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Help assess chances for admission


Evgeny
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Hi everyone,

I will apply to PhD in Poli Sci on the next Fall. I'm an international student (from Russia), my university is number one in Russia but in the world ranking system is only 173. I'm a junior (actually we have 5-year educational system, so it means I'm on my 4th-year student). I have GPA about 3,2 and hope that eventually it will be about 3,4-3,5. I'm majoring in Public Administration with minor in crisis management. But my year thesis is about nuclear proliferation and international law.

I have an summer internship experience at Harvard Belfer Center (Kennedy School of Government) and I'm still working on some articles with professors from there. I hope I'll get the recom lett from one of this professors. And I also will have eventually another one from veru well-known professor from Russia. And another one is from my school thesis advisor.

Also, I'm a junior fellow in one of the Russian center for international study and done internship at Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I had studied general physics (in the same university with GPA 3,1) for three years before I quit and reapply to School of Public Administration. So, I believe that I have strong enough math background for PhD. In addition, I really have deep understanding of physical part of nuclear weapons process.

Also, I have very active public life in my school. I'm a president of Expert-Analitical Club, member of Union of Youth Scientists of my university, etc. Represent my country in Youth G8 Summit in Italy. and going to Stanford conference on April.

Has five-six publication in Russian journals on security issue. Some articles is under consideration in american journals.

So, I has strong intention to apply on PhD with focusing on Security study(or International relations in some university) and Models and Methods.

I'm considering Columbia, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Berkley, NYU.

I just warry a bit because I'm not american therefore not complitely understand how the system is work. If you could assess my chances and gave me some advises, I would be very grateful.

PS I hope that Quant. part of GRE will be not tough for me, since I have strong math background, and I'll take it on 700-800. As for Verb, I'm not sure))) but I'll be working on it.

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PS. Also, I'm a junior fellow in one of the Russian center for international study (at the time when I'll aplly, it'll be about 1,5 year) and done internship at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Research assistant (for a 2,5 year) and teaching assistant for my thesis adviser.

Intellectual interest: the spread of nuclear weapons, US-Russian collaboration in nonproliferation policy, especially in the Middle East, arms control, Models and Methods in nonproliferation study, theory of deterrent.

Edited by Evgeny
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My advice is to get your GPA higher before you apply.

I agree that a 3.2 from a typical American university would make it difficult to apply to most PhD programs, though I can't speak for the Russian grading system. It seems that your experiences would make you a solid candidate once graduate programs take a closer look at your credentials. However, since schools have to look at hundreds of apps each year, they probably only give a closer look at those which meet certain GPA/GRE requirements (this is just an educated guess, feel free to correct me). I think your best bet would be to get the GPA up to 3.4-3.5 and give a good deal of time to studying for the GRE (mostly vocab; the math is pretty easy as long as you don't spend too much time on the ones you can't get and run out of time).

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Thanks, Natofone and Interista!

Yes, I agree with both of you that GPA - 3.2 is not enough. But, as I said before, I hope to have 3.4-3.5, at the moment when application process will begin.

I just would like to know whether 3.4-3.5 and strong GRE is enough for my case to be seriously considered for top-10.

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Thanks, Natofone and Interista!

Yes, I agree with both of you that GPA - 3.2 is not enough. But, as I said before, I hope to have 3.4-3.5, at the moment when application process will begin.

I just would like to know whether 3.4-3.5 and strong GRE is enough for my case to be seriously considered for top-10.

I hope so, given my own GPA/GRE (3.5/800/710). I think you'll at least be considered with similar scores, but I'm well aware that my GPA is in the lower range among accepted applicants.

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Sounds like GRE\GPA combination has the most powerful influence, and even if you have a very bright mind but your GPA\GRE are not enough, it's almost impossible to be admitted in the one of the top10 universities...

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I wouldn't necessarily say that GPA and GRE are a deciding factor in most cases, but if you're talking about the very top schools in the country, high scores in both are very important. I'm not sure how/if the requirements differ for international students, but I imagine a very high TOEFL is also expected. Your research and experience certainly seem impressive and should work in your favor.

Edited by rwfan88
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If you have good recommendations, research experience, and clear research goals, it can help bypass the low GPA. My GPA was lowish, too. I'm in somewhere pretty good.

I also think so, because this is common sense. If you know what exactly do you want and show significant research achievement in this field, it should be at least lay the good groundwork for your admission.

Do you think my research experience is enough or not? Or at least considerable?

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I also think so, because this is common sense. If you know what exactly do you want and show significant research achievement in this field, it should be at least lay the good groundwork for your admission.

Do you think my research experience is enough or not? Or at least considerable?

It's hard to tell with just what you've provided, but it sounds pretty decent and comparable to what some people on these sorts of forums have. You're going to have to be more specific and detailed in your personal statement, though. Alternatively, you could also try a few good Master's or MPP programs and transition to a PhD to show schools you can handle graduate-level work. I applied and got into about 10 MPPs in the past and about half those schools offered me tuition remission as well as a stipend (though that was a little before the economy totally tanked).

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Sounds like GRE\GPA combination has the most powerful influence, and even if you have a very bright mind but your GPA\GRE are not enough, it's almost impossible to be admitted in the one of the top10 universities...

This is true unless you have really unique/impressive credentials (like grad work and publications) and strong letters of recommendation.

I've been told that the quant section of the GRE is used to make cut offs at top schools, between 650 and 700.

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