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Found 58 results

  1. Hi, everyone! I wanted to go ahead and get this thread started. An interview for the history of sociology and science (HSS) at UPenn has been posted on the results board, and another user was recently contacted by a professor at Penn State with positive feedback about his application. Congrats to both! If the admission committees are on the same timeline as last year, it's possible that we'll hear back from the University of Virginia and Rice very soon. Feel free to share results and discuss as more decisions are sent out.
  2. I'm strongly considering the University of Minnesota (fully-funded offer, good fit, cool city, excellent resources, e.g. Minnesota Population Center, etc.) According to different ranking systems (USWNR, Princeton), they're consistently in the top 20-25 and have a 94% placement record. I also came across this PhD pipeline report from Cornell: https://blogs.cornell.edu/facultydevelopment/files/2016/01/Sociology-Pipeline-Report-1jh8i9h.pdf Btw, what are "pipeline calculations" exactly? Universities that are given first/priority considerations when hiring new faculty? Basically, I'm looking for v general input: -from anyone who goes here on what they like/dislike about the program - department prestige (likelihood of securing a faculty position after graduating) - Minneapolis as a place to spend the next 5 years - anything anyone thinks that can be critical intel in this decision-making process (considering one other school in NYC)
  3. Hey, so I've finally heard back from my schools and I'm trying to decide which soc phd program to go to in the fall and I've narrowed it down to three: Princeton, NYU, and Columbia. I don't know what my stipend would be for Princeton yet, but I've been offered around the same for NYU and Columbia (30K ish)...however NYU offers paid teaching positions, whereas Columbia has teaching requirements(about 15 hr/ week) but teaching is unpaid. In terms of programs, I am interested in cultural and computational sociology and it seems like all three programs have the resources/faculty in those areas. I have some extra considerations because I am a single mom of an infant...so the idea of unpaid teaching time seems logistically and financially troublesome, making NYU appealing....but I went to NYU for undergrad and I know there's kind of a stigma against going to the same grad and undergrad. Any thoughts on these programs? How important it is to go to a different school for grad than you went to for undergrad? Also, any single parent students out there with advice/comments?
  4. Hi! I got admitted into the Ph.D. program at Albany, but I am waitlisted for funding. I am invited to attend the visit day, but as an international applicant, the air ticket is pretty costly. Currently, I think I would definitely go there if I get off the waitlist. I am thinking about whether it will do some help for me to get a funding offer if I attend the visit day and leave the faculty with a good impression. Any suggestions on that?
  5. Now that I've received my first offer and funding package (with hopes more will roll in), I'm wondering - is it standard to negotiate offers? Stipend amounts? Teaching loads? How does this work, and what is the standard protocol? I know that a friend of mine last year was accepted to UCLA's PhD program in Sociology, and then Yale afterwards, so he told UCLA he was accepted to Yale and was considering going there over UCLA - and they (UCLA) offered him more money. But that's my only knowledge with "negotiating" these types of things. Any solid info or opinions would be appreciated. Also, if you know of any resources, that'd help, too. Thanks.
  6. Hey folks, I'm trying to choose whether to go to NYU or UC Berkeley for a PhD in Sociology. (I'm applying for Fall 2017 and I'm pretty confident I'll get into both.) My interests are labor, social movements, and comparative-historical sociology. There are good Marxist profs at both places that I'd want to work with, so the "fit" in that sense is similar. I realize that UCB has a higher ranking and that this prestige will presumably make me more likely to find a job eventually. But for personal reasons I'd much rather be in NYC for the next period in my life. Also, NYU's funding is amazing, they've had good placements in recent years, and many people say that the department will be in the top 10 soon. So I'm trying to figure out whether I would be making a mistake by (as I'm currently inclining to do) going to NYU over #1-ranked Berkeley. Any advice would be much appreciated!
