What are my chances to get into a top school with very low GRE score?

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Career Dev Staff Staff asked 8 months ago

What are my chances to get into a top school with very low GRE score? I did not have time to study for GREs but my GPA is 4.0, research experience from top universities and strong recommendation letters from two recognized scientists in my field.

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1 Answers
Kate McKeon Staff answered 8 months ago

Just in case the question is changed along the way, here’s the original question:
 
“What are my chances to get into a top school with very low GRE score? I did not have time to study for GREs but my GPA is 4.0, research experience from top universities and strong recommendation letters from two recognized scientists in my field.” First, I work with candidates across several technical and non-technical (MBA) programs each year. Second, I too pursued a PhD in a technical field.
 
So, it is with a great deal of experience that I say, I hope no one considers you given your blase attitude toward the GRE. Yes, it is a cr*p test. It is too simple to game. All the more reason you should be summarily rejected. You couldn’t even be bothered to work a simple – dead simple, 6-8th grade level – test? Shame on you.
 
You “did not have time to study” for the GRE? Wow. Spectacularly lazy. What makes you think you are cut out for either academic appointment or private company placement? Do you expect to have a perpetual babysitter?
 
“… research experience from top universities …” did you get help there too? Sounds like you participated in someone else’s research. AND – while I don’t know you – having seen this before I can tell you why you might have decent letters of recommendation. They want you out of their labs and are willing to do anything to get you out.
 
Not all positive letters are signs that you did good work. In some cases a glowing letter is a desperate plea from the writer to get you as far away from him/her as possible. Dropping you on someone else’s door is one strategy. My colleagues have called it “Pass the puppy” as no one wants to train the puppy or deal with the puppy mess.
 
Are you the puppy?
 
So 1. I’d be careful about framing my GRE as “did not have time to study” and 2. put in the 30–50 hours of total effort it takes to be respectable. It’s not that hard. Stop complaining and get the work done.
 
If you’re not willing to do that bare minimum for the GRE, NO ONE should admit you to a program of any strength. You simply won’t be a decent contributing team member.