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High verbal, low quant, 5.5 analytical--some analysis?

The Interdisciplinarian

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Hey, all. I've applied for a liberal arts-based interdisciplinary PhD program. Just got my official GRE scores today, and I'm bummed about getting a 5.5 on the writing. Normally, that would seem pretty great, but even though my verbal is pretty high (165), my quantitative is EXTREMELY low (148). When I visited my target program a few months back, the director literally told me, "We do NOT care about your quantitative score." Yet I'm still a little scared because I had perhaps stupidly assumed I'd get a 6 on the writing, which I'd done years ago when I took the GRE in its previous incarnation.

My graduate GPA is 3.75, but my undergrad is only 3.1-ish. I look good on paper in some ways, but I'm an older student (I'll be 41 when I start this program), and I'm scared that they might not want to accept someone who would be seeking tenure in their 50s, most likely, without having all other elements be pretty much stellar. The other consideration is that this program will only accept students they can fully fund, so while I might be a good academic "risk," maybe I'm not a good funding risk for some reason.

I do have plenty of time that I could retake the GRE, but there's always a chance I'd do worse, I suppose, and taking it the first time was incredibly stressful.

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If they explicitly said they don't care about the quant, they don't care about the quant--which is usually the case with lib. arts anyhow. (There's a prof in one humanities department at my undergrad who would tell worried applicants that he literally scored in the Q 20th percentile...and still got into his top choices [of course only one anecdote, but, yeah, it usually isn't that big a deal]). You also shouldn't worry at all about not getting a 6 on the writing. For one, a 5.5 is still the 98th or something percentile, and for two, your writing sample will almost assuredly be more important than a score (even a score as good as 5.5) on a test that hardly evaluates your ability to write in the way that you'll be writing for a doctoral program.

I can't really speak to the rest of your application, given that my experience is much different than yours as far as the age of pursuing this, but, with regards to your scores, you really have nothing to worry about.

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Yeah the AW is of negligible importance across programs, so long as you manage a 4 or 4.5. If you're concerned about it affecting your chances, don't be. You meet the minimum threshold, and past that your writing sample is a far more important measure of skill (who writes a publication in half an hour, eh?).

And if they said they do not care about Q... they do not care about Q. You have the only part of the GRE that kinda sorta matters (because in general the GRE doesn't matter much) absolutely down with that 165 V. You're good.

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