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Low quant GRE score weigh heavily in overall app?


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Hi everyone!  I'm in the process of applying to a bunch of programs for fall 2016 (Columbia DrPH Pop Health and PhD SMS, NYU PhD, CUNY DPH, Harvard DrPH,, Drexel DrPH, Rutgers PhD, Boston DrPH, UCLA DrPH- trying to maximize my chances of acceptance), and really concerned about my low GRE scores, especially quant (140!!!).  I scored 155 v and 5 written.

I have a MS in global health (3.9 GPA), 3 years consecutive work experience coordinating and managing NIH-funded projects at a large academic medical center. I am also confident I will have strong LORs.    Any feedback?  Wondering if I should retake the GRE in the coming months... 

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I don't know much about the DrPH programs, but are the PhD's in epi? 

The value of a quant scores vary school to school, but most consider it just part of a bigger application picture. Doctoral level programs are much more likely going to consider LORs and work/research experience more important that GRE scores. However, some do use low standardized test scores or GPAs as automatic cutoffs.

That being said, you might want to consider a retake. You have time - why not spend 6-8 weeks studying hard and retaking? 140 is rather low. I think if you could score in the top 50th percentile you can just put the GRE worries behind you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with masgniw. I took the GRE again because I wasn't satisfied with my score. If the PhD's are in epi, quant scores are important. I know that some schools do not consider an applicant if he/she doesn't meet the minimum. You have time...! For DrPH programs, I would go and check their websites to see what the admitted students got for their quant scores. 

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I got my PhD from SMS at Columbia.

Personally, I would also advise a retake. I know at least for the PhD in SMS at Columbia, you need to be accepted by both the SMS department and the other social science department you apply to. Your GRE scores would be on the low side. I'm not as familiar with the other programs, but those are all top-ranked schools of public health and a higher GRE could only benefit you.

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