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Mikaeltb


Oct 24, 2005, 5:11 PM

Post #1 of 357 (14829 views)
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GREs and GPAs Can't Post

i just took the gre and got a 660 verbal, 620 math and felt pretty good about the essays. I forgot to bring a snack and was so was pretty jumpy during the second half of the test--that's my excuse for not having done better. I got a 3.6 GPA in college and higher in english,my major. my question is--should i retake that damn test? Some of the schools i'm applying to are affiliated with their english grad departments so i know i have to make the grade on both ends--does a 660 with high english background/grades cut it?...


(This post was edited by motet on Dec 6, 2005, 9:37 AM)


faux fodder


Sep 2, 2004, 7:08 AM

Post #2 of 357 (15312 views)
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importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

i know that most programs judge your worth mostly through your writing sample/letter of intent/recommendations, and i know that this might seem like an absurd question to ask, but what about the importance of your gpa?

i'm currently on the cusp of meeting the minimum gpa requirement for the programs i'm interested in, and i'm about to enter my senior year..

i guess the gist of my question is: is/are the program(s) going to frown upon an applicant that doesn't meet the gpa requirement at the time of his/her application's arrival?

please help!


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

Sep 2, 2004, 9:41 AM

Post #3 of 357 (15300 views)
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Re: [faux fodder] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Take the stress you're feeling over this and pour it into your writing instead. If they like your manuscript they'll find a way to get you in. Some MFAs in creative writing don't have a BA at all.


catenz
CATenz

Sep 6, 2004, 9:42 PM

Post #4 of 357 (15265 views)
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Re: [faux fodder] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

they probably won't care, unless it's a competitive program for funding (to explain better, all other things equal, they'll use the gpa to decide who gets to be the teacher and who might pay to get the degree). But really, gpas are irrelevant.


toni-b


Sep 9, 2004, 1:08 PM

Post #5 of 357 (15242 views)
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Re: [faux fodder] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm going to be contrary to everyone else and say you should check with the particular school if the admissions website really does say "minimum gpa" and you don't meet it. I think minimum admissions requirements (like having a bachelors degree, or taking the GRE) are often set by the university, and the weight then afforded to them is then judged by the department. That's why it seems like so many programs require the GRE but then ignore it -- it's a university requirement that every graduate school applicant take it. If it is a university requirement that every applicant come in with a 2.5 or 3.0, you want to make sure that the admissions department won't toss your file before forwarding it on to the writing department, or that the writing department has enough clout to waive the requirement for a candidate it truly supports (because it loves the candidate's writing sample). Anyway, it doesn't hurt to ask (anonymously, if you prefer). In most cases, I'm sure they will tell you to apply if you are right on the cusp.


Toni


rutha


Sep 9, 2004, 1:22 PM

Post #6 of 357 (15240 views)
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Re: [toni-b] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just to add something to Toni's comment about GPAs and such -- when I applied to MFA programs 8 or so years ago I had a couple of situations where the program really liked my work, but the English dept were real sticklers about my academic stuff (I had a solid GPA well above the minumum, but average GREs and very little in the way of a traditional "English" background with lit courses, etc), which resulted in acceptance but no financial aid (despite the writing program's efforts). So I ultimately opted for a program where all that mattered was my work, and there were no separate grad school/English dept guidelines that had to be met. (of course, I ended up paying for it myself, but would have had to anyway). Some programs may overlook certain things, but not always, and my sense is tha there's often tension/conflict between the talent of a writer as seen by an MFA program and what some may see as the "picky" stuff of the department of which the program is just a part. So I agree, you really need to check that stuff out. FWIW!


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

Sep 9, 2004, 2:27 PM

Post #7 of 357 (15232 views)
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Re: [rutha] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

It does depend on the school. But most programs will tell you up front that the manuscript is paramount. And the kind of MFA program that denies aid to people with great manuscripts because they failed freshman biology probably isn't the kind of program I'm interested in as a mature, serious writer.


silkfx2004


Sep 22, 2004, 10:41 AM

Post #8 of 357 (15186 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Great advice, everyone.