  7. So, I'm getting started on budgeting my time before I apply in the fall for the 2018 application season. I have a capstone project that I feel with heavy editing could be a potential publication, however I wrote the material at the end of 2015, so there would be a large time investment in trying to get the research paper up to publication standards. My cumulative GPA is only a 2.7 because of some mistakes that I made when I was younger, I estimate that my departmental GPA is anywhere from 3.5-3.7. Is it worth it to invest several months in trying to get published before submitting my applications or should I focus on my SOP's and personal statements. I already plan on dedicating six months to the GRE. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
  8. So we've all applied and little debates about which programs are best for types of research methods or theory or culture have popped up on other threads. I am interested in what everyone is looking to study and what programs they view as being the best fit for their research interests. It'll be a better place for the back and forth too since now we can get some nuanced opinions from what others see as programs strengths/weaknesses that we didn't see (so if I applied to one or didn't apply to one that you think//know would have been a stronger fit...). Given that sociology is such a diverse field I am sure we will see a lot of nuance in our answers. I research poverty, inequality, and class in the United States- focusing on policy initiatives and the consequences that these have for individuals- particularly with a rural/urban contrast. I view my strongest fits as Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and Washington State- all have strong branches of their programs that focus on poverty (Johns Hopkins has the PSI, Stanford has the Center for Poverty and Inequality, and Washington's program has a concentration in social inequalities). I applied to 13 programs in total, all have people who study facets of inequality that I am interested in, but the overall programs were not always the best fit. Thoughts on mine? And what about all of your interests and choices?
  9. Hi I am an international undergraduate, and been applying to Sociology graduate programs (both MA and PhD). One of the programs I am applying to, Oxford University (MSc in Sociology) allows its applicants to choose whether or not to submit their GRE scores. My best GRE score is V: 153 Q: 157 AWA: not yet graded. I know people use this forum mostly for North-American schools, but generally speaking, should I submit my scores? Its not a top-notch score but just wondering. For your information, I usually average around 4.5 for the AWA. Thanks!
  10. Currently, many graduate programs seem to be shifting to a more methods-intensive course of study. While I understand the importance of methods, I am really interested in programs that more equally balanced or more theory-intensive. Any knowledge of programs like this would be extremely helpful.
  11. Hi All! Just stumbled on this site and it looks like there is a good core of sociologists from all over! I'm about to go into my final year of my undergraduate and I'm looking to be doing something very special and a bit challenging for my dissertation that will give me a good strong ground for getting further research funding and getting onto an MSc/PHd course in the future. Currently my focus is very towards young people in Scotland from a looked after background and how they are supported by local governance to progress onto their own independent living with anything close to a decent chance in their future. There are some quantitative sources that are around giving a general overview of some stats related to young people in education, employment, health, and housing, but there doesn't seem to be anything anywhere that is even close to a useful qualitative account of young peoples experiences of the care system other than that which has been undertaken by a few small Scottish charities. so basically is my whole point of this is has anyone came across a useful/interesting qualitative piece of research relating to young people in care (in Scotland or worldwide) as a starting point for me to discover at least a couple of failed angles that haven't really been followed up on before. My massive worry is that i am about to start a research proposal for my dissertation and lose total focus and end up challenging the whole social work system in Scotland utterly by mistake and lack of prior research in the field. any help/advice/links/references would be really appreciated! (and yes public sociology is a full degree in Scotland) Steve
  12. So this is more of a hunch or a question regarding how the admissions process works for sociology. So I've noticed, as have most of you that the Sociology Master's program is growing less and less frequent in the United States. More often than not now, maybe for funding issues or as a way to try to keep students at their current university, schools are doing away with offering a Master's degree in Sociology, in favor of the "masters on the way to your PhD." That being said, I've noticed a lot while browsing some of the better schools, that quite a few of the current students or admits have a master's degree from a different university already. So this has me wondering whether, despite the fact that they say you don't need a Master's degree to apply, if there is some kind of unspoken rule or pattern that favors the students who already have their masters. Now I realize that obviously most of the time, these students are more qualified than students who just have their bachelor's degree. They have more years of research experience typically; they often have a clearer idea of what they would like to study; and they have a master's level thesis to send in as their writing sample. So I guess my question is, with the breakdown/deconstruction of the separate master's program, how are schools making sure that each candidate is looked at fairly, or are they not? Does anyone else think this has the potential to create problems for students without Master's degrees, as fewer and fewer respected and ranked universities are offering terminal MA degrees?
  13. Hey guys, I'm looking for some general information as I know nothing about grad school applications. I'm interested in doing a Ph.D in sociology or political science (I've taken plenty of courses in each, though my B.A. will be in public policy) and I'm wondering how competitive admissions are to top schools like HYP and Columbia for a student that graduates magna cum laude (3.7ish) from a top-15 liberal arts college. If GRE scores are important, assume the equivalent of around a 2100 SAT. Thanks!
