Jump to content

A bizarre grad strategy -- working backwards from my GRE


waytooold

Recommended Posts

I am still reeling from my straight rejections last year for PhD programs. The things working against me are my age (50 ish) my lack of quantitative research experience (but published in the non academic world and tons of qualitative experience) and a complete lack of mathematical dexterity. I am now thinking differently -- I had been applying to PhD programs in Org Behavior, now I think I need to get a second Masters, maybe in org behavior or in a field like sociology or anthropology. The catch is, I need money. Lots of money. So, here is my deal: I have an 800 V, 6AW and...hold on....a 590 quant. What kinds of programs don't really look at quant, or view the verbal score as an indicator of ability? This probably sounds foolish, but I really don't want to put as much effort into apps as I did last year and find myself out the time, money and emotion. Anyone's thoughts would be most welcome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am still reeling from my straight rejections last year for PhD programs.

Sorry to hear about last year. I'm hoping the same thing does not happen to me, but I'm aware it is certainly a real possibility. I am also an older applicant with what will be an unusual application for the programs I'm planning on sending it to. My GREs were OK. I've done as much as I can to "fix" the deficiencies in my preparation, but there's only so much I can do right now. If things don't work out, I'll have more time to work on my qualifications, but I'll also be a year older next time I apply. However, making the decision to apply to grad school has been good for me. I've ended up doing a lot of things that were definitely out of my comfort zone, and I am very thankful for all the people who have been encouraging me and helping me figure things out.

Good luck with applications this year. Is it possible for you to take the GRE again to improve the quant score, if you think that was a major reason for the rejections?

Or are there other areas of your application that could be stronger? Did you ask any of the programs what might have made you a more attractive applicant (I've heard some programs will give rejected applicants such feedback).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

WayTooOld wrote: What kinds of programs don't really look at quant, or view the verbal score as an indicator of ability?

I have a friend who is happily studying Classics (ancient Greek and Latin, yes indeed!). She got an 800-V, a Q she'll only say is "very low" and an AW of 5 .... and she's also, just as we (me too) are, over 50 yrs old. I think she'll probably end up in academia one way or another after finishing the PhD.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am still reeling from my straight rejections last year for PhD programs. The things working against me are my age (50 ish) my lack of quantitative research experience (but published in the non academic world and tons of qualitative experience) and a complete lack of mathematical dexterity. I am now thinking differently -- I had been applying to PhD programs in Org Behavior, now I think I need to get a second Masters, maybe in org behavior or in a field like sociology or anthropology. The catch is, I need money. Lots of money. So, here is my deal: I have an 800 V, 6AW and...hold on....a 590 quant. What kinds of programs don't really look at quant, or view the verbal score as an indicator of ability? This probably sounds foolish, but I really don't want to put as much effort into apps as I did last year and find myself out the time, money and emotion. Anyone's thoughts would be most welcome.

Here are some thoughts. Your combined score is very good, your verbal and awa scores are perfect, and your average quant score won't hurt you in any non math related field.

However, for sociology, they may want to see a score in the mid 600's at competitive programs. My suggestion is, if you want to go to programs where the quant score matters somewhat (non humanities programs), then prep hard for the quant (only) and retake the exam to get your quant score up. Chances are good that your verbal will drop a bit, but keep in mind there is no difference between a 730 v and an 800 v or any score between -- all are at the 99%ile. You can extrapolate percentiles in the 99%ile for ego gratification purposes, but doing so is irrelevant to how the scores are viewed by committees. Even if you drop to a 700 or 97%ile, that won't hurt you -- especially if you move your quant score up 100 points. To drive this point home, bear in mind that a 700 V is roughly the average at the most competitive/top ranked English PhD programs where the verbal section is usually the only part of the GRE that is considered.

The GRE is not that important...there is no ranking that goes on at the highest levels (say, among those in the top 5 percent), given the holistic nature of the evaluation process. Ordinarily, I would not advise anyone to retake the exam, but when one has a low score in area that is important to the program, it's a good idea to prep for that portion and retake. If you were gunning for an English Phd, or a related field I would say hold on to your scores.....but if the school can give you information that they want xxx score on a portion of the exam, you should aim to hover around that range...even if you end up hit a bit below it ('bit' being defined as around 30 to 50 points).

As is, your combined scores qualify you for many fellowships at most places, I would think...though these awards are also usually tied to your undergrad gpa. Most important, though, is try to find out from the programs you're interested in what quant scores they are looking for you to be competitive. It is true programs like to dance around this topic with far flung verbiage - "holistic" is a favorite word to describe the application process, which is why I used it (reminds me of a doughnut) ;-) but try to dig in and get what they want. In the Humanities (with the exception of philosophy and religious studies), it is true that qualitative aspects matter *far more* than GRE/GPA...but with other programs app parameters tend to be more straightforward and more cut and dried...hopefully your age wasn't an issue but there's nothing you can do about it if it was.

Whatever the case and whatever you decide, I hope you have a better round when you apply next time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I had been under the impresssion that I was one of the oldest applicants because I'm in my 40s. I'm also concerned about my age and academic background as you do.

I'm a non-native, never taken GMAT, which is the exam that I should take, or TEOFL, an exam all non-natives have to take.

My first degree was "English", which is not considered as a degree in English speaking countries. Currently I'm enrolled in an MBA program, going to graduate next year.

I wanted to apply for PhD program in my home country, but nobody would like to accept me because of my age. Therefore, to apply for a PhD program in Western countries is my only way to achieve the purpose.

In order to prove that I have the capability in quantative research, I am writing a thesis, hopefully to finish in a week. I have not yet decided which publisher to contact for considerations of publication.

I hope you guys get admitted, and so do I.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had been under the impresssion that I was one of the oldest applicants because I'm in my 40s. I'm also concerned about my age and academic background as you do.

I'm a non-native, never taken GMAT, which is the exam that I should take, or TEOFL, an exam all non-natives have to take.

My first degree was "English", which is not considered as a degree in English speaking countries. Currently I'm enrolled in an MBA program, going to graduate next year.

I wanted to apply for PhD program in my home country, but nobody would like to accept me because of my age. Therefore, to apply for a PhD program in Western countries is my only way to achieve the purpose.

In order to prove that I have the capability in quantative research, I am writing a thesis, hopefully to finish in a week. I have not yet decided which publisher to contact for considerations of publication.

I hope you guys get admitted, and so do I.

I read an article the other day .. if i can find it, I'll post it, about the oldest grad student in the world. He's 92, lives in Australia, and already has DDS (dentistry) LLB (law) and is now studying for a PhD in Anthropology, I think.

Link to comment
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.