Let me throw this out here: I entered college in 1983 majoring in electrical engineering (why I did this is a novella in itself, but let's just sum it up this way: it was the 80s). I didn't do so well, so I changed to math, and did even worse. Throughout all of this, I was taking English lit and writing courses as a kind of undeclared minor. At the end of my junior year, with lousy grades in everything but English, I was at risk of losing my financial aid. So I wrote (!) a letter to the dean asking that I be allowed to change my major to English. They let me (I had enough credits), I did, and I finished my senior year and graduated with departmental honors in English. My final overall GPA was 2.5, but my English GPA was 3.7.

It's been 17 years since then and I haven't taken a single college course other than concert band. *lol* I intend to go back to school for an MFA in fall 2005. What might you do to improve your chances of getting into a school if you were in my shoes? Is it worth it to explain my story in my personal statement...or should I let my portfolio do the talking?


--------
Nobody but God gets it right the first time. Everybody else has to rewrite. --attributed to Stephen King


toni-b


Sep 22, 2004, 12:58 PM

Post #9 of 357 (15178 views)
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Re: [silkfx2004] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi silkfx

I have a similar background (i.e., useless engineering education from the 80s). Personally, I don't think you need to "explain" the GPA -- your portfolio and the high lit/English marks will do the talking. Plus, college was a long time ago. Some schools (quite reasonably, in my opinion) rely on undergraduate GPA to assess preparedness for graduate study, which makes sense for someone who just finished school, but not someone who finished school 15 years ago. If anything, you may want to discuss in your personal statement how you incorporate writing into your otherwise responsible life, or how your experiences since graduating have affected your writing for the better.

On the other hand, I wouldn't waste hundreds of dollars on application fees for schools that insist on a specific GPA (which is why research on particular schools is important). I would also recommend hooking up with a college extension writing class for the fall semester, so that you can have someone who instructed you recently write you a letter of recommendation.


Toni


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Sep 22, 2004, 3:09 PM

Post #10 of 357 (15167 views)
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Re: [toni-b] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

My GPA was pretty crappy, and it didn't stop me from getting into my one and only choice of MFA programs. (Of course, that was Goddard, which doesn't recognize the GPA.) But except for a few schools that have specific requirements (as already mentioned), the main criterion for acceptance will be your portfolio, with the personal statement second and last.

I didn't talk about my grades in my statement. It was all about my relationship with fiction.

dmh


hapworth


Sep 22, 2004, 7:18 PM

Post #11 of 357 (15156 views)
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Re: [silkfx2004] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Faux,

I think others have summed it up. Your writing is most important, but some departments may view GPA and GRE scores as evidence of your overall academic (read: non-creative writing) background. Departments want talented writers who will bring the department fame, but they also want people who wil complete the program and handle grad-level (read: welcome to theoryland!) lit courses.

Silk,

Sounds like you started your undergrad work a while ago (20 years ago, no?) so I find it hard to believe that too many departments would study your transcript and say, "Hey, there! What's this D in aerospace engineering?!" They'll look at your English grades, but even then passingly. Since you are an older (but not old) student, departments will probably be more interested in your writing sample and rec. letters. They may even trust your soon-to-be GRE scores as stronger evidence of your preparedness to handle graduate work than transcripts from 15-20 years ago.

Hapworth


grimson
Justin Bryant
e-mail user

Oct 16, 2004, 8:56 PM

Post #12 of 357 (14989 views)
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Importance of the GRE? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have to take this damned thing in the next month, as do many of you, I'm guessing. I will bomb the math part. I am 38 and haven't had a math class since about 1987, and I sucked at it back then, too.

How impotant is it? Most programs come right out and say it isn't very important, that the writing sample is the most important thing. I'm just wondering how much time to spend preparing for it. Obviously I don't want to bomb the whole thing and send up red flags, but neither do I want to inordinately prepare for something that might not get any consideration one way or another.

Any thoughts, opinions, personal experiences to share?


fermat


Oct 17, 2004, 12:19 AM

Post #13 of 357 (14987 views)
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Re: [grimson] Importance of the GRE? [In reply to] Can't Post

Zip. Squat. Nada. Don't worry about it. I spent two months preparing for it, got a 700+ on all three categories, and got rejected by all the schools that required it. I understand that often programs require it only because their graduate school requires it; some even let students take it after they've been accepted. Obviously you don't want to get scores in the 300s, but you should be fine, particularly if you're a good test-taker.


silkfx2004


Oct 17, 2004, 3:59 PM

Post #14 of 357 (14967 views)
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Re: [grimson] Importance of the GRE? [In reply to] Can't Post

Four of the schools I'm applying to require the GRE, and one (Michigan) says it's "recommended but not required," whatever the hell that's supposed to mean. So I took it yesterday. 730 verbal, 640 math...which is the reverse of what I got when I took the practice test at home the day before, thank God.

