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170 Verbal, 4.0 AWA


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Before I got a perfect verbal score on my GRE, I was planning to apply to second and third tier sociology programs. I'm now considering applying to a few top-tier sociology programs, including Berkeley and Stanford. My jr/sr GPA is 4.0 (in an interdisciplinary studies intellectual history major at UGA) and my GRE scores are 170 V, 158 Q, 4.0 AWA. I'm expecting to submit a strong writing sample and SOP, and pretty decent letters.


But because the top-tier school world is a little alien to me, I'm struggling to get a sense of my chances of admittance. Is this a reasonable ambition? Do the facts that I'm coming from a non-sociology major at a middling university and have a low AWA score mean a lot? Are they adequately compensated for? Can I count on the factor of my "life experience" of living and working in Asia for 3-4 yrs after graduating to help me?


Of course there isn't any magic formula for admittance, but I'd welcome input from anybody who has a better grasp of what it takes and maybe what to include or emphasize in my SOP to improve my chances.

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I'm not sure if your post belongs in this section. Your GRE score, as you already know, is fine. I have friends in sociology that have told me the quant. is more important for their field, though I imagine your score is more than okay. You may head over to the specific soc. section and ask the folks over there about your specific subfield. Your GRE score matters very little once your application is actually being reviewed. 

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I can't see why you wouldn't try to go for the best possible institution. Apply for some TT programs, as well as some less ambitious places and see how it goes.

Since you seem to be worried that you won't get in, why don't you get in touch with some of the departments and academics that you would love to work with? Ask them (instead of us) about your chances and your fit with their department.

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