Jump to content

Low GRE Scores, program/additional suggestions?


Recommended Posts

 took the test yesterday. Yes, I'm aware that my scores are low: 146Q and 151V 

I'm a senior studying Political Science and would continue in the field if I were to go (Comparative). My GPA is 3.6/major is 3.9. I started my search into grad school last year when a professor, in my department, suggested that I think about it. I put that search on pause in spring semester when I realized how problematic my quant score would be.

Come this semester, I went and I informed my department of my choice. The professor who had suggested that I go told me that I was letting fear get in the way, that I did fine in his methods course, and grad statistics wasn't anything I couldn't learn. So, I gave it a try. I studied for five weeks (not as much as I would've liked) and began the application process(es).

Here's the thing: I have cerebral palsy, which has always made math difficult and my reading ability slowed. I've made it through undergrad without accommodations and without sharing with my professors. I've never enjoyed receiving inflated grades, and thus, it's been wonderful to prove myself independent of the knowledge of my disability. Since my sophomore year, I've been told that my analysis was at a graduate level. Furthermore, despite struggling with math, the undergraduate methods course was not a problem. a constant struggle. Yes, I know I could have received accommodations on the GRE, but time was not on my side.

Here's what I need to know: If my SOP and LORs are strong, given my GPA do I have a chance?  All the programs I'm considering are Ph.D.

My top school is at the bottom of top the top 25 (UW-Madison). The average for scores of applicants admitted in 2017 was: 87th percentile verbal and 70 percentile quant.

There's another school within the top 25 of the field (though, it's lacking in my subfield) that I'm considering. The department has admitted 1-3 people per cycle with 130-150 quant scores (University of Minnesota)

The two other schools are in the 3rd tier, and I've looked and I've yet to find the GRE averages (Indiana-Bloomington and Illinois-Urbana)

I'm attending a liberal arts state school, and the department does not offer research opportunities. All of my "research" is for coursework. I am involved in extra-curricular pertaining to my interests and have received awards an recognition at regional conferences, for one in particular (Model UN).

Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

GREs can definitely be important, but I don’t think this alone means you won’t be able to get into one of your preferred schools. If you have a professor that’s willing to vouch for your ability to complete graduate level methods courses in their recommendation letter, I think that goes a long way—especially if you mention the obstacles you faced with the test in your statement of purpose. I’m also curious about what ranking you’ve viewed; USNWR has Wisconsin in the top 15, and Urbana, Bloomington, Minnesota are all at least top-30. I think it will benefit you to look very closely at each school and try to select programs with faculty doing work similar to what you want to do. You mention that one school is weak in your subfield, and if this is the case I think you should strongly consider looking at other schools instead. Hope this helps. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your chance is highly contingent upon how the adcom contexualizes your situation...UWM is a top 15 program so a 146Q is unlikely to be above the threshold. For other schools, I think your lack of research experience is another major hurdle. The best strategy is to get one of your recommenders to explain it for you, in addition to mention it by yourself in application.

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, IR1995 said:

I’m also curious about what ranking you’ve viewed; USNWR has Wisconsin in the top 15, and Urbana, Bloomington, Minnesota are all at least top-30. I think it will benefit you to look very closely at each school and try to select programs with faculty doing work similar to what you want to do. You mention that one school is weak in your subfield, and if this is the case I think you should strongly consider looking at other schools instead. Hope this helps. 

I appreciate this. My apologies, 

I did mean top 15. I want to apply to UW-Madison because of the faculty and the strength of the comparative program. The comparative subfield is weak. at the moment. Moreover, my interests are in Eastern Europe, Madison is my ideal. 

Illinois Urbana is another ideal program because of the faculty, however, I cannot find any information on GRE scores. 

Indiana's program is small, not unlike madison's, but again, it's more safe than Madison. 

While Minnesota is in the top 25, the department's table of admits' GRE scores, does list that there are a few admits each year that get admitted with quant scores between 130 -150. 

I'm having trouble figuring out where to apply because of my scores and my research interests. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

One suggestion I have is to find a university press book (or an article, but books are better for this) that is about your interests. Read through the literature review, and you should be able to get an idea, based on which scholars are being cited, as to who does work similar to what you want to do. Then google their names and see if they're at universities you could see yourself going to. Also, if you know any faculty that have interests close to yours (even if it isnt *that* close), ask them which departments they recommend. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.