Maybe because I knew I wasn't getting a master's in engineering, I found myself FAR more worried about the verbal part (particularly the analytical writing) than the math part. I think I did all right on the Argument, but may have gotten a little too creative-nonfiction on the Issue. What the hell...I'd like to think one of the readers will find my essay funny enough to give it a decent score.

In my 22-years-since-I-last-took-a-standardized-test opinion, I think the GRE is for the benefit of the graduate school itself more than the English department. They want to make sure you can "handle" grad school. I wouldn't worry too much about the math half. But I will say that this site helped me out quite a bit:

http://www.wtamu.edu/...ab/gre/math_help.htm

I actually used to be pretty good in math. I got a close-to-perfect score in math when I took the ACT 22 years ago. Sadly, those days are LONG gone...but I'm trusting that that won't be held against me. :)

Good luck...

ETA: I didn't start really studying for it until about 2 weeks before the test. I wouldn't recommend procrastinating that long.


--------
Nobody but God gets it right the first time. Everybody else has to rewrite. --attributed to Stephen King

(This post was edited by silkfx2004 on Oct 17, 2004, 4:04 PM)


hapworth


Oct 18, 2004, 4:13 PM

Post #15 of 357 (14947 views)
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Re: [grimson] Importance of the GRE? [In reply to] Can't Post

Others have covered this question pretty well. The GREs aren't very important; your writing sample will speak loudest. However, GRE scores can be important for some departments that need to decide who receives a teaching assistantship. I want to say that Ohio State's program requires a 600 Verbal, for example, though I could be wrong. Also, I would study just enough to guarantee that you don't tank the verbal (lower than 500). Oh, and this goes without saying, but the math section shouldn't worry you at all; go ahead and score a 300 if you wish. :-)

Hapworth


thebeatbaby


Nov 18, 2004, 5:17 PM

Post #16 of 357 (15102 views)
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Re: [faux fodder] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

It really doesn't matter what your grades were. I had a 2.67 gpa as a undergrad and I got into Columbia, NYU, Maryland, Arizona and a couple other schools.


grimson
Justin Bryant
e-mail user

Nov 24, 2004, 11:01 AM

Post #17 of 357 (14877 views)
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Re: [hapworth] Importance of the GRE? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I took the thing. Didn't study or prepare at all - got confirmation from all 4 programs I'm applying to that they don't even look at the scores. I got a 690 verbal, 490 math (!). I haven't taken a math class in 17 years and just basically guessed on 4 out of every 5 questions. Can anyone beat that for a low score?


lillyl


Nov 25, 2004, 10:30 AM

Post #18 of 357 (14860 views)
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Re: [grimson] Importance of the GRE? [In reply to] Can't Post

My english GRE scores were important for my MFA program because it's required that we also teach freshman English classes. If your potential programs don't involve TA assistantships then it is probably much less important.

I think the math is probably absolutely unimportant, though, so don't worry on that regard.


mizrachi


Dec 31, 2004, 4:08 PM

Post #19 of 357 (15218 views)
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GPA/GRE/MFA Panic [In reply to] Can't Post

I know this has been touched on, but i am now in a total panic. I've applied to eight schools . I have strong writing sample and recs. Terrible college GPA but good english grades, and a terrible GRE score. Is having a great writing sample enough? Will my crappy test scores and lame decade old GPA screw me? Should i worry? What can i do? A Nervous wreck, Miz


(This post was edited by mizrachi on Jan 3, 2005, 2:33 PM)


laroo


Dec 31, 2004, 5:21 PM

Post #20 of 357 (15208 views)
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Re: [mizrachi] GPA/GRE/MFA Panic [In reply to] Can't Post

I am in the same boat. Many people have reassured me that the writing sample is the single most important aspect of an MFA application. Still, I submitted no less than 17 applications to spread myself as far and wide as possible. One writer friend told me that if lukewarm grades/GRE scores can trump a strong writing sample then the program in question is probably not worth attending. Try not to panic. If you've submitted your apps, you no longer have any control over the situation.


mizrachi


Dec 31, 2004, 6:10 PM

Post #21 of 357 (15202 views)
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Re: [laroo] GPA/GRE/MFA Panic [In reply to] Can't Post

17 programs! Holy smokes. Well, at least you covered your bases.

