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Another international student! :)


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Hi everyone! October is about the end, and I am starting shaking and trembling about upcoming deadlines! 

I am a student from an East European country and got my BA at the other non-English speaking Asian country (with a full scholarship since I am poor, actually). I am still here attending grad school. 

I have 3+ years of research experience (I managed some projects, not only assisted), 3 peer-reviewed co-authored publications, one as a first author under review + I have a lot of experience with statistics and programming (I am a quant researcher in the sociology of medicine and health) and a lot of related coursework. 

I am applying to some of the top20 schools in the USA (Princeton, UPenn, Chicago, Stanford, etc.), and I am curious about my chances to get in. 

The problem is that I am not satisfied with my GRE scores (Q 156, V 161, W 3.5). The exam is super expensive, so I decided to focus on the other parts of an application (writing samples, publications). My TOEFL is okay (105 in total). So, many schools say that GRE is optional this year, but, you know, if the school is in the top 20, it is hard to say that something is optional haha   I am about to regret my decision not to take GRE again... so my question is:

1. What do you think are my chances to get into? (I know it is super vague, but still...)

2. If you do, how would you explain these low GRE scores?? (my real reason is financial..)

3. Would you send these scores to schools that say that it is optional? 


Thank you!! Have a good look everyone!

Edited by catherine666
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Your GRE is objectively fine, though the quant is low for a quant researcher; the AW section is also low, but your writing sample is more important than that for demonstrating writing ability. I wouldn't send the score if you can avoid it given your quant focus relative to your quant score. (If you were a qualitative researcher, I'd say send to more qualitatively-inclined schools, but from your description, it sounds like you're not going that route.)

In terms of getting in, it will depend a ton on your writing — SOP, writing sample, etc. — and fit with faculty. Only applying to T20 leaves the door open for getting in nowhere (which happens to many people who also apply to places well outside the T20), so if you're determined to go to grad school next year, you should expand your horizons.

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