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GRE Scores/Grad Apps

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  1. Dec 4, 2012 #1
    Hello all,

    I am working on grad school applications and they ask for GRE scores as expected. Here is the issue: my quantitative and qualitative are 162 and 161 respectively. I am okay with this. I don't know what the hell happened with writing. I got a 3.5. Yes, that low. I can tell you (as can my three recommendation letter writers) that my writing is of significantly higher quality than that score would suggest. I emailed ETS regarding my score and they essentially told me if I wanted an explanation or a re-grade that I would have to pay an exorbitant fee (ETS? Charging tons of money for basic things?? NEVER!). It is not an option to retake the GRE (and I don't have the money).

    My question: On some applications, there is no field for comments, etc. So, for example, on my Georgia Tech app I have a quick sentence at the end of my statement of purpose stating that my writing score does not represent my writing abilities. Is this the right thing to do? How would I "explain myself", so to speak?

    I honestly don't know how else to address it... I am more than willing to send samples of my writing with my app but there is no field to do so on any of my applications. I will not let myself get screwed out of a great grad school experience by ETS. This GRE thing is a scam. Regardless, I have to handle this somehow. I appreciate your time and advice.
     
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  3. Dec 4, 2012 #2
    Why not just write your statement of purpose well enough to make that point for you? If your SoP is well written, then the sentence is redundant; if it's not, then the sentence will be ineffective.

    There are, honestly, very few excuses you could make that won't sound like excuses.
     
  4. Dec 4, 2012 #3

    AlephZero

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    That proves nothing. Nobody knows how much help you had writing your application, and if it looks a very different standard from your test score, the obvious assumption would be "a lot of help".

    I interview job applicants in industry not academia, but we long since stopped deducing anything from the presentation quality of the applications. If we want to find out how well applicants can REALLY communicate in writing, we just shut them in a room for 15 minutes with nothing but a pen and some paper, and ask them to write one or two pages about themselves. That way, you learn the truth.
     
  5. Dec 4, 2012 #4
    Thanks for the input so far. I would think that I could simply submit a sample of my writing but there does not seem to be a way to do such a thing... I'm really freaking out about this! I hope Number Nine is right...

    Any further input anybody?
     
  6. Dec 5, 2012 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Number Nine is right - there are no excuses that won't sound like excuses.

    It's your future - if that's not worth the $55 for a re-grade, well, that's your decision.
     
  7. Dec 5, 2012 #6

    ZombieFeynman

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    What percentile was your writing score in? If i remember correctly, my writing score wasnt much better. I did ok for myself.
     
  8. Dec 5, 2012 #7
    I appreciate the input guys. ZombieFeynman, the percentile associated with a 3.5 is 30% *sob*.

    Vanadium 50, I agree, but quite honestly I don't have 55 dollars to spend at the moment, especially if it's not guaranteed to improve my score. I will definitely consider it though. The big issues are 1) the cost and 2) the notion of giving a scam artist like ETS even one more cent is sickening. I appreciate your honesty though.
     
  9. Dec 5, 2012 #8

    ZombieFeynman

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    I think you will be ok, your other gre scores are respectable. Apply to a wide range of schools.
     
  10. Dec 5, 2012 #9

    bcrowell

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    30% of people applying to grad schools are going to be at the 30th percentile or lower. Not everyone can be above average.

    You haven't told us what field you're applying in. The writing score is more of an issue if you're applying to grad school in English or sociology, less in math or chemistry.

    Just because you didn't like your score, that doesn't mean the GRE is a scam.
     
  11. Dec 5, 2012 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    Well, you're a grown-up. If you are prepared to take the consequences of your actions, more power to you.
     
  12. Dec 5, 2012 #11
    ZombieFeynman: I appreciate the encouragement. I am applying to quite a few.

    bcrowell: I'm applying for Aerospace Engineering. I think the GRE is a scam monetarily, not in terms of my score. ETS will charge for the most basic requests (mine is not basic but the fact remains). I don't like my score but I accept it. I should have worded that better...

    Vanadium 50: Part of my inhibition is that if I do request a re-grade, I'm essentially saying to myself that I am SO SMART that anything stating otherwise MUST be wrong. I don't like to think that way because it's self-serving and often wrong. While I believe it may have been graded unfairly, I also think that this can be a learning experience for me. Additionally, what ZombieFeynman said has kind of calmed my nerves. I think the rest of my application will make up for the writing score.

    Thank you all for your input and honesty so far.
     
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