Miz


laroo


Dec 31, 2004, 7:15 PM

Post #22 of 357 (15199 views)
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Re: [mizrachi] GPA/GRE/MFA Panic [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems totally ridiculous to me now, but at the time, it made perfect sense!


grimson
Justin Bryant
e-mail user

Dec 31, 2004, 11:00 PM

Post #23 of 357 (15191 views)
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Re: [laroo] GPA/GRE/MFA Panic [In reply to] Can't Post

Gosh, I wish I had the confidence to call my own writing samples "great." Sounds like neither of you have much to worry about. The GRE, at least, is almost never strongly considered, although a poor GPA can sometimes hurt a little bit at some schools.


darredet
Darren A. Deth


Jan 1, 2005, 10:05 AM

Post #24 of 357 (15182 views)
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Re: [mizrachi] GPA/GRE/MFA Panic [In reply to] Can't Post

I was fortunate and didn't have to take the GREs for any programs I applied for, not did I take them when I graduated as an undergraduate. My GPA was a whooping 3.11 (science and math were my undoing) and had tons of incompletes until the end; I was one of those people who ignored what I needed to do to help others. Anyway, twelve years later and I am preparing for my first semester at Vermont College.

I'm thinking grades might be looked at when it comes to a final decision at some places, but not many. Polish the manuscripts and other writing. That is where the real competition exists.

Darren


catenz
CATenz

Jan 5, 2005, 6:39 PM

Post #25 of 357 (15116 views)
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Re: [darredet] GPA/GRE/MFA Panic [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a 3.0 undergrad GPA and a truly awful GRE score (verbal was nonexistent, even), and what I now think of as a horrendous writing sample. Still, I'm in the second year of my MFA with others who did much better - including one guy who is trained by Kaplan to teach the GRE! No worries.


silkfx2004


Jan 10, 2005, 6:21 PM

Post #26 of 357 (6268 views)
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Re: [catenz] GPA/GRE/MFA Panic [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a 2.47 total GPA in undergrad because, trying to please other people, I majored in engineering and math before I came to my senses and changed to English. At the end of my junior year I had a 1.1 or something, that's how bad it was. But I ended up graduating with a 3.7 in my (final) major. I thank everything that's holy that I took English classes throughout my four years, because they literally saved my ass.

I basically explained this on a few of my apps, so I'm hoping they'll give me a break. My GRE scores were strong, but my writing samples...oy...

If you can provide extenuating circumstances (e.g., I was a dope and thought I could be the next Albert Einstein), that might help.


--------
Nobody but God gets it right the first time. Everybody else has to rewrite. --attributed to Stephen King


thebeatbaby


Jan 19, 2005, 11:00 PM

Post #27 of 357 (6203 views)
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Re: [silkfx2004] GPA/GRE/MFA Panic [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I've said this a few times already, but what the hell.
I had a 2.67 gpa, crappy gre scores and the way my handwriting is it probably looked like a five year old put the thing together on a bender
and I got into seven schools including nyu, columbia and university of arizona.

The first time I applied i got in nowhere and was convinced the whole grades not mattering thing was a big lie.
But it's not.


Kaytie
Kaytie M. Lee

e-mail user

Apr 6, 2005, 12:53 PM

Post #28 of 357 (6094 views)
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Sometimes a condition may apply... [In reply to] Can't Post

If a writing program wants to admit you, they will--the worst that will happen is the university will accept you conditionally, meaning you have to meet a certain GPA that first semester, quarter, or year in order to continue, usually at least a 3.0. (This is true when an applicant must apply both to the university and the program.) Every university will be different, but as everyone else has said, if your writing sample wins them over, they'll accept you.


Kaytie M. Lee Last Updated November 2008


Aubrie


Oct 8, 2005, 11:37 PM

Post #29 of 357 (6189 views)
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Re: [thebeatbaby] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

I must know whether or not this is the truth... I've been fretting over my gpa since i began the application process. What is your secret? How was it possible that you got into all these programs? Please let us know so that I don't go ahead and waste the application fee for Columbia & NYU?!?!?


taizhu


Oct 9, 2005, 11:18 AM

Post #30 of 357 (6184 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
must know whether or not this is the truth... I've been fretting over my gpa since i began the application process. What is your secret? How was it possible that you got into all these programs? Please let us know so that I don't go ahead and waste the application fee for Columbia & NYU?!?!?


