Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
linkth

Chances for a MPA program

Recommended Posts

Hi everybody,

 

I just took the TOEFL and GRE exams and my scores are 110/120 in the TOEFL and 161Q - 152V in the GRE (don't know the AW because I just took the exam).

 

I want to apply to the MPA/ID program from HKS, and the MPA or MPP programs from Princeton, Chicago, Columbia and NYU... What do you think about my scores? Are they ok or should I retake some exam?

 

Thank you very much,

Edited by linkth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hopefully someone in MPA can help out here, but I understand MPA programs to be extremely competitive. And you are looking at top schools. As such, I'd strongly recommend retaking the GRE. You will want to boost both scores if you can. Your TOEFL looks good though. Best of luck to you. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do the schools' sites give any GRE guidelines? It's best to start there to know what numbers you should be aiming for if you choose to retake, but I assume those are all competitive programs that expect reasonably high numbers.

 

You may also find it helpful to peruse past years' acceptances on the Grad Cafe results page just to get a general idea of successful applicant stats.

 

ETA: I found this on the Chicago Harris site:

 

Test Scores

 

What is the average GRE test score needed for admission to Chicago Harris?


We do not have a minimum GRE score requirement. Admitted student scores are generally in the 75th percentile or higher. Learn more about our 2012 class.

 

--

I think you should focus on boosting your verbal, but that's only one part of admittance to such a program, of course!

Edited by midnight streetlight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your GRE may be useful or not, depending on the rest of your profile. If the rest of your qualifications are good enough (specially Work Experience and GPA), then you have a fair shot at those schools.

 

What I mean to say is that even if your scores are not stellar, they won't automatically disqualify you from consideration at top schools.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your GRE may be useful or not, depending on the rest of your profile.

I definitely agree!! The GRE is only part of an application, and mediocre scores might not prevent admittance.

Nevertheless, it's not uncommon for programs to use GRE (and GPA) as a way to filter applications. Thus, it is certainly possible that a 'strong' application with low GRE scores might never be looked at. Even if it is looked at, these schools get plenty of excellent applications. It is thus also not uncommon for GRE scores to become a factor at the end.

Either way, one really must take the GRE seriously. Particularly if top programs are the goal.

 

We do not have a minimum GRE score requirement. Admitted student scores are generally in the 75th percentile or higher. Learn more about our 2012 class.

Keep in mind, this will be the low end of what they're looking for. You'll want to shoot for scores above this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like it depends on the program. For example, at SIPA they assure they entirely read every single completed application.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Retake the GRE.  That verbal is not enough for the programs you are looking at. 

However, if your other stats are strong there are other MPA programs that you may be competitive for if you are willing to lower your expectations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind, this will be the low end of what they're looking for. You'll want to shoot for scores above this.

 

I'm not so sure--I mean, here's data directly from the Chicago site:

 

Fall 2012 Class Profile

> 141 students in master's programs, 8 Phd students

> 47% international student population, representing 25 countries

> 56% female, 46% male

> 80% have previous work experience, average 3-4 years

> 11% minority students

> Average age: 27

> Average undergraduate GPA: 3.6

> GRE Quantitative: (Q3) 166, (Q1) 150

> GRE Verbal: (Q3) 167, (Q1) 150

> Average TOEFL (international students) score: 106

 

MPA/MPP programs highly value professional and personal experience. While I agree that it won't hurt the OP to study and retake the GRE, if the OP's CV, SOP, and LORs are impressive, I don't think his current GRE will necessarily hinder him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed, they are within range. Yet, I remain skeptical.

Personally, I wouldn't roll the dice on that. But each applicant needs to decide how much time they are willing to spend and where that time is best spent. (It is true, some people spend a lot of time studying for a retake, but end up doing the same or even worse.) But I think the current climate is witnessing applicants with strong everything. Thus, it's a game of inches, so to speak.

But there are always varying opinions regarding all of this, especially the GRE. And arguments for or against are always valid. But my vote remains with the retake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your replies! I was thinking in retaking it but I am not sure.. My scores are within range in many universities (for instance, NYU doesn't requires GRE .. And Harvard states in its web that the minimum requirement is 80th percentile (I think my quant score is near 86th percentile). Also, do you think the verbal score is relevant if english is not my native language? Another thing. Is it worth it to retake it if I already sent the scores? I thought they were enough.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your replies! I was thinking in retaking it but I am not sure.. My scores are within range in many universities (for instance, NYU doesn't requires GRE .. And Harvard states in its web that the minimum requirement is 80th percentile (I think my quant score is near 86th percentile). Also, do you think the verbal score is relevant if english is not my native language? Another thing. Is it worth it to retake it if I already sent the scores? I thought they were enough.....

 

Your quant score is 83rd percentile.

 

I've heard that yes, GRE verbal still matters even if you're foreign and have taken the TOEFL as you're expected to be fluent in English--but that may depend on the school or program, of course.

 

Have you already applied for fall 2013, or are you going to be applying for fall 2014? If it's the former and the deadlines have passed, I doubt you can submit new GRE scores to the schools.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm excited to see this string because I think this is a very interesting and important question. I agree with the other posters here that have said quite eloquently that GRE scores are but just one element of your overall application. I went to Wagner at NYU. And I didn't submit GRE scores at all. However, I had a strong policy and advocacy background having worked for about 6 years before returning to school. I'm a very strong believer that MPA programs are MUCH MUCH MUCH more useful for those people that have work experience ( > 2 years ). It should be an applied program. All that is to say, if you have a strong work background in a related area, strong letters of recommendation, and a strong personal statement those are all just as, if not more, important. GRE scores are merely an indicator that you can meet a minimum threshold. The rest of the application tells your story. Good luck to you!

Edited by slaNYC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

English is not my native language, but from what I have read most places will not take much into account your TOEFL score to leverage for a low GRE Verbal score. They both measure very different aspects of the english language.

 

The TOEFL may just be an enforcer in case you have a good score in both, or viceversa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scores finally updated.. 152V (53%) - 161Q (83%) - 4.5 AW (73%)

 

I don't know what to think.. I'm within score ranges in most Public Policy schools... but not sure yet (I should have taken the GRE more seriously). As a note, I recently saw GRE scores from a friend that was admitted at HKS (MPA/ID) and he got 94% in Quant (800), 35% in Verbal (don't remember the score) and 4.0 in AW... His TOEFL is 108. Hopefully our profiles are very very similar and we even have published working papers together....

Share this post


Link to post
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
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.