Terrible GRE/PGRE score but high GPA from a top school

sydfloyd
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 7:45 pm

Terrible GRE/PGRE score but high GPA from a top school

Postby sydfloyd » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:43 am

Hi, all. I have a ~3.9 GPA from a top school where I did research for a whole year and also completed a senior thesis. After I graduated, I moved back to my hometown and joined a research group at a nearby university where I will be doing research work for a year.

I'm applying for graduate school this year, but I am discouraged to do so after receiving my GRE/PGRE scores. My PGRE score is 750 (64%) and my analytical writing score is 2.5 (4%) which will surely hurt my chances. I am able to get some strong letters of recommendation from 3 professors (two professors have connections at top schools) that I have done research with which will certainly help my chances.

I was planning to apply to the top 10/20 schools but now I'm considering not applying at all this year. I'm thinking about taking another year off to retake the GRE/PGRE and apply next year. I was also thinking that I could just apply this year and again next year after retaking the GRE/PGRE, but money might be a big issue since I was planning to apply to quite a few schools.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

TheBeast
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Re: Terrible GRE/PGRE score but high GPA from a top school

Postby TheBeast » Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:46 am

If you were a student at a top school, perhaps you can leverage your former supervisors' contacts. If they have connections to other top schools, they might be able to get you in touch with their contacts elsewhere. Talk to those other profs and try to make a good impression. This means that come application time, those contacts will be looking out for your application, regardless of your weak test scores.

bfollinprm
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Re: Terrible GRE/PGRE score but high GPA from a top school

Postby bfollinprm » Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:55 pm

Did you publish?

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grae313
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Re: Terrible GRE/PGRE score but high GPA from a top school

Postby grae313 » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:34 pm

I agree with TheBeast in that you should see if you can have your professors contact people at other schools. I would personally apply this year regardless. If money is an issue then just pick a few of your favorite schools, and pay special attention to schools that are stronger in your area of interest than their overall rankings might reflect. By doing this a) you'll get practice applying to graduate school and if things don't go your way this year, you'll be very prepared for applying next year and b) you might get some offers that are appealing to you, then you'll have the chance to visit some schools. You may really like a program when you visit and decide you'd be perfectly happy and productive there even though it's not what you had previously considered your "dream school." Or you might realize that it lacks certain qualities that you're looking for and you'll be in a better position to make good decisions for where to apply and where to go next year.

sydfloyd
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 7:45 pm

Re: Terrible GRE/PGRE score but high GPA from a top school

Postby sydfloyd » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:55 pm

Thanks for all the input so far!

TheBeast:
My current supervisor has contacted some of the professors he knows to look out for my application. I could contact some of the other professors at the schools I'm applying to and ask them about their graduate program and research that I'm interested in. I'm not sure what else I could talk to them about.

bfollinprm:
No, I haven't published. My current research is working towards a publication which will probably take a while.

grae313:
I'm currently revising my list of schools that I'm applying to. My top choices right now are Columbia (I'm VERY interested in the HEP experiments that are currently being worked on there) and UPenn. My current supervisor has contacted some of the professors at these school and I'm hoping that may help.

bfollinprm
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Re: Terrible GRE/PGRE score but high GPA from a top school

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:05 am

I certainly think you have a shot. The reason I asked about the publication was then the PGRE score probably wouldn't matter so much. Regardless, if your letter writers speak well about your research experience, you should be fine. Admission to top 10 schools is never guaranteed though...

AriAstronomer
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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: Terrible GRE/PGRE score but high GPA from a top school

Postby AriAstronomer » Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:41 am

Interesting, I always keep hearing new stories about how much grad schools care about PGRE. I originally thought that there was no point in applying to top grad schools with less than a 900, then I was told that the PGRE is a huge scam and as long as you get above 750 or so then you have a great chance of your application being taken seriously at least (all else being equal), now I'm getting the impression again that it does strengthen your application to get 900 vs. 800?

I'm in essentially a similar boat as the creator of this thread, i got 800 on my PGRE, no publications, but I'm not even from a top school haha, I'm from Canada (yes you hicks, we do have running water). Outside chance it seems to still get into a top school, but I'd definitely have a few safety schools/medium schools lined up too.

Actually that's another thing I was wondering....does Canada get treated as international (i.e. same as people from Asia and Europe), or has America considered us equals yet?

Ari

DanMarcy
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Re: Terrible GRE/PGRE score but high GPA from a top school

Postby DanMarcy » Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:48 pm

AriAstronomer wrote:Actually that's another thing I was wondering....does Canada get treated as international (i.e. same as people from Asia and Europe), or has America considered us equals yet?
Ari


Canadas are treated closer to international students than americans. If you're planning to apply to the top 10, you should have a bare minimum 900 score. Sucks, eh? Not too many schools up here have name brand recognition either. U of T, UBC, McGill and U de M are all pretty safe, though.

sydfloyd
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 7:45 pm

Re: Terrible GRE/PGRE score but high GPA from a top school

Postby sydfloyd » Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:45 am

bfollinprm wrote:Did you publish?

bfollinprm wrote:I certainly think you have a shot. The reason I asked about the publication was then the PGRE score probably wouldn't matter so much. Regardless, if your letter writers speak well about your research experience, you should be fine. Admission to top 10 schools is never guaranteed though...


Should I list internal notes/papers in the experiment that I have worked on in my applications? There is one internal note/paper that I only contributed to, one that I was a primary author on, and one in which I was the only author (my undergraduate thesis).

My current research is working towards a paper that should be in circulation for internal review in early 2012, but probably won't be published in a journal until summer of 2012. I'm not sure if this is also worth mentioning...

Thanks!

bfollinprm
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Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Terrible GRE/PGRE score but high GPA from a top school

Postby bfollinprm » Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:11 am

sydfloyd wrote:Should I list internal notes/papers in the experiment that I have worked on in my applications? There is one internal note/paper that I only contributed to, one that I was a primary author on, and one in which I was the only author (my undergraduate thesis).

My current research is working towards a paper that should be in circulation for internal review in early 2012, but probably won't be published in a journal until summer of 2012. I'm not sure if this is also worth mentioning...

Thanks!


Yes, and on your CV, if you have a working title.




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