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Average GRE scores on both Verbal and Quantitative: Should I bother applying?


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I just recently gave my paper-based revised GRE exam and scored Verbal: 155 (percentile 65) and Quant: 154 (percentile 60) and a 4 in AWA. I want to apply for a phd in either political science or sociology. I know the top 10-20 schools are out, but should I even bother applying to the top 50? Do you think I stand a chance? And if yes, which schools could I possibly apply to? Have people gotten through such programs with an average GRE score


Where I am based only paper-based exams are available, and I think the next one is in October. I thus also wonder about whether I should slog it out a second time and give it again, but it seems to be this never ending gruelling process; already invested 6 months trying to juggle work and GRE, with no time for anything else, wonder if its worth getting into it again. Maybe if stand a chance to get into a school, I should concentrate on other aspects of my application as well as give the TOEFEL (me being an international student), so as to have an application ready for December 2013.


Also say if I get into a mediocre school, do you think my job prospects won't be as good as having done a PHD from a top school?



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I think its safe to say that you should apply...if "average scores" deter you from following your dreams, it might be time to rethink what you want. Just saying...


Secondly, its also safe to say that top schools are better than mediocre schools. Thats not to say the midrange schools aren’t worthwhile. Seriously, this website sometimes makes me feel like there are only 20 schools in the country. That is absolutely not the case, and there are high quality institutions that don't make that list.


As someone who just went through it, let me tell you that applying to graduate school is a long and emotionally draining process. Don’t let yourself believe that one aspect of your application will get you in or keep you out. Its about the bigger picture. I’d recommend that you think about if this is what you really want. If it is, then stop thinking about what can keep you out and start thinking about how to make it happen. It’s the only way to stay sane

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Thanks for your encouraging comments. People around me have been saying that universities for the purpose of making the application sorting process easier discard applications with low GRE scores (and dont bother reading other aspects of the application), this scared me a bit. But perhaps some schools are there, who dont follow this process. Could you suggest some universities that I could potentially consider?

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In political science, it's equally (if not) more important to focus on publications, and building contacts within the faculty. If you can find someone in the faculty who supports your application and wants to see you succeed, GRE scores won't matter, because they want to work with you.


Depends what type of school he is going for to be honest. I think it's generally acknowledged at this point that contacting POIs isn't a golden ticket, even if your email/phone call to them is met with enthusiasm. Also, I listened in my first cycle (just passed) to people say mixed things about the GRE, that it doesn't matter as much as fit, doesn't matter unless they are really low etc But I now think they are of the utmost importance. One reason is with regard to funding and GRE requirements for that. Also GREs can play a pretty arbritrary role in admission standards (Look at the posts in the PolSci subfield in the faculty thread). There are cutoffs at places. These can be overcome with other aspects of your application, if you're a superstar a 155 on quant won't hold you back much if your other credentials are brilliant. But I would say to the original poster, apply anyway, but also do the GRE again. Get your quant up a couple points and it could make a big difference. A top 50 should be doable with those scores I think, but best to make every aspect of your app as good as possible.

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