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Would it be a better idea to forgo on PhD apps this year based on my credentials?


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Hey, everyone.


I'm an MA graduate from Columbia with a degree in anthropology. In grad school, I had a 3.9 GPA, and I established solid relationships with my professors. Two of them are writing letters for me, while one from undergrad will be writing me one. 


I'm working on polishing my statement of purpose and writing sample, and I'm having my advisors look at them for me.




My GRE scores are abysmal. I have a mental disability that causes me to panic in test rooms. I took a Manhattan Prep course and private tutoring. I also did every single question on Magoosh. I studied for this exam for about 6 months, and I still got a 153 on the Verbal.


I have two options: forgo on PhD apps this year, or try retaking the exam in early December.


The schools I want are really competitive, and I want them to see that I'm an excellent student; I'm just a bad test-taker.


Any words of wisdom for me? 

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If you can, take the test again and try to think of it as just a practice test.  work on trying to relax yourself in text situations.  I know that is easier said than done I'm sure.  But the more you tell yourself this is nothing the less your brain will likely try to spazz out on you.  If your application deadlines allow you to see your approximate scores in a December gre test and you are happy go with it.  A lot of times one outlier (like good gpa nd good letters but not so hot gre will be ok).  

Maybe set yourself a cutoff like as long as i hit this quant and this verbal I'm happy.  If you make it send it out, if not you are ahead of the game next year.  I wouldn't necessarily NOT apply just because of a gre score especially if your LOR writers have already written letters and you've done most things.  You may be surprised by your results.  Also if you don't get in, this is all good practice for next year.

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As long as you can afford the application fees, there is no reason why you shouldn't apply: not applying just means on missing out on potential opportunities. You just need to be realistic in how your application season will turn out. You can always apply again after your GRE scores are up next year, again if you can afford it.  

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