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GRE- How much does it matter for my MA program?


historyspace
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Long time reader of this site, but first time post so please forgive me if this is a question asked over and over again. 
Per the title of my thread just how much does the GRE matter for admissions to a masters program? I know that sometimes (and correct me if I am wrong) it is used to determine funding sources for PhD students but how much does it matter for prospective MA students in the realm of admission to the program? 
My current situation: I am not happy with my scores at all: 154V, 139Q, 4.5AW, just abysmal percentile scores. I only took it once, if someone is interested I can layout the reason why but I don't think it's relevant for the purposes of my question. Even though I am not exactly applying to the "creme de la creme" of history graduate school programs this has me a little worried. My aim is to apply to the University of California at Irvine's (UCI) History MA program & according to their website it says their top candidates usually score in the 75th percentile and judging by my scores/how I usually do on standardized tests I couldn't hit that even if I had all the answers to the test.
I'm going to call UCI's admissions office and ask them. I've already asked a former professor of mine at my undergrad alma mater the University of Southern California (USC) who deals with all the admissions stuff in the history dept. and he said I shouldn't have to retake it judging by the 75th percentile average on their website. 
Nonetheless what do you guys think? UCI seems to employ a more holistic process in that in addition to the writing sample, statement of purpose, and CV you have to attach a personal history background paper. I got into a humanities based non GRE required program at Columbia & thus have the supplementary writings. They've been vetted and checked by great professors. Plus I had an in person meeting with 1 professor at UCI and a phone conference call with another and they both expressed great interest in my project idea. 
Here are my other accomplishments: 3.57-Cum Laude-BA History University of Southern California
-Worked in two archives- provided content for one and organized an important collection for the other. 
-Research assistant for a professor: did research for a book & editorial work on another. 
-Co-Creator of two history web based projects
All in all what do you guys think of my chances to get into the history MA program at UCI? I still plan to retake the GRE sometime down the road to keep myself in play for top tier PhD programs. I scheduled a retake that is coming up in a week or so, but my deadline is Dec 1 and I don't think I will do any better. Depending on advice from professors and admissions, I might cancel. 

Thanks!

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Hi historyspace,

If you have Professors and Administrators telling you that your GRE Score won't hurt your overall application, then I'd side with their opinions (as opposed to asking a website full of strangers what they think). Academically-speaking, the GRE won't be a "plus" on your application, while it will likely be for other applicants. Thus, you really have to make sure that the rest of your OVERALL application is strong AND that you present yourself properly. You might be a strong applicant right now, but if enough people also apply who appear 'better' (because of a stronger GRE score or some other factor), then you won't necessarily get an invite.

You seem to understand the need to retake the GRE though, so the next question would be: WHEN do you think you would do that? Sometime soon (while the materials/concepts are still 'fresh') or later on (when you would have to start from scratch? The GRE is a predictable, standardized Test, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. It just sounds like you haven't used the proper training materials yet.

GRE Masters aren't born, they're made,

Rich 

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