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Conflicted About GRE Results


ILAR
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Hi all,

 

I took the GRE for the first time, and my scores were a bit all over the place. I got a 158V, 150Q, and a 5 on the AWA. I'm thinking about applying for a MPA or MPP program during next year's cycle.

I am aware my Verbal and AWA scores are solid, but my Quantitative score seems low. I am debating re-taking the GRE sometime this summer, in hopes of improving the score. However, I've read online that if you have a strong application everywhere else, it may not be worth the time and money. 

 

The reason I ask is that I've been in the workforce and have used STATA, R, and Python for 3 years each. My undergraduate GPA was 3.64, with core policy classes being above 3.90. I've taken advanced analysis courses as well. 

 

I realize there are other components to an application, but I am not applying this year. I'm just debating if it's worth the investment to bring up the Quant score, or if my real-world experience with the kind of quantitative programming involved in public policy would be a sufficient substitute to persuade schools. I know the answer will be different based upon the prestige of the program, so feel free to draw you would consider "the line" if some programs would brush me off.

 

 

Thanks in advance, happy to provide more context.

 

Edited by ILAR
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My GRE results where V 164, Q 151, AW 4.0 and I got accepted to all universities I applied and got generous funding from three out of four. So, you can get into some good non-ivy universities with that. But you should maybe not apply to quant-heavy universities (e.g. Harris, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley) with a Q 150. Also, considering that you probably want to apply in the next cycle, you maybe should take the GRE again, focusing on the quant part. Go over 155.

Edited by Marius G
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I don't know enough of your background to speak too authoritatively. 

I had a 144 Quant score and got into HKS with a very generous offer to boot. 

I have a pretty strong professional background though (with pretty extensive international experience as well) and it appears I was able to rock the essays and my admissions letter noted my strong recommendations too. 

It's possible to get in for sure and receive funding, but if you're not under pressure and have time to properly do the studying and can retake the test, I definitely would. I would have redone it on my end, but i just didn't have the time to do so.

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You have time, take it again. I think you’ll regret not doing it if your results or the funding associated doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. It is totally doable to bring it up even just 5 points. While there are always exceptions, that quant score is much lower than average, enough that it will be a red flag. You do not need just a strong application to make up for that score, you need an exceptional one (I’m thinking of the perspective of top 10ish ranked policy schools). Maybe you have that, in which case an improved GRE score can only make it better and make you more competitive for fundng. Time is on your side though!! Good luck. 

Edited by gelatinskeleton
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15 hours ago, UrbanPolicy&Development said:

ILAR How much professional experience do you have? The more years out from undergrad, the less (I think) the GRE matters. 

I'll have three years.

 

12 hours ago, gelatinskeleton said:

You have time, take it again. I think you’ll regret not doing it if your results or the funding associated doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. It is totally doable to bring it up even just 5 points. While there are always exceptions, that quant score is much lower than average, enough that it will be a red flag. You do not need just a strong application to make up for that score, you need an exceptional one (I’m thinking of the perspective of top 10ish ranked policy schools). Maybe you have that, in which case an improved GRE score can only make it better and make you more competitive for fundng. Time is on your side though!! Good luck. 

Thanks! I probably will.

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I had a hilariously bad Q score, same V score as you, and a high AW score. I got in everywhere I applied, with funding. I had a good econ/quant background from undergrad and work experience. So, I think you have a shot. Re-take if you want as you have time to prepare, but don't lose sleep over it.

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I had a low quant score (148), and was accepted into Heinz, a quant heavy program, which is the one I’ll be attending. However, my other parts of my application were very strong. If you don’t want to take the GRE again, you can always take stats or calc online through UCLA Extension or a community college. As long as you’re willing to show that you’re up for quant work, you should be good. 

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