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Does GRE writing score matter to Philosophy PhD admission?


yhkim
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Hi, I am planning to apply for Philosophy PhD programs in the US and was wondering about the importance of GRE scores in admission.

Oh and I'm not a native speaker in English. I didn't do my degrees in English-speaking countries. Just to let you know, if this turns out to be relevant...

I just got my GRE score, which is V 170 Q 170 W 4.5. I'm happy to have these V and Q scores but ... I'm hoping to get into one of the top programs in philosophy, and from what I saw on this site, it seems like the absolute majority of the admitted students have writing scores of at least 5.0. (5.5 seems to be the average.) 

Some say that GRE works as sort of pass/fail and I'll be just ok if I pass the minimum. I've heard some schools take into consideration that the student is not a native speaker and that speed really matters in GRE writing.

But I'm not sure about that. Maybe they could just take this a sign of weakness in language, won't they....? 

 

My GPA is almost perfect, but as everyone in the field knows, it's getting enormously competitive and almost everyone who applies to the top programs seems to have perfect GPA. 

So I thought a low analytic writing score could matter in the admission process.

 

If it matters a lot, I think I should retake the exam. But if the effect is minimal, I would just take more time to revise my writing sample.

If anyone knows about the importance of GRE in philosophy program admissions, please help me out. There are not many people here I can ask for advice, so I'll really, really, appreciate any tip or information you give me. Thanks...!!

 

+ Does it hurt to apply two or three times to the same program? Is there any disadvantage, formal or informal, for a person who got rejected last year and then applies again?

 

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Without knowing anything about particular philosophy programs, so take this with a grain of salt, a 4.5 isn't all that bad. You also have an excellent V score, which should help anyone who's concerned become unconcerned. If you have strong essays (language + content) and a good TOEFL score, plus recommenders who can explicitly say that your English is strong, I would think that you should do just fine. The GRE is usually one of those things that you just need to pass, and excelling doesn't help you much, but that always comes with potential caveats and exceptions. Overall, if you had to choose where to spend your time and energy, I'd recommend spending it on polishing your SOP and writing sample, not on retaking the GRE. I think you're very likely at the point of diminishing returns on that particular front. 

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