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Yixuan5511

Should I retake the GRE for SIPA, HKS, Harris and other schools?

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Hi everyone,

I just took the GRE today and received the following scores:

V 160 (86th percentile)

Q 164 (87th percentile)

This is only the unofficial scores and I'm still waiting for AW.

I am applying for MPP/MIA/MPA programs this fall. My targeted schools are: Columbia SIPA, Berkeley Goldman, NYU Wagner, HKS, Chicago Harris, Duke Sanford, Georgetown McCourt.

As for the rest of my application:

graduated from a good liberal arts college in 2016 (Economics and International Development)

GPA 3.83,

studied abroad at Oxford University

pretty good recommendations

Languages: English, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish

Quantitative courses: intermediate Macro & Micro, Calculus II, and Quantitative Econ

I had a few internships during college and now a one-year full-time work experience in NGO. I'm moving to Peru to work at another NGO this October so by the time the program starts in 2018 fall, I'll have two years experience.

Concerns:

I'm a bit concerned about my score since 1) neither V nor Q is above 90th percentile; 2) I hope to receive some forms of scholarship to help finance the school, so I'm not sure if my scores are competitive enough or should I retake the GRE to aim for 90th percentile on both V and Q.  

 

Thanks.

Edited by Yixuan5511

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The best way to gain more money is to work a couple more years. Barring that, a higher score could help to a small degree. However, since you're competing for a small number of scholarships with many other applicants, the fringes can potentially matter in an out-sized way. If you believe that you can score at least 5 points higher on the next test, I'd say the potential benefit is worth the small cost.

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I would encourage you to retake the exam, since you have plenty of time, and it's one of the only elements of your application you can still control (the other major element being your statements). I took my first exam in late October, and though my results were good, I wonder whether my scholarship offers at specific places (like Duke) would have increased with a higher quant score. Different programs in the same "tier" weigh scores differently. Make sure you can increase or maintain your score in each area. With your existing scores, you will definitely get some scholarship money from most of those schools.

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Just for a data point: I was admitted to the HKS MPP with a 163V/162Q, but received no aid. 

Per other's remarks, given your other experience and academic performance, the marginal benefit from slightly increased scores may not be outstanding. 

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I got into HKS with a 162V/160Q. Also got substantial financial aid. 

Unless you're applying for Harvard's MPA/ID, which is a lot more quantitatively rigorous, I think you should focus your energy on other parts of your application instead of retaking the GRE. 

 

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You have fantastic scores and if I were you I would work on the other parts of the application which you have control over (more importantly, your essays). Its grand that you are using the extra time to work on something relevant.

I would also suggest looking into Princeton. They are hard to get into but more generous with aid. It is not unlikely that you will be accepted at HKS, but getting scholarship money there is very difficult. To be honest scholarship money is more contingent in other factors after you cross the 160 GRE threshold

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Your score is great!

Just out of my curiosity, should I retake the exam as well? My GPA is 3.4 and GRE: V 160 Q 156. I have four years working experiences for consulting firm and international government agency. I am fine with no scholarship or grant, since my company will pay for it.

Thanks.

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On 10/11/2017 at 1:28 AM, jxmp said:

I got into HKS with a 162V/160Q. Also got substantial financial aid. 

Unless you're applying for Harvard's MPA/ID, which is a lot more quantitatively rigorous, I think you should focus your energy on other parts of your application instead of retaking the GRE. 

 

Congrats! How's about MPP program? I heard that all HKS students have Quantitative score above 160, is that true? 

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On 10/10/2017 at 2:28 PM, jxmp said:

I got into HKS with a 162V/160Q. Also got substantial financial aid. 

Unless you're applying for Harvard's MPA/ID, which is a lot more quantitatively rigorous, I think you should focus your energy on other parts of your application instead of retaking the GRE. 

 

What was your GPA????

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On 10/13/2017 at 2:34 PM, Seb_MPP said:

Your score is great!

Just out of my curiosity, should I retake the exam as well? My GPA is 3.4 and GRE: V 160 Q 156. I have four years working experiences for consulting firm and international government agency. I am fine with no scholarship or grant, since my company will pay for it.

Thanks.

I would suggest retaking it. Get your quant about 160 and I think you would have a good chance at getting in. 

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On 10/13/2017 at 11:39 AM, Seb_MPP said:

Congrats! How's about MPP program? I heard that all HKS students have Quantitative score above 160, is that true? 

Definitely not. HKS hosts a "math camp" before the program starts for students who don't have strong quantitative backgrounds. I think students are invited to math camp based on either a low GRE quant score or if they lack introductory coursework in statistics. 

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On 13/10/2017 at 3:39 PM, Seb_MPP said:

Congrats! How's about MPP program? I heard that all HKS students have Quantitative score above 160, is that true? 

 

No! HKS has a very diverse group of students. What's common knowledge is that the admissions office seeks people with potential to be "leaders", whatever that may mean. Point is, that involves people without a necessairly strong Quant background.

Of course, if you have over 160Q, that doesn't hurt.

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