TakeruK wrote:Maybe it was just random luck, but my ETS scores arrived at my schools within 2 business days, and in the non-academic world (i.e. ETS, post office etc.), there are plenty of business days between today and Jan 5! And in fact, some schools actually get the scores electronically from ETS, not via snail mail.
For example, in 2011, one program had a deadline of Dec 1. I wrote the Physics GRE on the November date (back then, the fall test dates were Oct & Nov, not Sept & Oct) so the scores were not available until Dec 11. I decided to apply to this Dec 1 school in late November, so they were not part of my 4 free scores. I wrote to the school to explain this and on Dec 11, I got my scores, ordered the Score Report from ETS and emailed the school to let them know that my scores are finally coming. The next day, the grad secretary emailed back to say that they will "download" the scores from ETS that evening and I should check my profile the next morning to see if my scores are there. Indeed, the next morning, my profile showed the correct scores, only 2 business days after sending them!
This email exchange (I just dug it out of the archives to make sure I remembered correctly) makes me think that in some cases, when you "order the score report", all you really are doing is paying $30 for ETS to allow the school in question to download a few digits! This makes the most sense to me (other than the blatant ripping off of students and schools) because it would be so much more work for everyone for ETS to mail the scores and then the schools to manually sort and physically attach paper reports to your files. However, when I brought this up to other people, they indicated that their email exchanges with their grad secretaries implied that physical paper copies are sent. So, perhaps this varies from school to school?
In any case, you might not have to rely on magic to get your scores to the school by Jan 5. Who needs magic when you have electrons?
astroprof wrote:Just to provide a little additional reassurance: we receive (and review!) late materials every year. Deadlines exist for a reason, but the stern warnings are mostly to ensure that the majority of the material is provided in a timely manner. On our end, it can take several days to organize the applications (either creating physical folders with the applications, transcripts, test scores, and letters assembled, or creating electronic documents with the physical material (transcripts and scores) scanned and sorted). Thus, if material arrives only a few days late, it will still be reviewed by the admissions committee during the first round.
Also, ETS does send us physical copies of the GRE score reports, but they also allow us electronic access before the physical copy arrives. If we are missing the physical copy at the time of the review of applications, we will look up the scores via the electronic access. So, yes, your scores should be available to the institution within about 2 business days, even if it takes longer for the physical copy to arrive.
As a final reassurance: most US schools are closed between Christmas and New Year's, so all of your transcripts, score reports, and any other physical aspect of your application are likely collecting dust in University mail rooms this week. That mail will be distributed to the departments on Monday, at which point someone in each department will open, sort (or scan), and record the receipt of scores/transcripts. So anything arriving prior to Jan 5 will be the equivalent of meeting a Dec 31/Jan 1 deadline.
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