Aubrie, I don't think you should spend time worrying about gpas and test scores, when it comes to Columbia and NYU. It really is all about the manuscript for most of these programs. The funding situation at Columbia, however, would definitely cause me to think twice about applying...


Kaytie
Kaytie M. Lee

e-mail user

Oct 24, 2005, 6:16 PM

Post #31 of 357 (6027 views)
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Re: [Mikaeltb] gre questions... [In reply to] Can't Post

Do your scores meet or exceed the requirements of each university's graduate program? If so, I suggest not taking the test over and instead concentrating on your writing samples and letter of intent. These will be much more important when it comes to reviewing your entire application.

If they don't meet or exceed the requirements for some strange reason, take the test again. FWIW my scores and GPA were similar and I was accepted to 3 of the 5 schools I applied to.


Kaytie M. Lee Last Updated November 2008


hapworth


Oct 26, 2005, 7:41 PM

Post #32 of 357 (5991 views)
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Re: [Mikaeltb] gre questions... [In reply to] Can't Post

These scores are very, very strong. I took the GRE ten years ago, scored a 590 on the verbal, and got into Bama's MFA program. Anything over 600 is a good to very good score. Anything over 700 is fantastic. But here's the thing. I honestly don't think GRE scores mean diddly to the majority of programs. Yes, some programs might require a 600 for a teaching assistantship, but not many. And I imagine that there are perhaps some programs, like Columbia, where a high score doesn't hurt, but programs will be judging you primarily on your writing sample, your statement of purpose, and your letters of rec. I've known plenty of people with 500-range verbal scores who got into fine MFA programs, and I know people with 500-range verbal scores who got into Ph.D programs.

Really, I think the whole discussion of GREs for writing programs is very, very secondary. Oh, and did I mention that you could have scored a 420 on the math and MFA programs won't care?

Hapworth


hazelmotes


Oct 28, 2005, 6:40 PM

Post #33 of 357 (6130 views)
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Re: [taizhu] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

I applied to a few schools in 2003 (Iowa, Irvine, MN, Wisconsin, Columbia and NYU) I had a 3.9 GPA, a 99% GRE, and I didn't get in anywhere. I think it boils down to the writing sample, and I'm going to try again this year. All in all, the only reason your numbers matter are so they can apply for state and federal grants. Who the hell cares if you got an A in Chemistry? They only care if you can write.


rooblue


Oct 29, 2005, 12:44 AM

Post #34 of 357 (6118 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

"Hazelmotes" is a terrific moniker choice. FO would be proud.


hazelmotes


Oct 29, 2005, 12:47 AM

Post #35 of 357 (6116 views)
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Re: [rooblue] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

I wanted my moniker to be "doloreshazelmotes" but it's too long, they wouldn't let me do it.


rooblue


Oct 29, 2005, 10:40 AM

Post #36 of 357 (6107 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

hah! it would have been great if the board could have made an exception -- FO and VN together again for the first time -- I wonder if they ever met, and if so, what they would have thought of each other...


hazelmotes


Oct 29, 2005, 1:11 PM

Post #37 of 357 (6103 views)
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Re: [rooblue] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

They were both pretty surly. They may have hated each other. My two favorite writers though.


rooblue


Oct 30, 2005, 10:51 AM

Post #38 of 357 (6083 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Lolita, if not my favorite novel, is definitely in the top 3. I learned only recently that he'd written short stories, too. I'm going to have to check those out. I imagine that FO would have found him arrogant and godless, and he would have found her shrewish, prudish, clannish, and every other negative -ish he could think of. They won't be sitting next to each other in the writers' dining hall in Heaven, unless the maitre d' has a wicked sense of humor.


hazelmotes


Oct 30, 2005, 6:26 PM

Post #39 of 357 (6061 views)
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Re: [rooblue] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

But they were both really great at insults (see Nabokov's short story "Spring in Fialta" for some examples) so their hatred of each other would be priceless to see. My favorite thing by FO is her novel WISE BLOOD.

