Importance of the GRE (especially for applicants from lesser-known schools)
by, 12-05-2010 at 11:58 AM (2351 Views)
The GRE, it is the ONLY item in the typical applicant's profile that has an OBJECTIVE value. Everything else depends on where the applicant has done his work. An A earned at a lesser known school (LKS) will NOT be viewed as equivalent to an A from an Ivy school, even if the LKS is in the US (and it shouldn't). A LOR sent by a top researcher will not be viewed the same as one sent by an unknown faculty member of a LKS (nor should it). Research experience is great, but it depends on the place where it was earned, and/or the name of the supervisors.
Thus, the value of GPA's are school-dependent and there is no reliable information on the "average strength" of the school of funded apps in given program; LOR are writer-dependent and there is no reliable information on the "average LOR" for admitted/funded apps in given programs; SOP are important, but it is very difficult to predict how does your SOP compare to others, and there is no reliable information on the "average SOP" for admitted/funded applicants anywhere. So, that leaves the GRE, which means the same for all applicants, and on which there is reliable, easy to find information on scores of admitted/funded apps to many programs.
So, to ESTIMATE your admission odds at a given school, the GRE is critical, especially for people coming from LKS. What else could you possibly use?