Low GRE, complicated track record: worth it to apply to top schools?

blinkmiss
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:22 pm

Low GRE, complicated track record: worth it to apply to top schools?

Postby blinkmiss » Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:38 am

I am an international female recent grad from top 10 US undergrad program. My GPA is 3.6 but with strong upward trend, near 4.0 in last two years. Before that I had a gap due to health issues. I was hoping to have my PGRE offset my bad GPA, but somehow I couldn't bring myself to study for it all summer(no excuse, just hated the test), studied for about ten days and ended up with a 770. I have good research experience, with first author in prep and presentations and other author publication.

My top choices were Berkeley physics and Harvard applied physics. I will obviously add more safeties, but should I even bother applying to these anymore? I have tried very hard to maintain a perfect record since my health issues set me back and this is leaving me hopeless.

AlexisPrel
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:26 pm

Re: Low GRE, complicated track record: worth it to apply to top schools?

Postby AlexisPrel » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:33 am

I am by no mean an expert, but in a similar situation as you.

Although it looks easier to give up I would apply anyway.

What if they take you ? You get into your dream school. What if they don't ? You lose ca. 200$ in application fees and GRE score reporting. The bet is certainly worth it, and your record doesn't sound that bad at all.

LovePassion
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 5:05 pm

Re: Low GRE, complicated track record: worth it to apply to top schools?

Postby LovePassion » Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:15 pm

3.6 GPA is hardly bad, it shows you have attained mostly A- in your courses (depending on the grading scheme in your university), and you did so at a top tier school with an upward trend. The school will certainly take all of that into consideration. Plus you have good research experience with publications, perhaps you are vastly underestimating yourself? Do not fall into the 'impostor syndrome' before you even apply to the colleges. You are not the most competitive applicant, but a competitive applicant for your respective field nonetheless. All you need to do is convince one physicist of your choice that you will be a great fit and applicant into his or her area of research and your chances increase exponentially. I would apply to top tier universities but make sure to include some safety schools.

Not everything is about numbers, the personal essay you write will give you the opportunity to flesh out and to show your credentials, perseverance, potential, and ability. Finally, do not be so pessimistic, it will indirectly show in your personal essay.




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