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Feeling Discouraged from GPA/GRE Scores on this Site

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Do I actually have a chance in grad school? 


I took my GRE for the first time back in May and I thought I did pretty decent (V/Q/A: 151, 155, 4.0).  But when I look at people's scores on the forums and in the acceptance pages, I see a lot of 155-170 on verbal.  I was just happy to make it over the 50th percentile in verbal.  The only thing that distinguishes me from people is that my quantitative score is higher than average.  My analysis writing is average.  I don't want to take the GRE again because I hate the atmosphere of the testing center, but I'm considering of retaking it again...Once my busy school work is out of the way, I might use Magoosh for vocabulary since verbal is my weakest section.       


My overall GPA is 3.655, but I still have a year left for my GPA to go up.  The highest my GPA can go is a 3.734 and that's if I get a 4.0 every semester, but I don't think my chances are that high because of the difficulties of the classes.  My GPA will more like range between 3.66-3.70.  The average GPA I seem to see on the acceptance pages are 3.8-4.0, and when looking at my own scores, it makes me feel like I don't have much of a chance of getting into a graduate program.  I still have the bad habit of treating my GPA as a scale for self confidence and I'm never happy with my results.       


With my statistics, the only thing that makes me think I might stand out among the other applicants is my volunteering hours.  I've been working at the hospital for over 3 years and I work as a health worker for an autistic child.  I try to be active in my university's NSSHLA club and I was also active in Red Cross at one point.  I also volunteered at a private speech clinic with a couple of speech pathologists and I hope that my volunteering experience will allow me to get strong recommendation letters.  Even with my experience, I'm still not sure if that can override my very mediocre scores. 

Edited by rainsonata
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Which classes do you have left?


Voice Disorders

Language Disorders

General Biology




Neuroanatomy and Physio for SLP

Management for Mono and Bilingual Clients SLP


Counseling for SLP


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Those courses are very diverse! I haven't seen any school that offer those courses at the undergraduate level (AAC, Autism, Mono/Bilingual Client Mgmt, Counselling). I believe those specialized courses will help set you apart.

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Keep in mind there is some level of bias. Those with higher scores are more likely to report what they got on the GRE, while those with lower scores are not. 


I have also seen a level of sensationalism, not only here, but on other similar websites and forums regarding grad admissions, to overstate the qualifications you need to get into certain programs. This could stem from a number of sources: people got denied at places and tried to aid that disappointment by inflating the standards of these places, people want to make it seem like their applications are better than they actually are, people want to inflate their abilities because they got into a prestigious institution, people want deter others from applying to certain schools they are applying to, ect.


A fairly good micro-example of this phenomenon, or somewhat related anyways, is that on this forum rarely if ever do people say they have average or bad letters of recommendation. It is almost always "my letters are strong or stellar" or something similar. Why? Because there is no actual concrete way of identifying this because there is no score to reference or GPA, or even the ability to post your SOP. So in other words, when people have the chance, they often inflate how good or how competitive something they are involved in is.




That being said, your scores are a little on the low side. I would retake next summer or whenever you graduate to bump them up.


But I will say this...too many people on this board spend too much time worrying about if they can get in to X or Y school, and not enough time actually applying there. At the end of the day you make the best application you possibly can and you see what happens. The worst case scenario is you don't get accepted, but life goes on.

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Don't worry.  

It also seems to me like there are a lot of high scores on this website, and I think victorydance makes some really great points, especially about self-reporting. I try to look at it as a source of inspiration (come on I know it soudns cheesy, but really!) and to take heart in much of the encouragement people provide to one another here, regardless of your GRE scores.


I have no expertise in your field, but I would say, as an outsider, considering that your field involves an apparent level of direct public service, your volunteer work seems like it could potentially make a significant difference.  In any case, you must feel good about all you've given to those communities. That makes a powerful statement by itself.


Keep doing what you love and what inspires and moves you. My belief is the rest will follow suit.


And! Since you can, and you care, you ought to go ahead and retake the GRE after some good studying.  You mentioned you didn't like the testing center you took it at last time, perhaps you can retake it at a different center, have you looked?

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To give you some hope-- my  combined GRE score was lower than yours, with a lower math score (148) and higher verbal score (156). I got into all of my top schools. I did have a good GPA and two years of related experience and spent months on my personal statement, but my scores were definitely on the lower end for those who were applying/accepted into my program. I spent months agonizing over my poor scores (and even took the test again and did worse) but everything ended up working out. My feeling is that schools generally (at least the ones I applied to) cared mostly about your combined score, and as long as you were above a certain mark (usually 300) you were fine. Don't lose hope! The GRE is not the end all be all. However, if it is causing you that much anxiety you COULD take them again, just to feel like you're doing everything in your power to boost your application. Taking the GRE again didn't improve my score but it did lessen my anxiety about the whole process.

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