude...if you aren't, sorry:))
    Anyway, I am an international student, too, and when I first took a practice test I had REALLY low scores. By practicing I was able to improve to V165 and Q159, which is tolerable. If you want I can send you the material I used.
  • seraphzseraphz Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    I've heard that GRE is mainly used to weed out applications.. Is it unfair to use standardized testing for kicking out people without further consideration? Definitely. But maybe you should try retaking it and ask for time extension..
  • scrocks12scrocks12 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Thank you guys for all your comments! yeah the situation is really bad and frustrating :(

    At this point though I don't have time to retake the test because the deadlines are approaching plus I only have a paper based test in my city so it takes a month to get the results :( And my graduation is also in two weeks and my master's thesis is just driving me crazy.

    I was going to give up but I think after all these months spent to prepare my applications I have to do all this till the end (I will waste lots of money, but whatever). I know that my chances now are zero, but maybe I will be lucky and some of those programs will not weed me out just because of my GRE. And if the will, I'll try another year or get a PhD somewhere in Europe ( no GRE here :) )

    19Azar1: yes, I am from Italy! :)
  • ElocinElocin Registered User Posts: 97 Junior Member
    Maybe that's for international applicants, where it's even more competitive for positions, but not all schools are always numbers based. The GRE is the least important part of the application. If everything else in the application is exceptional, even a good program can overlook less than stellar GRE scores. I think some places at least realize that standardized tests are not always an indicator of success in graduate school, but they're a necessity to take. A friend of mine got into the #2 ranked graduate program in her specialty, and a top school overall, and did so with very mediocre GRE scores (everything else in her application was outstanding, however).

    But, the great thing about the GRE is that if you are unhappy with your scores, you can always retake them. If you're not happy with them, OP, I would retake them if given the chance. Otherwise, like I said before, it doesn't hurt to put out a few applications. If you do, put emphasis on your strengths, because everything else in your application looks great.
  • newmitgradnewmitgrad Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    The problem is, as seraphz mentioned, that GRE scores are often used as a filter; if you don't meet the internal minimum threshold, the app is simply tossed out. Does that mean you're a bad applicant? No, of course not, and the rest of the OP's app seems great. Unfortunately, grad committees don't have the time to review every single app. This is one way that they use to disgard some.
  • 19Azar119Azar1 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Can't you sign up and take the computer based test in Milan? The computer based quantitative part is adaptive, so you could improve a lot you Q score, I believe. And AWA, which I think is quite important in your field (but I might be wrong) can be easily improved with a little excercise. If I were you, and if even only a few of your schools have deadlines in January, I would retake!

    ps: I am applying from Italy, as well, even though I now live in Germany. It's soooo time consuming!!!
  • scrocks12scrocks12 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Thank you guys!

    Newmitgrad: yes, unfortunately (for me) that's how it generally works and I'm risking a lot at this point :(

    I've emailed the schools asking if they would give me some time extension for GRE and I'm still waiting to hear back from them (the deadlines are on December 5!!!!) If they agree I'll schedule another test in Milan on the next available date, which is December 5 as well! Hopefully if I retake the test I'll get better scores :)

    19Azar1: that's exciting! which programs are you applying to? :) I know it takes so much time to prepare all these applications. I can't wait the application process is over!
  • 19Azar119Azar1 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member

    I am applying for 10 psychology/neuroscience programs. Some of them are really good, some aren't...but the more I browse forums, the more I feel like I am just waisting a lot of money and time:) oh well, at least I won't regret not giving it a try... I finished my applications today (most of my deadlines are on the 1st) and on the one hand I feel better, but on the other I know I am now in a limbo which will strech out for who knows how long...
    Have you also applied for the Fullbright?
  • scrocks12scrocks12 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member

    Same here!

    Applying to 7 programs in Pol Sci, but feeling less confident that I'll get in somewhere day by day (especially after GRE results came out), BUT you are right it's worth it giving and try and who knows what happens :)

    Nope, I haven't because I've been living in Italy for many years but I'm not a citizen. I've been trying to apply to the program in my country of citizenship (Russia) BUT it's kinda hard for me because I haven't studied there and I'm not living there anymore, so for now I don't have any external funding, which makes things even worse. What about you?

    P.s. which material did you use for GRE?
  • scrocks12scrocks12 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    apparently some schools are available to give me some extension time so I am retaking the test: i have a question for you guys: i have already sent the official scores of the last test; how does it work if I retake the test and send these new scores? will the former scores be "cancelled" from my application form?

    Thank you guys!
  • 19Azar119Azar1 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    A bunch of stuff... is there any way you can give me you email, so I can send it to you?
  • Cassandra108Cassandra108 Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
    They have a feature now (Score Select) where you select which score you want to send.
This discussion has been closed.