Where are you applying? Fiction, I assume.


rooblue


Oct 30, 2005, 7:28 PM

Post #40 of 357 (6057 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

That particular VN story has been recommended to me before -- I'm definitely going to have to check it out. I'm actually already in MFA school, at Warren Wilson, but I like to read this board because I remember so clearly, and empathize so much with, the agony of waiting, waiting and waiting. I watched the mail, but WWC notifies people by phone, so when I finally found out I was in, I wasn't prepared. I'm in my third term, and it's a great program, if you're on the low-res track. What about you? What is your top choice?


hazelmotes


Oct 30, 2005, 7:37 PM

Post #41 of 357 (6055 views)
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Re: [rooblue] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't want to do low-res, mostly because I'd like to teach and get some teaching experience. I think the program at Brooklyn College looks most exciting, but it would be hard for me to afford the move to New York. So, other than that, I'm looking mostly at extremely well-funded schools, my top choice of which is Wisconsin: Also applying to Indiana, Austin, Montana, maybe Brown and about six million more.

WW does have a good program. Did you apply only low-res?


rooblue


Oct 30, 2005, 10:04 PM

Post #42 of 357 (6050 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, only low res. I've been out of school a lonnng time -- I have a big job that I wasn't considering giving up -- so low res was the only option. If I were alot younger, I'd do what you are doing. I didn't realize Austin had an MFA program. Is that at UT? I'm from Texas so I'm curious. WHo are the fiction fac?


sovietsleepover


Oct 31, 2005, 2:57 PM

Post #43 of 357 (6032 views)
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Re: [rooblue] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, there's both an MFA program & an MA with creative writing concentration at UT. The MFA program itself is interesting--offers playwriting & screenwriting in addition to poetry & fiction, is very loose in terms of lit requirements, requires writers to declare a secondary genre that they take several workshops in, pays a hefty stipend, and doesn't require teaching whatsoever (it's not part of the english department & gets its money from an endowment, so college level teaching isn't an option & the emphasis is entirely on having time to write).

The faculty themselves isn't that impressive, but the program brings in a lot of impressive (& plenty of unheard-of, too) visiting professors for full semesters or day-long masterclasses. (I'm there now, & last week got to go to a 2hr masterclass with Salman Rushdie! (!!!! x1000); Dean Young'll be here in Fall 2006; Naomi Shihab Nye was here last year.) There's a full faculty list here.

Nearby programs include Houston & Texas State (Denis Johnson & Tim O'Brien teach here, but I've heard not-so-good things about the caliber of the students--whatever that means, I have no evidence!). I think there're PhD poetics programs at Texas Tech (!?) and UNT...


laroo


Nov 1, 2005, 11:56 AM

Post #44 of 357 (6009 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think the program at Brooklyn College looks most exciting, but it would be hard for me to afford the move to New York.


I am enrolled full-time in the Brooklyn College program. I also work full-time. Cunningham noted at orientation that BC is a good program for people with jobs, families, etc. I concur: my classses are at night, the work-load is tolerable, and I don't struggle to pay the rent. Granted, I am busier than hell, but it's worth it.

New York is certainly an expensive place to live. But you don't need a car and you don't have to live in Manhattan—both of which will save you a ton of money. Also, the in-state tuition for the Brooklyn College program is around $2,500 per semester. Not bad at all, especially if you have a day job. It was better for me financially to work 40 hours a week with a real salary and pay a modest tuition than it would have been to work just as many hours teaching for a $10,000 stipend.


hazelmotes


Nov 1, 2005, 2:38 PM

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No, I'd probably live in Brooklyn. It's pretty hard to get any type of place in Manhattan these days. But I hope to teach someday, so teaching in the school would be helpful. Also, I would be paying out of state tuition. These things add up. But I love New York, and it might be a good excuse to move there.

More importanly, how do you like the program? I've heard only good things. Is Colson Whitehead teaching there now?


gymnick


Nov 23, 2005, 8:34 PM

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Trusting you guys [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been a frequent lurker/sometimes poster to this forum and I want to say that I'm taking the GRE advice offered- as in, I'm not really preparing. I've done a few verbal sections (had no problem with them), some math (had more than a few problems there) and looked over the writing questions. I've thrown myself into all other aspects of the application, especially the writing samples. If I get into a program, I'll you guys.


