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International student applying for a PhD in Philosophy in the US—will my mediocre quant GRE score hamper me in my applications?


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Hello,

I’m an applicant from the UK who’s applying to Philosophy PhD programs in the US starting September 2020. I recently took the GRE and got a verbal score of 166 (97th percentile) and a quant score of 156 (60th percentile). There seems to be so much conflicting information about how important GRE scores are and, as an international applicant, it can all be very confusing. Do you think that my mediocre quant score will be a hindrance to getting into any (or certain top) PhD programs in the states? 

Other relevant background info to do with my application: I have a BA and an MPhil in Philosophy. I got my BA from a Russell Group University (top 25 or so in the UK) and my MPhil from an ancient University (top 2 in the UK). I have what I think is equivalent to a 4.0 GPA for my BA and a 3.8 GPA for my MPhil (although the conversion for the MPhil is quite difficult and a rough approximation). I’m expecting very promising letters of recommendation. 

Any clarificatory information and/or advice would be appreciated!

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For us international students, GRE can be even more stressful. However, GRE scores tend to be indicative for Graduate School threshold, not overall admission. I took the GRE twice because my Writing score was low (4.5 I believe). Check with admission pages from school what is their minimum, that should tell you whether to sit for the exam again or not. 

As far as GPA conversion, I think there is a website that was helpful when I applied. However, in most cases, AdComms are sensitive to international students transcripts: i.e. even though they may be unfamiliar with your grading system, they can tell what's good and what's bad if you provide enough information. I erred on the side of providing everything in the "original" while clarifying the grading scale or signaling an equivalent in GPA next to it). 

You SoP will be the most important part of the application.

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