PGRE 780!!! help...

kaluza-klein
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:23 am

PGRE 780!!! help...

Postby kaluza-klein » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:32 am

Got a PGRE score of 780(67 percentile)... dang!!! :(
My general GRE scores are
Verbal: 157 (74 percentile)
Quant: 170 (98 percentile)
AWA: 4.5 (80 percentile)

I have around 16 months research experience... my undergrad GPA is 4.0(US equivalent) and master's GPA is 3.8(US equivalent)... my letters of recommendation are pretty strong and two of them are from people i have done research with.

Can anyone suggest whether applying to UChicago for a graduate program in String Theory would be feasible with my low PGRE score? Saw on their website that their average PGRE acceptance scores last year was 840... Thanks for your help!!! :)

Cho'bal
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:23 am

Re: PGRE 780!!! help...

Postby Cho'bal » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:31 am

I'm not sure what you mean by feasible. You sure have an otherwise strong profile, and although your PGRE is somewhat low for a hepth applicant, it's not so terrible. Since you don't have the option to retake the test anymore, you should just apply and see what the admission committee thinks. The only downside of applying is the fee, but with your stats it's definitely worth a shot.

slowdweller
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:47 am

Re: PGRE 780!!! help...

Postby slowdweller » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:02 pm

Unfortunately, looking at the small amount of available statistics, it does seem that the PGRE is a gatekeeper for international students: UT Austin lists their average PGRE score for domestic applicants to be 777 while for internationals, it's 907. Similarly, Colorado-Boulder's averages are 817 and 930 respectively.

I've heard they particularly expect higher scores from Indian and Chinese applicants for some reason (990's seem to be in abundance at those places). Do you happen to be from one of those countries?

So in conclusion a 780 would certainly harm your overall application, and I would imagine admission to a top 30 program would be difficult unless everything else is extremely strong (which it does seem to be from what you say), and even then a long-shot, since they are in no shortage of applicants who are strong in every area, particularly hep-th applicants.

See this quora thread (in particular Jay Wacker's answer):

http://www.quora.com/Graduate-Record-Ex ... -in-the-US

McLovin
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:28 am

Re: PGRE 780!!! help...

Postby McLovin » Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:27 pm

Although it is possible to get accepted with less than the average PGRE (you can take a look at my profile, for example), from what I see, if you want to do HEP-th at a top 20 school you should have 990.

tsymmetry
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:59 pm

Re: PGRE 780!!! help...

Postby tsymmetry » Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:43 pm

Chicago does not put very much weight on the PGRE which is why you will see a lot of 990s being rejected and people with lower scores getting in. What they care about the most by far are letters, research, and coursework.

I was accepted to UChicago last year with a PGRE slightly lower than yours for condensed matter theory and I was also offered a fancy fellowship. My research experience (includes a first author PRL) and letters helped make up for the poor PGRE. I am domestic though. I also have a friend who was also accepted to HET at Chicago who had what he described as a low PGRE (we are both at a different institution now). He's wicked smart so they obviously saw hat despite the PGRE.

Another interesting thing I heard from a professor when I went to the open house at Chicago was that they actually said they plotted the grades professors gave to applicants versus their PGRE and saw pretty much no correlation.

Catria
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: PGRE 780!!! help...

Postby Catria » Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:32 am

tsymmetry wrote:Chicago does not put very much weight on the PGRE which is why you will see a lot of 990s being rejected and people with lower scores getting in. What they care about the most by far are letters, research, and coursework.

I was accepted to UChicago last year with a PGRE slightly lower than yours for condensed matter theory and I was also offered a fancy fellowship. My research experience (includes a first author PRL) and letters helped make up for the poor PGRE. I am domestic though. I also have a friend who was also accepted to HET at Chicago who had what he described as a low PGRE (we are both at a different institution now). He's wicked smart so they obviously saw hat despite the PGRE.

Another interesting thing I heard from a professor when I went to the open house at Chicago was that they actually said they plotted the grades professors gave to applicants versus their PGRE and saw pretty much no correlation.


jigsaw wrote:"Since we will have an entirely new Admissions Committee for 2014-15, you may fare better on your next try." -- UChicago (2013)


But you have to remember that UChicago had a new admissions committee in place last year; the old admissions committee could have acted differently.

tsymmetry
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:59 pm

Re: PGRE 780!!! help...

Postby tsymmetry » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:27 pm

Well for people applying this year the old admissions committee is irrelevant. It seems like a lot of schools are moving away from quals and not considering the PGRE as strongly as they used to. People here often say that you need to have near perfect scores for schools like Stanford and Chicago especially as a theorist, but I was admitted to both of them with my PGRE. It have a suspicion that it may have kept me out of MIT and Princeton but I got my top choice and places that were better fits.

In summary, you can get admitted to top 10 or even top 5 schools with a not as good PGRE (when I say this I still mean above 700), but you need to have something that makes you really stand out. Not just good letters and research, they need to be really outstanding. Most of the students who get into these schools have very impressivr undergrad research.

Catria
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: PGRE 780!!! help...

Postby Catria » Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:29 pm

tsymmetry wrote:Well for people applying this year the old admissions committee is irrelevant. It seems like a lot of schools are moving away from quals and not considering the PGRE as strongly as they used to. People here often say that you need to have near perfect scores for schools like Stanford and Chicago especially as a theorist, but I was admitted to both of them with my PGRE. It have a suspicion that it may have kept me out of MIT and Princeton but I got my top choice and places that were better fits.

In summary, you can get admitted to top 10 or even top 5 schools with a not as good PGRE (when I say this I still mean above 700), but you need to have something that makes you really stand out. Not just good letters and research, they need to be really outstanding. Most of the students who get into these schools have very impressivr undergrad research.


Anyone have an idea as to how the astro dept at UChicago do their admissions business? Because, yes, I applied to UChicago but at the astro dept (same goes for Princeton, these were my choices among the top-10); what you just said was true of the physics dept.

tsymmetry
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:59 pm

Re: PGRE 780!!! help...

Postby tsymmetry » Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:10 am

I have a friend who is a first year in astro at UChicago. He had great research experience and worked on the dark energy survey (headquarters are at Fermilab) since at least the summer before junior year. I assume his grades were really good.

uhurulol
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:38 am

Re: PGRE 780!!! help...

Postby uhurulol » Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:19 pm

Your profile seems very strong aside from your PGRE (which is still not bad!). As others have said above, the PGRE, in recent years, seems to have fallen lower on the list of important application items. If you have strong letters (arguably the most important component) and can write an excellent SOP, I am sure you will find a school that meets your needs. I would apply to every school you're interested in, and make sure you have a couple safeties you're o.k. with.

I'm also curious about your nationality... someone said above that Indian/Chinese international applicants are often scrutinized a bit harder, and I also believe this is this case.

Best of luck on your apps!




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