OptimNeuroSoc

Are GRE Scores the primary cutoff during PhD application process?

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I am an International student who wishes to pursue his doctoral studies in US for biological science. I got reviews from most of my peers in US that the GRE scores are supposedly the primary cut off within universities during the application process selection. I would like to know about the same since my GRE scores are not that good and would like to take a decision whether I should apply for fall 2019 or atleast a lower tier university with my research interest as compared to my current selection. Hoping for a good response at the earliest.

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Some universities use GRE cutoffs while others do not. It’s not a universal thing and it varies quite a bit. I’ve seen 300GRE/3.0gpa as a cutoff before, but usually to be competitive they have to be higher. I’ve also seen “you should have at least a 310 for evaluation” but I’m not sure if that’s a cutoff or simply a recommendation. What’s your score currently? That’ll help us give you advice. 

Edited by Neuro15

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2 hours ago, Neuro15 said:

Some universities use GRE cutoffs while others do not. It’s not a universal thing and it varies quite a bit. I’ve seen 300GRE/3.0gpa as a cutoff before, but usually to be competitive they have to be higher. I’ve also seen “you should have at least a 310 for evaluation” but I’m not sure if that’s a cutoff or simply a recommendation. What’s your score currently? That’ll help us give you advice. 

My current score is as mentioned below

Q: 156

V: 149 

Total 305

AW: 4.0

And my GPA is 3.93 (overall) 

And 2 years of research experience. 

One in a molecular biology lab and another currently in a neurooncology lab.

So will my GRE scores possibly screw me up during the application selections?

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3 hours ago, OptimNeuroSoc said:

My current score is as mentioned below

Q: 156

V: 149 

Total 305

AW: 4.0

And my GPA is 3.93 (overall) 

And 2 years of research experience. 

One in a molecular biology lab and another currently in a neurooncology lab.

So will my GRE scores possibly screw me up during the application selections?

Ok, well your GPA is great and your research experience seems fine. That’s good! Your GRE certainly won’t help, but I do think you can get into somewhere with those scores. I don’t think you’ll get filtered out at the vast majority, so past that hopefully the rest of your app can push you through.

If you retake and score well you stand a reasonable chance at an upper tier school. Just something to keep in mind, does the need to start school this app cycle outweigh that? That’s for you to decide. 

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GRE scores aren't all that black and white, but it depends entirely on the school.  It's going to depend on what the school places the most emphasis on.  I've heard some programs are planning to remove the GRE requirement all together.  The averages I've seen for most of the places I'm looking at are within 70% or higher (but this is also an average).  I would contact the program to see if they have a strict cut off or not.

Anecdotally, I've applied with a 152V/149Q during one cycle years ago and received a couple interviews but ultimately didn't get in.  I did get pass the initial screen, but I didn't receive an interview everywhere I applied to either.

Edited by StemCellFan

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On 11/13/2017 at 7:59 PM, StemCellFan said:

GRE scores aren't all that black and white, but it depends entirely on the school.  It's going to depend on what the school places the most emphasis on.  I've heard some programs are planning to remove the GRE requirement all together.  The averages I've seen for most of the places I'm looking at are within 70% or higher (but this is also an average).  I would contact the program to see if they have a strict cut off or not.

Anecdotally, I've applied with a 152V/149Q during one cycle years ago and received a couple interviews but ultimately didn't get in.  I did get pass the initial screen, but I didn't receive an interview everywhere I applied to either.

Thanks for your advice @StemCellFan. Just hoping my GPA, SOP, research experience, LORs and publication helps me get through without any hassle as compared to my low GRE scores. All the best to you too :) 

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As mentioned, use of GRE scores by programs is idiosyncratic at best, but one thing you can almost be assured of is that with the more competitive/prestigious programs comes a higher emphasis placed on GRE scores.  

What I have learned since first applying is that often times it is as though GRE scores are used as the differentiator between two or more candidates when only one spot is available. 

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