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Why Not Report Results?


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There's a thread going on the philosophy board about why people might not include GRE scores when reporting results. 

I've noticed that there are a number of "results" reported on the forum that are not on the results page, and I'm curious as to "why not report results (interviews, acceptance, rejection) etc. As several on the philosophy thread pointed out, more data helps the future generations put together a better picture of this nebulous and anxiety inducing process. Also, I'm trying to do literally anything to keep myself from refreshing my inbox, and maybe you need a distraction too. 

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I had two immediate thoughts, though they're pretty linked and reliant on one another.

1) Anonymity - Releasing specific results such as GPA and GRE makes it far easier for programs and individuals to identify you.

2) Embarrassment - We're all on GC because we're seeking to maximize every effort to get accepted somewhere. Most of us are Type A personalities or pretty darn close to it. We're likely to retake the GRE for a boost of 2+ points in V or a .5 increase in writing. We scrutinize the placement of words in our PS and go through 20+ drafts and have 5+ readers also look them over. We spend a summer using a tool like Magoosh, we do 2+ Masters degrees to boost our chances to get into Harvard, etc. So, after all of this work - what if you still don't get in? To say that even a 4.0 GPA, 170V, 6 W couldn't get in at their top school. Or more likely, what if you just can't break 160V and you have this cloud hanging over your head that this stupid test is going to do you in. We (GC users) are outliers, we're not the norm (I strongly suspect).

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12 minutes ago, xypathos said:

I had two immediate thoughts, though they're pretty linked and reliant on one another.

1) Anonymity - Releasing specific results such as GPA and GRE makes it far easier for programs and individuals to identify you.

This is why I haven't reported certain responses, as I'd bee asked to keep them confidential. Other responses I've been more apt to post on the results page *because* its not tied to my screen name or GC identity. 

As to your second point: this is something that I've heard articulated before. It would be interesting to compare GC applicants to the "average" applicant. I've also heard it said that out of the hundreds of applications some departments receive, many shouldn't have bothered submitting. I've always wondered what that means. Putting together an application takes hours, even if you put in the bare minimum effort. Who are these people paying hundreds of dollars and many hours applying who haven't also done some research about it?

 

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I think some people don't bother getting a clear idea of what makes a program unique, or send out applications that are not remotely tailored to the program to which they're applying. Years ago, I was doing an MA in a Clinical Psych program, and the 2nd year students helped read the applications for the 1st years.  It was a competitive program that only took about 1/10 people. At least 50% of the applications were either not complete, totally horrible, not geared towards the program (such as, social psych instead of clinical psych, etc.)  Different field, MA program, but still I'd bet some of the same issues apply.

Edited by JJCA
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I hear what you're saying, but I don't think releasing those numbers would help anyone. My husband is in a clinical psych PhD program at a very competitive school, and last year he and two classmates were asked to help sort through all the applications received, before the faculty even looked at them. He said that they didn't give GPA and GRE scores more than a glance. As long as they were in the ballpark, they would go ahead and look at the applicants research interests and decide from there.

Some schools make big deal over GPA and GRE, and I've been told that some will even "inflate" their accepted applicants' average GRE and GPA for vanity's sake. But they just want to know that you're basically smart. I even got into U Chicago's MA in Divinity program with an undergrad GPA of 3.25. In short, I think releasing that information would be interesting, but ultimately not helpful. IMHO

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2 hours ago, rheya19 said:

In short, I think releasing that information would be interesting, but ultimately not helpful. IMHO

I tend to agree with this, and haven't posted mine for this reason. I've spent an embarrassingly large amount of time going through everyone's reported GPA/GRE scores on the results page, and the only consistency I find is that none of it is consistent. You'll have an accept and a reject from the same school with average and super high scores, respectively. While some schools might emphasize those scores above all else, we're not getting any kind of clear picture without also knowing the posters' fit, LOR quality, SOP quality, publications, etc. 

A candidate with a perfect scores could see that a poster with lower scores got accepted to their top choice school, and be given false hope, not knowing that they're about to get rejected for something unrelated to those scores. Or worse, they could assume that there's some sort of injustice happening, when the fact is that they weren't a good fit, despite having good test scores or a good GPA. 

While posted scores are something fun to look at, I don't think they provide any good intel into a program or a candidates' likelihood of admission.

Edited by MayaK
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Considering that a majority of the verbal scores posted are between 163 and 170 I think it would be valuable to post my results with GRE scores because my verbal is under 160. Looking at the results page, one would never think they stand a chance with a verbal under 160, but what you cannot tell from the results page are the things that show in an application, such as fit, whether English is someone's first language, or the fact that I took the GRE on 2 weeks of study after committing just this fall to pursuing a PhD. 

However, what are the negatives to doing so? Do schools actually look through the results page on here (which makes accepted students easily identifiable), do they care if their results are posted, etc?

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9 minutes ago, jsant09 said:

However, what are the negatives to doing so? Do schools actually look through the results page on here (which makes accepted students easily identifiable), do they care if their results are posted, etc?

The negatives are giving people another thing to obsess over, when they are already stressed out as it is. And although you only see verbal scores between 163-170 on this site, it seems like people with lower scores would be less likely to be posting them, so what you're seeing isn't a fair distribution. PLUS there are many, many applicants who probably never visit this website, so there's no way of knowing if posting scores here would give you a clear outlook on the applicant pool as a whole. Only more to compare yourself to and feel nervous about. IMHO 

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13 hours ago, rheya19 said:

 it seems like people with lower scores would be less likely to be posting them, so what you're seeing isn't a fair distribution. 

That's pretty much why I would want to post with my GRE scores. If someone with lower scores is trying to gauge their chances by comparing scores, they might count themselves out before even trying.

On the other hand, as has been mentioned there is no rhyme or reason; people should really just be consulting with their professors and others they trust about applications. 

Edited by jsant09
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48 minutes ago, jsant09 said:

That's pretty much why I would want to post with my GRE scores. If someone with lower scores is trying to gauge their chances by comparing scores, they might count themselves out before even trying.

On the other hand, as has been mentioned there is no rhyme or reason; people should really just be consulting with their professors and others they trust about applications. 

But the score distribution here on thegradcafe.com would only include whoever uses this website. And since I don't think there's any data showing if the users here represent all kinds of applicants in their actual proportions, it's still not likely to be a fair distribution. I agree with you though, that students should contact programs directly with their questions. Every school is a little bit different.

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