Benefits of a Good GRE Score
Benefits of a Good GRE Score are DISPUTED
Some programs require a GRE score in only admission decisions. Others use the GRE in making scholarship decisions as well. Whereas for some, GRE is just a general requirement.
Many top programs such as MIT’s Electrical & Computer Science program do not even require a GRE score.
Nevertheless a good GRE Score is required for an admission in a good university in many fields.
So what’s a good GRE score?
There isn’t a specific benchmark of a good GRE score. For instance in electrical engineering a good GRE score will be 165+ on quant but in literature a good GRE score will be 160+ on verbal. Moreover, GRE requirements vary from one university to another. Top programs require a higher GRE average as compared to those by low ranked programs.
For instance, let’s assume that you got a GRE score of 320 and you want to apply to an engineering program at Carnegie Mellon (CMU), State University of New york (SUNY) and MIT. Now:
1. The average GRE score of CMU’s admitted applicants is 328, so here you will be seen as a below average applicant.
2. The average GRE score of SUNY is about 310. Therefore at SUNY, you will be a much stronger applicant for an admission and some possible funding as well.
3. MIT does not require a GRE score for your program; hence a GRE score will not effect your application in any way.
Let’s assume that I have an above average GRE score, so what advantages do I have?
A high GRE score can offer options but it is not the only deciding factor. Other factors such as academic skill, commitment to the chosen field, work experience & extra-curricular activities also weigh heavily in final decisions.
A few students get admitted to Stanford’s Engineering programs with a meager 305-315 on GRE. This is because they might have excelled in other areas and have impressed the admissions committee.
Top GRE scorers can benefit by applying everywhere. This does not guarantee an admission or funding but it does open a lot of doors. For some universities, a tuition-reduction scholarship based on GRE is available. Therefore there are several advantages of GRE as well as advantages of high GRE score.
“Andrews University offers a 50% waiver with a GRE score of above 320.”
“Illinois state university requires a minimum GRE score of 300 for providing funding to prospective students.”
All of this makes the GRE important.
What is the exact weight of GRE scores?
It varies by program. For instance, Harvard University’s Department of Education says:
“If your GRE scores are significantly low (i.e., below the 50 percentile in Verbal, the 30 percentile in Quantitative, and 3.5 in Analytical Writing), your chances for admission will be greatly reduced.”
“While there is no minimum requirement for GRE scores, a strong application would include percentiles in the 90th percentile for the MS program.” Stanford’s CS program.
“If your scores are below the program average, it is highly recommended that you retake this exam.” University of Iowa.
Some programs even use it to offset a low GPA – for instance university of Houston.
Rarely, applicants who look really promising – great experience, essays etc. – but whose undergrad CGPA was checkered, can use a high GRE score to reassure the admissions panel that it’s the failures that were a fluke, not the success.
Regardless of your situation, GRE is vital. Armed with a solid GRE score, a worthwhile experience, and the passion to push the limits of your field, you can gain a fully funded admission in top programs.
* The best way to find the importance of GRE is by contacting the university’s department where you want to apply.