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French applicant, concerned with my GRE scores


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Hi everyone!

I'm a French student and I'm applying for several International Relations programs in the U.S.. In France most people don't know anything about U.S. applications, so I'm feeling a bit alone...

I'm concerned with my GRE scores. I took the test 10 days ago and I got 160 Verbal, 146 Quantitative (it's low although I worked a lot on it), and 3.5 AW (I expected to get at least 4). I'm really disappointed.

My GPA isn't extraordinary because I've studied in very selective schools, where the teachers are strict. One of my teacher is going to explain this in her letter of recommendation. But I studied one year in the U.S. during 2011-2012, and my GPA was 3.6.

Regarding work experience, I interned in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs last summer.

My TOEFL score is 103.

What do you think my chances are? Thanks a lot...

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160V is really good, if English isn't your first language, however you should retake the GRE to increase your quant score, I think... Some grad schools have cut offs, and will reject you automatically if your cumulative score is under a certain value. It would help if you could tell me what school/uni you attended in France, and where you're applying to in the States. And your Toefl is just fine, they don't really care as long as you got a score above 100.

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Thank you for your reply!

I wish I could retake the GRE, but I won't be able to retake it until February, and the deadlines fall on January...

In France I've attended "classe préparatoire" (it's a selective school where we prepare for competitive exams) for 3 years, and since 2010 I attend "Sciences Po Rennes" (another selective school in Political Science). During 2011-2012 I was an exchange student at UMass Boston.

The schools I'm applying to are University of Chicago, New York University, University of Texas, George Washington, Cornell University, and McGill in Montreal.

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Miskina, since you can't do anything about your GRE scores at this point, focus on making your SOP as strong as possible. Along with solid LORs, it will serve you well.


Also your verbal score is very good, especially for an international applicant.


I think your work experience will be a great asset as well.


Bon courage!

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I don't think your GRE score is bad at all. The way I understand it is that one low score and one high score kinda offset each other. What's more important is the percentile rank of your score. Your verbal score for a non-native speaker is pretty good. Your AWA is close to the 4.0 mark which seems to be the average for grad school students. Your quant is below average for sure but I think this might be offset by the fact that you are bilingual.

Best of luck

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I have the same concern. I am an international student, but I have completed a MA degree in the US. Being a bad test-taker, I had a 152 verbal, and a 165 quantitative. It seems so lame for applying to a history PhD program. 


I feel really frustrated about my poor GRE performance. Should I continue my application? 

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