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Not sure if to retake the GRE: 164Q, 159V, 4.5AWA


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So I took the GRE two days ago, and scored a 164Q,159V, and a 4.5AWA. 

I'm interested in applying to some of the top master's of CS programs, probably to ones with a focus on AI, but I am not sure whether my GRE score is good enough: one of the issues with my quant score is that almost all of the top 20 institutions seek an average of 166Q, and to be honest, I'm just not good with these kind of exams.

I am an international student from a lesser known school, so even if my grades are stellar, and I will finish my undergraduate at the top 10% of my class, it will probably look bad since the admission committees will judge how rigorous my undergraduate program was by looking at my GRE scores. At least that's what I know that happens when the admission committee has not heard of the applicant's school.

Should I retake the GRE? Is there any chance that a 164 Q is good enough?

Some of the schools I am planning to apply to are: Stanford, NYU, Columbia (ML track), CMU (ML track), Princeton, and Berkeley. 

I'm not sure if improving my GRE score will be enough to be admitted to Stanford and CMU, but I'd like to know that I have a fair shot with Columbia.

Thank you

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I would recommend to retake the GRE if you still have time. But please remember that to increase even two points in the range of 160-170 is extremely difficult.

GRE has a super score option now so I hope you can take advantage of that. I know that my friend retook the GRE and she got lower scores than the first time, but she is at Stony Brook now with full funding. 

164 Quant is great (87%), but there is no way GRE is the only factor in your application (LORs, Statement, Research experiences, etc.). My sister had an almost perfect Quant score (around 96-97%) but still rejected by UCLA (her top school). She got in few CS programs though, with full funding (Iowa, Michigan State, Colorado...). One of her colleagues had a perfect 340 (and still got rejected from those Ivy schools).   

On the other hand, I got in Columbia without GRE score (because my program is in the humanities and does not require GRE), but I still declined the offer and I'm at a lower-rank school with a much more generous funding. I know if I'm at Columbia now I would be miserable. 

Getting in a program is difficult but so is funding. Is funding going to be a problem for you? If it is, I recommend you to look at other schools than those in the top. Your scores may be in the top of the application pool and it would be more likely to get funding. 

Overall, no one can tell if there is a "good" GRE score, but I can tell you that admission committee will look at your application as a whole and it is important to make everything about your application speaks well together. I don't know if this is true or not, but my professors said today getting in a PhD program is pure luck. It matters more if you research interest fits with the program or not. 

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