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GRE vs. Outside Founding and GPA Problem


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Hello,

I am studying International Relations MSc in Turkey. I am gonna apply to US political science phd programs but I am a little bit hopeless.

Here is my quals:

MSc GPA:3.60(pending)

Undergrad GPA: 3.50

IELTS: 7 - TOEFL: 100

Government Scholarship(full tuition,fees,living expenses)

Strong recommendations

2 year Research Assistant, 1 year( in total) internship experience in 3 different(goverment, private sector, Research Center)

GRE: 450 V 750 Q

I know my GRE scores are too low but I would like learn if it is an advantage to have government scholarship or not? Shoul I answer financial aid questions during application as yes or no?

Secondly, my current master GPA is 3.00 and there is a falling grade(FF) in my transcript since I replace this course with another one. However, the grade of the course that I have taken instead previous one will be seen by 29th January and my CumGPA will rise to 3.60. Is it a problem to have an FF at this stage? there is an indication about replacing the couse in transcrip and ı also mentioned it in my SOP.

My list: Maryland,Chicago, GWU, Georgetown,Delaware, Texas A&M, Virginia,Florida, Connecticut, NotreDamme, Pittsburg, Suny Albany,Ohio state, North Carolina..

Which ones(5-6) should I apply?

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To answer your first question, I would still answer the financial aid questions as you never know what might happen in the future regarding your funding or number of years of funding that you need. There may be a slight advantage at some schools when they are aware that a student is already fully funded, but the advantage is probably at the margin and not very significant. That said, a school like Georgetown may look favorably on the fact that you have guaranteed funding, given that they typically fund a small portion of admitted students, so might view you as more likely to attend than the numerous students who are admitted without funding.

As for your school selection, I believe the FF will probably be a significant problem, especially when coupled with your low GRE score. If the FF is properly addressed by one of your recommenders it may be forgiven, but too many red flags on your application make you a risker applicant to admit, in comparison to the multitude of applicants with nearly perfect records. I would be very surprised to see a school like Chicago admit someone with a 450verbal and a significant blemish on their transcript (undergrad mishaps seem more likely to be forgiven than something that has occurred recently in your masters program).

Sorry to be a downer, and I with you the best of luck in the process.

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Without knowing more about your specific interests within IR, I'm afraid I can't be much help selecting schools. Of course, you'll need schools with good faculty research matches, and as I mentioned, maybe there is a chance that GW or Georgetown would value the fact that you have funding (or other such schools as McMuffin suggested), but they are still very selective programs so that's probably a long shot. If you can afford the applications, it doesn't hurt to try and apply broadly, and I do know some applicants who were admitted to great programs with significant problems and red flags in their applications so it is possible, even if very challenging!

One point I'll mention, which is a common refrain of mine, is to consider your professional goals (tenure track research position, SLAC, community college, government, private sector) and be sure that the programs to which you apply will set you up to achieve those goals. If you're looking to get a tenure track position at a research university or good liberal arts college, it is increasingly challenging if you go to a less known PhD program/school. Thus, if you need to wait another year to retake the GRE and get the FF removed from your transcript it may be worth it if you have a significantly better chance of getting the type of job you want 5-6 years down the road.

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Actually, I want to focus on IR theory(mostly realist) and order problems. I applied Chicago,GWU,Virginia,Pittsburg.

I wonder about prestige of SUNY Binghamton(close relations, partnership with my current school),Maryland and Delaware. Their deadlines: 1th February. One of the red flags(GPA) will bi fixed by that time. Are those worth applying instead some British ones suc King's College or Birmingham?

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  • 2 weeks later...

The GRE Verbal does NOT measure English ability. It does not measure whether you would succeed in grad school (the quant score is a better measure) It measures whether you know a crazy list of words.The OPs English can be quite good actually, many native speakers score below that 450.In any case OP if you do not get in study that 3000 words and you will be fine.

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If its a true representation of the student's ability, than fine. If the student can do better, I would retake. My GRE is low, but I studied for a month, took a computer adaptive practice test and scored EXACTLY the same on the real GRE. Plus, I dont have another 100+ to shell out on a test, so Im rockin with it.

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I think the OP should really consider retaking the GRE (even though it may now be too late), especially if his verbal score is below 500 and if his low score is an outcome of not having fully prepared for the test itself. Although the test reflects somewhat of your English ability, there is certain a substantial component of just learning how to play the game. I did my GRE some time ago and got 490 verbal. I then did a number of practice exams and tried to learn how to 'crack it'. I did it again and it improved by almost 200 points. 450 is a terrible score but I hope that with some effort the OP can break 500 and pass the first round in many more schools at least.

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