  14. Hi I am an international student majoring in Sociology. Currently a senior and will be graduating next march. So I am planning on moving to graduate school to study Sociology. I have been applying to several UK schools and will be applying for North American schools (USA and Canada) in the next two months. I am indeed worried my application but my biggest concern at the moment might be my quant background. I did somewhat pretty well GPA wise in undergrad (Overall: around 3.85 Sociology:3.9-ish). However, the problem is, I have not taken any statistics nor quantitative courses. I did cover quantitative material in "Approaches to Sociological Research" and "Principles of Sociology" (basically introductory courses) but that is about it. I have not taken any courses which focuses on statistics nor quantitative methods. Looking through graduate schools, most of the program descriptions have something like, "Applicants are also expected to have acquired basic research and statistical skills" (U of Toronto). I am aware that, most likely, I will be required to take an undergraduate statistics course if I do get admitted. But would my inexperience in statistics hurt my admission chances? How much are they expecting? FYI these are the schools I will be applying for: NYU (PhD: top choice), Harvard (PhD), Yale (PhD), Toronto (MA), McGill (MA). Yes, these are difficult programs to get into. But I did receive an offer from a Masters sociology program in the UK; hence, I am testing my luck here. Thanks!
  15. I recently fell in love with a masters of HR program and the next deadline is January 27. This is the 2nd of 3; First one was on Nov. 14 (I just learned of the program, and was convinced to look into an HR earlier this month as I'm majoring in sociology and minoring in HR), the third is in late April. I would like to apply by Jan 27 but that is a month prior to the deadline of the sociology MS/MA programs I am currently looking at (March 1 and March 15). If I take the GRE on Dec 22 and again on Jan 12, will my scores arrive by the Jan 27 deadline? I initially planned to take the GRE on Dec 29 and Jan 27 but my interest in this MHR program has put me on a time crunch as far as the GRE is concerned. The average GRE score for last year's class was 304. I'm quite stressed due to the fact that I'm not great at standardize testing however but my GPA is near par with the program accepted average (3.44 me, 3.50 avg.), my LORs should be very good, and I have plenty of extracurricular work as I will have presented at 3 regional academic conferences by the time I graduate in May, I'm currently working with a professor on a grant-funded research project and I am a student-athlete and co-captain in cross county, indoor and outdoor track. I do not want to apply to the April deadline as I will need to make a decision on my March deadline schools and do want to risk waiting on a program I may not get into. I'm much more confident about the MS/MA sociology programs than I am the more competitive MHR program, although the MHR program is definitely my top choice. Thanks in advance!
  16. Hey does anyone want to review this SOP for me? Much obliged! My varied academic aptitudes professional backgrounds have prompted me to pursue advanced degrees in geography, is an ideal institution for my academic interests in political ecology, environmental governance, political economy, and ultimate goal of becoming a researcher and instructor within academia. Furthermore, the specializations of the department’s faculty and research centers align closely with my own, and provide opportunities for prospective collaborations. BLANK" applies approaches and frameworks from political ecology, but was informed by methods and theories of other adjacent social sciences and geographies. I am eager to continue expanding and refining my interests in new applied and theoretical knowledge domains as a doctoral student. The Department of Geography at the University of BLANKMy master’s thesis, " where the patterns I have observed and intellectual curiosities I have cultivated have found outlets for formulation and expression. As a master’s student in geography at "BLANK" University, I have had the opportunity for inter- and intra-disciplinary exploration, professional development, and scholarly personal growth. During my undergraduate career at the BLANK State University I became embedded in the social sciences and humanities, taking courses in history, economics, sociology, English, and philosophy. I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Geography and a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science, with minors in Philosophy and International Studies. I also pursued two years of coursework in French and became proficient in reading and composition. I joined the undergraduate geography club, philosophy club, and a more loosely organized philosophy and psychology discussion group called State of the Soul. At the 2013 Annual Association of Geographer’s meeting I presented a poster on my combined interests in geography and philosophy, which examined urban poorhouse distribution in the context of 19th century social Darwinist philosophies. I was keen to experience the theoretical perspectives and approaches of numerous disciplines, and it was in geography that I felt the most intellectually inspired and which seemed best situated to consider the issues of society and the environment that became the impetus for master’s project on environmental conflict. I was first exposed to research as an undergraduate student working on two separate projects. My first position was as a research assistant studying state level policy trends in reproductive rights using public opinion polls and dormant or active state legislation. My second position, working with the