What is a Good GRE score for Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan?
Every Fulbright applicant asks me this question; “What is a good score on the GRE to get a Fulbright Scholarship?”
A lot of students are not aware of the fact that just how intricate it is to answer this question. Ofcourse I can go on and tell everyone “You know, you really want to aim for a 165 or higher on both sections of the GRE.” Now there is nothing wrong with my answer except that we all know that anything above 165 is an exceptional score. However Fulbright is an entirely different ball game. GRE scores though a very important criterion in getting you in, relies on a multitude of other factors as well.
For starters you must know how the GRE is scored.
The GRE is scored on a scale from 130-170 for each of the verbal and quant sections. This means that you can significantly improve your score as well as your percentile with slight improvements in your performance. You will be amazed to know that by just a 1-point increase in your score you can raise your score by over 5 percentile.
Your percentile tells the friendly Fulbright admissions panel about how well you did in comparison to students around the globe. So for instance your raw score may not be that high but if you scored, let’s say 80 percentile that means you are pretty competitive globally.
Moreover your GRE scores are not the only criterion on which the Fulbright committee is going to make the decisions. Portray yourself in the best possible manner and write a spectacular personal statement that elaborates your long term goals and how would they help Pakistan. Get hold of flattering recommendation letters from PhD. professors and accomplished professionals.
Moreover remember that GRE is not only used by the Fulbright panel in determining your intellectual prowess but also by the universities and programs in the U.S. So do your research – look at the average GRE score of accepted students at your prospective programs and the schools you’re interested in and what do they have to say about minimum GRE scores? So for instance Harvard needs above 85 percentile for nearly all of their programs. Using these numbers set goals for yourself and try to aim as much above the average score as possible.
USEFP stance on GRE score
The USEFP clearly says that although GRE is an important indicator that allows them to benchmark applicants from different academic backgrounds and professions however different disciplines have different GRE score requirements. So for that matter engineers would be expected to score well on the quant section whereas applicants from the Arts background will require a high verbal. Economics would require good scores in both sections.
The minimum benchmark that USEFP sets is a 135 (300 on the old version) for each GRE section. However don’t be duped by the simplicity of these scores – it is very unlikely that such scores would get you anywhere, however this is the minimum that you need to have.
Unfortunately unlike ETS, USEFP does not share the average GRE scores of Pakistani Fulbright applicants from previous years. However in my own personal experience I have seen my students with an overall score of more than 310 get the Fulbright with ease. Here is an important post on the average scores that Pakistani students got on the GRE last year.
In summary I would just say that above all, study hard for the GRE and spend a lot of time on your personal statements. Learn the GRE test strategies that save time and become a voracious reader of arcane comprehensions. Above all walk out of the test knowing that there was no way you could have done any better!