Importance of GRE in graduate admissions

Importance of GRE

A few months ago when I was in the U.S., I had the unique opportunity to talk with several directors of graduate admissions department from various universities. I asked, what according to them was the most important factor for admissions to any graduate school in the U.S. Most of them stated “the GRE score”.

The reasons they quoted were the following:

The GRE provides a common tool for admissions officers to compare hundreds of applicants irrespective of their work experience, undergraduate GPA, undergraduate school and program.

So for example two applicants applied to Harvard – one had an undergraduate degree with a 3.5 GPA from MIT and the other was a meager candidate from Bahawalpur University with a GPA of 2.3. Apparently the MIT guy is the preferred applicant for Harvard, but wait a minute. The GRE score of the later applicant is 96-percentile…wow…now suddenly the admissions committee is confused; in fact they want to interview this Bahawalpur person?

This is how a good GRE score can change the game plan.

Specifically the admission officers mentioned that GRE is a very good predictor of success for a student in the first year of graduate school. Of course after that your domain and field specific knowledge comes in and plays a vital role to your later success.

More encouraging was the fact that more than 60% of admissions committee members look at the GRE score when giving out scholarships and other financial aid forms.

These is an extremely encouraging and morale boosting fact for all those applicants out there who do not have a great GPA, work experience or for those who lack good undergraduate degrees from good schools. All hope is not lost – in fact all of you out there still have a great chance to make it to your dream university by first working hard towards getting a good GRE score. You still have another chance given you did not do well before.

Beyond doubt it is clear that your GRE score will play a key role in getting admissions and competing for scholarships. The higher your GRE score the better off you will be as a prospective student in the eyes of admissions officers.