International Center for the Study of Terrorism, I collaborated with a large team of researchers from diverse backgrounds to examine the mechanisms of radicalization and recidivism in radical organizations. I gained invaluable experience coding qualitative data and interpreting results for policy proposals. These experiences as an undergraduate student introduced me to research methods and project management in the social sciences and prepared me to pursue projects in graduate school. on urban water resource management, focusing on urban water conservation obstacles in the utility sectors of cities in the western United States. As a graduate student researcher, I was able to take a more central role in administering the project and collecting data. For this position, I contacted research participants at public and private offices, assisted in mediating stakeholder meetings, helped in composing surveys, and conducted the review of theoretical and applied literature. This experience has also contributed significantly to my own research in political ecology on collaborative water governance in the Klamath River Basin. As a master’s student, I was employed in the department of geography as a research assistant working with Dr. BLANK My master’s thesis examines the mechanisms of collaboration and exclusion in environmental governance in the Klamath River Basin, which has become infamous for conflicts between fishers, tribes, farmers, and environmentalists. While this research project is situated within the critical political ecology and political economy of water governance, my broader intellectual project is to explore patterns and relationships in various regimes of environmental governance in rural area and small cities, using mixed methods of data collection and analysis. Themes that are of particular relevance to my project include formal and informal governance, scalar relationships, cultural expressions, and constructions of nature. How these different facets materialize and interact during perceived environmental crises, such as drought and species extinction, reveals not only potential paths forwards in environmental governance, but a glimpse into societies varied relations and connections with the non-human world. In addition to a political ecology/political economy perspective, I am interested in employing elements of New Materialism and other contemporary philosophical perspectives into my prospective dissertation. I am pursuing a doctoral dissertation that incorporates themes from political ecology and Science and Technology Studies to examine the spatialities, politics, management and perceptions of the disease commonly referred to as White Nose Syndrome (WNS), a cold loving fungi that effects hibernating bat populations. With the spread of mosquito borne diseases and the increasing attention to the biological treadmill of pesticide use in conventional farming, the loss of bats could likely result in serious health crises for human populations. While humans are indirectly vulnerable to WNS, we are unsure about the cause of its spread and we have been unable to identify it as a symptom of anthropogenic change or as an externality of capitalist production that has been symptomatic of many political ecology case studies. As a biological technician working for a private company collecting data on white nose and endangered bat species, I have an understanding of the management and mitigation practices for this disease and bats more generally. Data collection is primarily conducted by private companies, with different hiring standards than state or federal agencies, which affects the quality and type of data collected on this disease. During my work, I observed a difference between the capacities of states in the Mid-Atlantic region to address WNS and provide resources to track environmental change. A comparative study between Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania might be most productive because of their shared geology along the Appalachian range and socioeconomic development as mining and agricultural states. Through this dissertation project, I seek to interrogate discourses and practices of environmental governance and the limits of anthropogenic change, allowing me to build upon my intellectual project by examining the effects of neoliberalization on the production of knowledge and environmental governance. The work of Dr. Bruce Braun has been influential in guiding my current research, as well as my prospective dissertation. Dr. BLANK's interest in political ecology and New Materialist perspectives is of particular relevance to furthering my research interests, and I would welcome the opportunity to work with Dr. BLANK as a potential adviser or in other collaborative capacities. I have also been in correspondence with Dr. BLANK2, who’s research on political ecology and political economy of waste and labor in India has also been influential on my current master’s project, and who’s perspectives on development are central to my prospective dissertation. There are many other faculty within the department with whom I share research interests and whose writings have been particularly significant in my current courses and academic projects including; Dr. BLANK3 work on scholar activism and engagement and research on racial politics in post-Hurricane Katrina and Dr. BLANK4 research using spatiotemporal analysis on animal migration, which is of particular relevance to my prospective dissertation. My research experience and interests have been one of my primary motivations for pursuing a doctoral degree, my professional experiences outside of academia have contributed significantly to my research interests and how I perceive the future directions for my work. In addition to being employed as a biological