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one more low scorer on the gres w/ other strengths

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 12:34 pm
by senatez
So, like many others, I did poorly on the physics GRE. I expected to do higher and I am now applying to schools which I probably cannot get into. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time asking for top notch recommendations to these universities before I knew my scores. I have solid research experience at my university and NASA's JPL with one publication. My GPA is 3.8 from GaTech. SAT quantative is 800 (94%). GRE physics is 680 (55%). What should I do? If I do apply, should I address my score in my personal statement?

Here are the schools I am applying:

Physics (experimental):
U Mich

Materials Science:
UC Santa Barbera

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 9:02 pm
by invidia
Well, I'm in the same situation as you, except my GPA isn't all that great and I have very high strengths in other places. From what I was told, is that some schools filter out their applications of those who don't meet a certain minimum requirement.

For an example, people have told me that my application will not even be looked at because it doesn't meet some schools' min GPA requirement. Even if I explain it in my personal statement, have other strengths, etc.

For a low physics GRE score, I don't think there's much to explain and most of it would sound like excuses. But it's worth a shot. I don't think anyone is 100% sure how each school does their applications, so putting a valid and good reason why you did poorly on your physics GRE may be helpful.

I wouldn't bother

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:38 am
by scaredypants
First of all, let me say something that is widely known but for some reason isn't mentioned much on this site. American students have a vastly different experience with the physics GRE than international students. There are a multitude of reasons for this, however, admissions committees know this and have different standards for international students vs. American students. With that being said, a 55% isn't a poor score really.

Okay, the real reason that I wouldn't bother putting it into a personal statement is that it won't matter. If they actually read your personal statement, you've already got a good enough score for them to be reading your personal statment. Having been a graduate student now for a few years, I know the unimaginable torture it is to grade papers. I can only imagine the hellish tedium of reading 50 personal statements, let alone the 300+ it would be if they didn't prescreen with GRE scores and GPA's.

Try to keep that in mind when you write your personal statements, a lot of times less is more.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 4:05 am
by somebody
yeah I agree, you should use your personal statemenet to express what you will do with the oppurtunities they give you, focus more on what you want to do, rather than what you have done...doesn't do you any good to draw attention to the "holes" on your application when you have alot of positive things to say about yourself

we'll see

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:26 am
by senatez
Alright, thanks. I have written up an ok personal statement focusing on work I have done and would like to continue doing. I will continue refining it and looking into all of my options. Thanks for the help. Hopefully my grades can reflect my academic abilities more than the GRE.

Best of luck to you, I hope you get in!

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:16 am
by scaredypants
I wish you the best.

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:29 am
by rjharris
editted : put the post on the wrong damn thread