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Took my first ever GRE, where do you think I stand?


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Hey everyone,


So I'm looking to get into a a Masters program in Forest Ecology/Hydrology or something focused on climate change/climate change mitigation and adaptation. I've been looking at a few different schools and their programs. Here's my overall statistcs:


GPA (Last 3 years): 3.56

Major GPA: 3.8



Verbal: 161

Quant: 159

AWA: Waiting


I've been actively studying about different climate issues and topics through coursera. I don't have access to a reasonable univiersity as I live in Japan. I'm trying to connect with locals to get into a forestry project, but recently just studying for the GRE and researching grad programs has taken a lot of time.


Where do you think I stand for these schools?




University of Wisconsin, Madison

University of Washington, Seattle (this is where I'd love to go)

Oregon State University

University of Michigan


In addition, do you have any other recommendations for places I should look at?


Thanks for any help!


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Your scores look pretty good for forestry and your high in-major GPA will help. One thing you should be aware of is that in the natural resources fields, forestry included, field experience carries a lot of weight. If you are planning to move to the US before the due date for your applications, you should definitely look into temporary/seasonal field positions. Anybody can be smart but this type of experience shows that you can actually go out and do the work, which is critical not only for getting into a good program but also for getting a job when you finish. As for your list, try checking out University of Vermont as well.

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That's the biggest problem I guess. I've got a Major in Japanese and East Asian Studies in my undergrad, so in all honesty that's not very applicable to what I have going here for applications. Do you think I'll more or less be just rejected without any field work whatsoever? I was thinking I'd maybe try for the MF at Berkeley which would likely give me their 8 week field study course regardlesss, might take more time to graduate though. Is there funding in Forestry? It's a passion I'd like to follow up on, and I'm willing to work hard to get into it. What would you recommend for temp/seasonal field positions? I've been looking but I don't know how I can find work like that right away. I was considering working for a year, and then trying for the fall of 2015 for school, but I have a to be wife to work with on all this too!


Thanks for your input wanderingalbatross!

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Temp/seasonal jobs are frequently posted on USAjobs.gov (put USFS and NPS in your search parameters). The other way to get this experience is assisting graduate students with their projects. I don't know anything about switching fields from undergrad, so I would recommend asking actual faculty from forestry departments. Call them up on the phone or email them and describe your situation, tell them you're passionate about entering forestry, and ask them what they would recommend for your situation. Good luck!

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I just want to point something out: Unless they ask for your GPA over the last 3 years...  the actual gpa is going to be over all 4 years. I'm not sure if freshman year lowers your gpa, my feeling is you posted 3 years because full is lower. If you handed me a cv with ONLY your 3 year GPA, I would think you were trying to deceive me. Put both down, there is no reason to lie here.

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Thanks guys! I'm heading out to the University of Washington actually this week! I'll probably try to get a few questions in to their forestry department when I get over there. And GeoDude, yeah almost all the programs pretty explicitly state the last 2-3 years of your GPA. At least the ones I have been looking at. And I'll be submitting my full transcript, of course, I'm just putting up the stats for reference. My overall GPA was a 3.1 and a 3.8 Major GPA, but I had a pretty terrible first two years with surgery and my dad going into hospice essentially so it was a rough time. I wonder if that's an explainable thing.

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Thanks again. I'll try my best, once I get to that point to do so. DO you think it should be written about/explained in detail?

Also, just out of curiosity, for the schools I listed as my interests do you think any of them are unreasonable? Would it behoove me to take the GRE again and try to score higher, or should I concentrate on the rest of my grad package for now?

This place is wonderful btw for people who have little knowledge about this process. I spent so many hours searching on websites and I get better answers here in minutes haha!

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I only know Earth Sciences, not much about forestry. From an earth science perspective, you have a good (not great) application with a mediocre GRE score. An MS program is easier to get into than a PhD, and i'm not sure what you are expecting in terms of funding, but Yale, Berkeley, UMich, and University of Washington are all hyper competitive programs that Even the strongest applicants have trouble getting into. I suggest you apply to some schools with less of a name in addition to the reach schools. My feeling is that you will be lucky to get acceptance into one of these programs, meaning its possible, but not probable. The only applicants who almost 100% of the time get into these programs is if they have something like a "Best Student Paper Award" from a international conference. 


My overall suggestion is to apply to 10-12 schools total. I think you have a shot, it certainly wouldn't surprise me if you got into all of them, but on the converse it wouldn't surprise me if you got into none of them either.

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