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Chances of Being Accepted (International Student)


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Hello Everyone,

I am wondering what my chances for acceptance are at the following schools for a PhD in Political Science: UPenn, Princeton, Georgetown, and University of Maryland.

I am finishing my Master of Public Affairs this year at Sciences-Po Paris. I am interested in studying international relations at one of the above mentioned universities, particularly UPenn as I have personal ties to Philadelphia.

My grades at Sciences-Po are a bit hard to compare to the US, but from different conversion tables I have found my Americanized GPA is around a 3.6-3.8+. I am certainly within the top 5-10% of my class here. Sciences-Po is recognized as one of the best schools in France but it is not well-ranked worldwide.

My internships have included an administrative tribunal outside of Paris, and I am currently an intern at the Conseil d’Etat (US equivalent of the Supreme Court).

I studied abroad for one year at UPenn. My GPA from this year was about a 3.7 (but the courses were simply indicated as pass/fail on my transcript).

My letters of recommendation should be good – two are from professors at UPenn I did research for.

I have yet to take the GRE’s so that is a still a ‘wildcard’ in my chances.

Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!


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While we can all guess about your admissions decisions, more information will probably be necessary for any meaningful gauge. Without a GRE score, it's probably a lost cause. While a good score is not enough to get you admitted, a bad one is sufficient to keep you out.

You probably need to give a GRE score, specific research interests, information about undergrad performance, etc, if you want a grounded prediction. However, you would lose a degree of anonymity in the process.

My advice: Just apply and find out. We're all just guessing anyway, you won't know until you try. Also, it's probably not a great idea to let geographic location guide your selection.

Edited by Tufnel
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I agree. Selection has so much to do with fit and gut feelings that it's hard under the best circumstances to say anything beyond whether a student is competitive.

Your GRE scores will be a huge part of that, so we can't even tell you that much. I will go so far as to say that your school and GPA are good enough for your desired programs. Study hard and do well on both the GRE and TOEFL; your application will get a good look.

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