technician, I was recently employed as a planning intern for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Migratory Bird and Habitat Program. In this position I worked closely with ornithologist to plan and review habitat conservation programs during several controversial western conservation campaigns, including the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Working in the USFWS allowed me to observe governance within a federal office, and to understand the personal perspectives of employees and biologists, who often acted in accordance with political mandates that contradicted their professional opinions as biologists. I was also employed as forest conservationists for the World Wide Fund in coastal Kenya, where I worked closely with my Kenyan counterparts and local partners to set organizational goals, review Environmental Impact Assessments, and advocate for forest preservation from outside extractive interests. In many ways the WWF fit the archetype of the neoliberal conservation institution operating in a former colony, however, it also challenged some of the assertions about these organizations within political ecology and development literature. My primary project was to contend with an Australian mining company that was attempting to gain mineral rights in a protected forests with known high levels of radioactivity. The communities living in this region were divided on the mining project, and the WWF, along with several local partners, acted to disseminate information and often found itself to be taking a contradictory stance from the state environmental institutions. These professional experiences have helped to cultivate my interest in political ecology as a critical subdiscipline, while giving me practical experience on the discourses of development, conservation, and governance. I believe that my greatest asset as a student is a passion for my field and conducting creative environmental and social justice oriented research. I am applying to the University of BLANK because it is a progressive academic environment, where research projects flourish as a result of shared learning and collaboration. Recognizing the challenges of completing a doctoral program, I believe that my work ethic, professional experiences, and academic ambitions make me an ideal candidate for the PHD program in geography.
  17. Hi, I'm currently a sociology undergrad and am going to start applying to phd programs (for sociology) next year. I know that research experience is essential for getting into top programs, so about how much experience do you think is sufficient? I'm working as a research assistant in the sociology department at my university this semester and next semester, I'll have taken at least 3 research seminars by the time I graduate, and I'm applying to undergraduate fellowships next semester where I would carry out my own research project during the summer/summer & fall. Assuming all of this works out, is it enough? I know that there are other factors in the admissions process but I won't really know where I stand with regard to letters of rec, GPA, and GRE until summer most likely. So for now I'm just interested in the research experience aspect of it. Thanks!
  18. Hello People of GradCafe, I need some help! I just received my Master's in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois, Chicago this May. During my Undergrad I studied Economics and the Sociology of Religion. I am interested in eventually applying for PhD programs but am unsure if I should be applying for Sociology PhD's or one in Geography (Human). The topics I am interested in focusing on are immigration, migration, and diaspora policies and how migrants/refugees fit into western societal spaces. Additionally I am very interested in how the role of the city plays into these trends as well. I can make arguments for both disciplines-on the one hand Geography could be better because it is more closely aligned with my Master's in Urban Planning in that it deals with human interaction with the environment (both built or otherwise), and it also would allow me to include some sociological trends into the study as well, such as demography. On the other hand, sociology has more longly been associated with immigration and transnational studies and is more aligned with population dtudies and demography research which ended up being my favorite aspect of my Urban Planning degree. I never thought I would be having this dilemma but I am. If someone could address what the differences are between these potential two programs in terms of research methodologies etc., as well as which you think would be better for someone with my research interests that would be amazing. I am very aware that I may be rambling here so if you need clarification on anything or have further questions to help me out please do not hesitate! Thanks so much, Sean
  19. HI All, My fields of interest are the following: urban sociology/ poverty, social stratification, crime and deviance, qualitative and quantitative methods, drug policy, racial inequality, criminal justice system; factors that contribute to the burgeoning of mass incarceration (i.e. reentry and recidivism, substance abuse, etc.) Not entirely sure if I am a strong candidate for these universities since I understand how brutally competitive it is, yet I have the confidence that I have all the necessary criteria and unique background. Anyways, as the saying goes, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." The programs I am applying include: University of Chicago, NYU, Columbia, Harvard University, CUNY Graduate Center and UC - Berkeley (I feel like this university is most conducive to my passion). Please do recommend any other university (department) that is pertinent to the sort of research I want to pursue!
