TakeruK wrote:These dates are only approximate. I'll try to answer some of the questions to best of my knowledge and experience:
When will your scores be sent? I would interpret the ETS text as meaning, "they will be sent to your schools between November 28 and December 9". For the Additional Score Reports, I would interpret the ETS text as meaning "ASRs will be sent to your schools between Nov 28 and Dec 9, or 5 business days after you order them, whatever is later". (i.e. the "5 business days" text is supposed to refer to tests taken months ago, I think. For most places within the US, mail doesn't take very long, so mailing on Dec 9 might still arrive at your school on Dec 13.
Electronic vs. physically mailed scores: I think this depends on the school. Some schools receive their scores electronically, which means they might receive them pretty much right away (or on a designated day of the week). Other schools will get them by mail. Finally, each school operates differently internally---there will be a lag time between the school actually receiving the score, the score being entered into your record and the score being visible to your admissions committee. (But see note below)
Is Oct 29th test too late for Dec 15 (or earlier) deadlines? Not necessarily. The school doesn't "really" need the score until the admissions committee actually meets and decide, which is often not until January. My advice is for you to contact your schools that have deadlines of Dec 16 or earlier (Dec 9 + 7 days). Let them know about the ETS timelines as published on their websites and ask if this will be a problem. Be sure to emphasize that you will know your scores by the application deadline and will thus be able to enter said scores into the application, however, the official ETS reports might not come until after the deadline. I suspect that most schools will tell you not to worry. (Some schools might not even need the official ETS report until you are admitted).
Story/anecdote time. Here are two things that happened to be during my application cycle that might help:
In my year, the fall subject exam dates were mid-October and mid-November. I could not take the mid-October exam because I was on my honeymoon so I could only take the mid-November test. The approximate score mailing date was something like Dec 12 (test was Nov 10).
For one school, the deadline was Dec 1 for international students (January for domestic students) and I actually didn't decide to apply to this school until Nov 20 or so. I am an international student so I let them know that my score won't be available until after Dec 12. They said that this would be okay and the day after the score mailing date, the school informed me that they have received my scores.
For another school, I entered the wrong institution code in my ASR order and they didn't get my score. I used the code for the research institution that was tied to the department instead of the school's code. For admission consideration purposes, they told me that a scanned copy of my own score report is good enough and that they will only ask for me to pay for another ASR if they accepted me and I chose to take their offer (since they will need an official ETS report on file).
Thanks, I am also an international student and was wondering if you knew if the score reports are mailed from the ETS headquarters in the US, or will they be sent from the country I take the test in? Also, is the Physics GRE test in English for all testing locations?
For all the schools I've looked at with application deadlines around December 15th, from their graduate admissions FAQs it seems that they all accept GRE scores which arrive after the deadline, or specifically say taking the test in October is fine, or that supporting materials must arrive by some later deadline.
In case other people find it useful here is the info for different schools, taken from their Physics Graduate Admissions FAQ pages:
The exams must be taken no later than November to ensure scores are received in a timely manner for review.
If you take the GRE in November, your application will be processed after the scores are sent electronically to Stanford.
Applications will not be considered complete and will not be reviewed until all materials have been received. However, candidates are encouraged to submit the written application, statement of objectives, and financial information by December 15 for September admission. In some cases, test scores and/or letters of recommendation may arrive after these deadlines. In these cases, applications will be reviewed as they are completed.
GRE scores are usually available to us electronically approximately two weeks after the test date, provided Caltech has been listed as an official recipient of the score report. All applications, whether complete or not, will be reviewed by the Committee before final decisions are made.
The GREs must be taken no later than November in order for your scores to be considered by the admissions committee.
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) officially requires GRE scores as part of a complete application. However, the physics department is willing to receive scores late if a candidate cannot ensure that the scores will arrive by the deadline. In the meantime, please indicate the dates that you took the GRE tests on the application form and fill in all the scores you have now, leaving the remaining fields blank.
To meet the December 15 deadline, all applicants should take the General GRE, the GRE-Subject Test in Physics (and TOEFL, if applicable) no later than October 2016. The latest acceptable GRE-Subject Test in Physics is October 2016. The Department is aware that ETS score reports for examinations taken in October may arrive after the Dec. 15 deadline.
Scores are due by the December 15 application deadline. If you are not able to self-report your unofficial scores on the application before the deadline, please email a copy of your unofficial score report to firstname.lastname@example.org , as soon as you receive it. All official scores must be received by the first of January. Please do not wait until December to take these exams.
You must take the GRE Physics Subject Test on or before the October test. There is no longer a November subject test. Please take the General Test as early as possible.
If you take the GRE in early December, we will not receive your official scores by the application deadline. Provided the rest of your application (including the application fee) is complete and received by the deadline of December 15, we will grant a two week extension to allow for receipt of your GRE scores from Educational Testing Service (ETS). However, please keep in mind that we will begin to review complete applications beginning December 15.
We ask that scores are submitted before the December 15th deadline. However, as long as they arrive before January 1st, the admissions committee will be able to review your application.
UC San Diego:
The GRE examinations must be taken no later than October in order for the scores to be considered by the Admissions Committee.
Deadline to submit application is December 15. Scores and letters should reach us by the first week in January.
To allow sufficient time for the reporting of the scores, applicants should take the GRE exam no later than October.
It is in the applicant’s best interest to schedule for exams far in advance of the application deadline so that score reports arrive by deadline. Although we do accept late score reports, please bear in mind that only a limited number of admission offers will be made and that successful applications are selected on a very competitive basis. We begin making admission decisions on complete applications immediately after the application deadline.
Applications must be submitted online through the graduate school web site before the physics department deadline which is December 15 of each year for next years Fall admission. The departmental deadline to receive all the materials, including the letters of recommendation is December 31.
Fall International Application Deadline:
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Recommendation letters and all supporting documents due January 1, 2016.