myaamiithiipi

A GRE question - worth retaking to bring up quant score?

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I'm working on applying to several linguistics PhD programs for Fall 2017, specifically for historical linguistics/language documentation (with an emphasis on linguistic geography).

I just took the GRE and got a 157 (67th percentile) for quantitative and a 168 (98th percentile) on verbal (I expect my essay scores will be similarly high).

I understand that linguistics grad applications are typically considered quite holistically, and overall I do feel good about my position - I have pretty good grades (3.76 GPA), I have good relationships with the three professors writing recommendations for me, I'm confident that I'll be able to write myself strong statements of purpose, and I've begun emailing and building relationships with professors at the schools I'm interested in. (A potential weak point is the fact that I don't have a bachelor's in linguistics - I have a Geographic Information Science B.S., a Political Science B.A., and a linguistics minor.)

So it doesn't seem particularly imperative for me to retake the GRE to get a quantitative score more in the range of the 75th-80th percentile, but I have the nagging worry that someone with similar qualifications and interests will edge me out on the basis of their higher quant score. Is this a realistic concern? Obviously it's ultimately up to me, but would it be a worthwhile investment to study more and retake for a higher quant score?

Edited by myaamiithiipi

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I'd lean towards retaking if:

  • You have other components of your GRE score pretty much ready so you can make time for a GRE retake
  • You have checked your program's website and its student profile and feel a couple of points on quant could put you in better standing
  • You don't think test fees are (a relatively big) issue for you
  • You have looked at your practice test scores and your actual GRE quant score and feel you haven't plateaued in terms of potential improvement (some people can't go above a certain mark, no matter how much work they put in)
  • You have enough time, resources and dedication to work for an improvement (generally, I'd say if you expect a 1-2 point improvement compared to, say, a 3-5 point improvement, you should probably not retake)

(Also, how important are quant scores in linguistics? You seem to know precisely what you want out of your program; that could help offset some concerns if the choice is between you and an application with a couple of points higher on quant but with little sense of what he/she wants out of a linguistics PhD.)

I know these are a lot of variables, but I hope they would help stimulate your thinking. Only you can make the best final decision.

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On October 2, 2016 at 1:37 PM, myaamiithiipi said:

I'm working on applying to several linguistics PhD programs for Fall 2017, specifically for historical linguistics/language documentation (with an emphasis on linguistic geography).

I just took the GRE and got a 157 (67th percentile) for quantitative and a 168 (98th percentile) on verbal (I expect my essay scores will be similarly high).

I understand that linguistics grad applications are typically considered quite holistically, and overall I do feel good about my position - I have pretty good grades (3.76 GPA), I have good relationships with the three professors writing recommendations for me, I'm confident that I'll be able to write myself strong statements of purpose, and I've begun emailing and building relationships with professors at the schools I'm interested in. (A potential weak point is the fact that I don't have a bachelor's in linguistics - I have a Geographic Information Science B.S., a Political Science B.A., and a linguistics minor.)

So it doesn't seem particularly imperative for me to retake the GRE to get a quantitative score more in the range of the 75th-80th percentile, but I have the nagging worry that someone with similar qualifications and interests will edge me out on the basis of their higher quant score. Is this a realistic concern? Obviously it's ultimately up to me, but would it be a worthwhile investment to study more and retake for a higher quant score?

Good enough for your to get a sky interview from uhawii manoa which is a department has strength in language documentation and historical linguistics for austronesian languages. Unless you are applying for an MA that does not require interview, this score is good enough, as GRE is probably not that a big deal for linguistics Ph.D. admission.(In fact, some top programs do not require GRE at all). The deal lies in SOP, LORs, and writing sample.

Probably SOP is the most important among the three. You just cannot get into a program with a  crappy SOP, even if you got a perfect GRE score. 

I do not know about Berkeley. But just a side note, Berkeley has a good number of people working in language documentation.

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