  20. Hey guys, I'm participating in a research project on poverty and need 100 respondents. It is completely anonymous and requires no personal information. It will ask some demographic questions (ie- age, gender, education level, race, etc) It takes about 10 minutes to respond and is fairly simple to fill out. It will ask on the last two questions how you were referred and by who- you can respond by selecting other- and type forum board and select Charlotte for who referred you. All participants are greatly appreciated! Thank you! http://unf.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5uueSLdodaPvlwF
  21. Long story short I've been having some serious doubts about if I want to complete a PhD in sociology. One, because it's a huge time commitment and two, I'm not going to a top institution so I'm worried about job placement (sidenote: if anybody knows about CUNY's soc program, specifcally immigration I have some questions for you). So I've been looking at soc MA programs, particularly 'applied' programs, such as the one at UMASS-Boston. (Link below) https://www.umb.edu/academics/cla/sociology/graduate_programs/ma Does anybody know about job prospects for an applied MA program. Would it hurt that Umass isn't ranked as high as other institutions in the region, when it comes to looking for jobs? Umass has a survey research certificate which seems pretty applicable to the real world? Any advice or experience with degrees of this type would be greatly appreciated.
  22. It's not a popular research topics but a new field I guess.. I am quite interested in sociology of emotions and trying hard to find schools. It's a bit related to social psychology but not the same. I am more interested in a sociological perspectives of analyzing "emotions". I wanna research how "emotion" means in the society and how it influence our lives with social meanings, e.g. social norms. I get into this topics from my MA Gender Studies as gender theories discuss "affect". (however, my BA degree is not relevant at all, it's Business Administration with a minor in Chinese Literature and a certificate of women's and gender studies)(also I earned my MA degree in London and come from other background thus know few about this field in USA..) So far there are some universities on my list: UC Riverside, U Georgia, UNC Chapel Hill, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz and Emory. but it is a bit difficult to find some programs/researchers seriously fit this interest. also not easy to find resource in relation to this topic. Could anyone please give me some suggestions? Many many thanks.
  23. Hello People of GradCafe, I need some help! I just received my Master's in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois, Chicago this May. During my Undergrad I studied Economics and the Sociology of Religion. I am interested in eventually applying for PhD programs but am unsure if I should be applying for Sociology PhD's or one in Geography (Human). The topics I am interested in focusing on are immigration, migration, and diaspora policies and how migrants/refugees fit into western societal spaces. Additionally I am very interested in how the role of the city plays into these trends as well. I can make arguments for both disciplines-on the one hand Geography could be better because it is more closely aligned with my Master's in Urban Planning in that it deals with human interaction with the environment (both built or otherwise), and it also would allow me to include some sociological trends into the study as well, such as demography. On the other hand, sociology has more longly been associated with immigration and transnational studies and is more aligned with population studies and demography research which ended up being my favorite aspect of my Urban Planning degree. I never thought I would be having this dilemma but I am. If someone could address what the differences are between these potential two programs in terms of research methodologies etc., as well as which you think would be better for someone with my research interests that would be amazing. I am very aware that I may be rambling here so if you need clarification on anything or have further questions to help me out please do not hesitate! Thanks so much, Sean
  24. Is anyone out there currently attending or thinking of attending Rice University for the PhD program in sociology? I've looked over the website, professor profiles, current student profiles, some papers...but the program is still so new it's hard to find a lot on it. Does anybody know if rice is more quant or qual heavy (the website says they train students in mixed methods). Also does anyone know if RA positions are readily available through any of the affiliated research institutes at Rice (like the HERC)? In the future, I want to work in research outside of academia and the website says Rice emphasizes new approaches to public sociology, so I feel like this program could possibly tick a lot of my boxes but it would be extremely helpful if someone could point me in any direction to get more information.
  25. Hi, I'm applying to several tier 1 and tier 2 U.S Sociology PhD programs in two months. By "tier 1" I mean schools like Harvard or Princeton, by "tier 2" I mean schools like Washington or Texas-Austin. I am applying from abroad and have done almost all of my studies in an non-English environment up until now. So, I am having some difficulties with the GRE verbal and writing component. I took my first GRE two month ago and I got the following results. Verbal:160(85 percentile) Quantitative: 166 (91 percentile) Writing: 4.0 (59 percentile) Now, this is the score I got by only doing two practice tests two days before the exam. So, I could probably pay 200 dollars again and retake the test to do a little bit better (I can aim for something like 160-162, 168-170, 4.0-4.5) . To tell the truth, I am a bit worried that my verbal and writing score may give off bad impression when compared to other applicants for the top schools. However, I have also heard some rumors that US universities will not care so much about GRE verbal and writing scores from international students as long as they are not terribly bad (which I don't think this is the case). If anyone has experience with these issue, it would be great to know what you think. Best,