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Are low GRE's more of a negative than high GRE's are more of a positive?


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It's clear that a high GRE cannot guarantee you admission into a top program like HKS and WWS.  For an applicant with 164 V/162 Q versus an applicant with a 167 V/165 Q, their differences in work experience and essay responses will be much more important than their differences in GRE's.  Although this happens when comparing applicants with median GRE's versus above median GRE's, does this also happen when comparing applicants with below median GRE's versus median GRE's?

I received a 161 V/162 Q on the GRE.  This is low for WWS: based on the ranges for accepted MPA students given by WWS, I would guess my V would be around their 25th percentile and my Q would be around their 50th percentile.  How much of a hindrance would my GRE be?  I've heard of people reference 1400 on the old GRE as the score to shoot for when trying to get into top MPP/MPA programs.  Unlike at every other MPP/MPA program this is below median for HKS and WWS, so does this rule still apply?

Edited by Ben414
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If you're wondering whether you should take the GRE again, I suggest no, because those are pretty high GRE scores. I don't think registering and registering for another exam date is a better use of your time than working your butt off on a great SOP and providing more info to your recommenders for their letters. If you're wondering how anxious you should be about those scores, the answer is to read the entire Am I Competitive thread from beginning to end and then bite your nails to the quick. =) You're going to be just fine!

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I second that. I wouldn't necessarily go back and take the test again. I also disagree with the assumption that your scores are low for WWS or HKS. There are people in those programs with near perfect GRE scores, but give HKS/WWS admissions pages another look. Your scores sound pretty average for WWS/HKS. Of course, as you alluded to, solid scores are necessary but not sufficient for admittance, so definitely focus your attention on really solid SOPs and recommendations. I think your energy would be much better spent there than on trying to raise your GRE score by a few points.

Best of luck!

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