HopperFu


Nov 23, 2005, 10:32 PM

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Good luck with the applications, Gymnick. I had a MFA prof who was willing to answer questions for me - he is a graduate of Iowa and currently the head of a program - and he said that the schools look at (in this order): writing samples, statements, letters of rec.
I'm sure there is a program somewhere that weights the GRE's highly, but none that any of us have heard of....


Aubrie


Nov 24, 2005, 11:46 AM

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Gymnick - I did little to no preparation for the GREs. I had the best intentions too, but... life gets in the way. I'd agree that programs will only be looking at scores to back up their most important opinion - which would be your writing sample.
Don't stress about the exam - it's not so tough. I just took mine yesterday. As long as your scores aren't abysmal (and even then...) the school shouldn't care.

p.s.- at Columbia's open house they said they've accepted talented writers without BAs. It's all about the writing.


hazelmotes


Nov 24, 2005, 12:27 PM

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Re: [Aubrie] Trusting you guys [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, honstly-- I applied two years ago, got really stressed about my GRE's, studied like hell (neglecting such thing as my personal statement) I got 99% on the GRE, and didn't get in anywhere. Oh, and I have a 3.9 gpa-- So honestly, I don't think they care. They're looking at your writing, and mine obviously didn't appeal to them. Plus, I had a typo in my personal statement (first sentence!)

So I really would not worry about the GRE. Just pass it. I think most schools ask you to get over 600 on verbal. Even that isn't a drop dead thing.


gymnick


Nov 24, 2005, 8:26 PM

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Thanks so much for all of the encouragement. I'm giving up on practicing and going out to dinner with friends (it's Thanksgiving, after all). I did a few practice sections today and I'm generally doing about 50% on the math section. It's not going to get any better at this point. Only my confidence will get shakier at this point.

Happy Thanksgiving!


gymnick


Nov 25, 2005, 6:34 PM

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thanks again for all of the encouragement. I just got back and I did so much better than I thought I would. 610 math and 710 verbal. I'm glad I didn't spend more than a week preparing.


Aubrie


Nov 25, 2005, 8:24 PM

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Nice work! One less thing to worry about!


cymbeline


Jan 16, 2006, 3:31 PM

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Re: [grimson] Importance of the GRE? [In reply to] Can't Post

I can beat 490 on the math part: I got a 460 (19th percentile). Can anyone top (lower) that?


cymbeline


Jan 17, 2006, 9:51 PM

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GRE Subject Test scores [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey--can anyone tell me what a good/great score is on the subject test? I just got my score in the mail--650. I scored a 710 on my general GRE verbal section.

By the way, as far as low GRE math scores go, I feel confident my friend who went to Johns Hopkins' MA in CW program takes the cake: he scored a perfect 0. He just didn't do that part.


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Jan 18, 2006, 7:32 AM

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Quote
he scored a perfect 0. He just didn't do that part.


You can't get a 0. You get 200 points just for showing up.


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Jan 18, 2006, 9:56 AM

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Re: [cymbeline] GRE Subject Test scores [In reply to] Can't Post

I think there's a percentile score associated with your scaled score. You should be able to get of sense of how "good" your score is from that. The better the score, the higher the percentile.


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


cymbeline


Jan 18, 2006, 10:56 AM

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Interesting--if you can't get a 0, I wonder why he lied. He also said he got all the verbal questions right. Maybe his scores were more like 550/440.


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Jan 18, 2006, 2:17 PM

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Quote
Maybe his scores were more like 550/440.



Well, if he's lying to you there isn't much point in the conversation but a perfect score either on the verbal or the math is 800.... so, if he got all the verbal questions right then he got an 800 (not a 550 or 450).

Question..... The score I see at the end of the exam doesn't include the final essay score, right?


sovietsleepover


Jan 18, 2006, 2:29 PM

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Right, you won't see your essay score at the end of the test. The essay is "hand graded" by at least 2 graders following a pretty exacting rubric, & fyi, the graders have at least college degrees (if not grad degrees, I'm not sure about the requirements) & have passed pretty stringent qualifying tests to make about $14/hr grading this stuff all day. If the 2+ scores assigned by the graders vary by more than 1 point, they're flagged for review and probably re-graded to make sure they get scored fairly. If they differ only by a point your scores are averaged.


(I had a job grading essays for the Florida state achievement tests--No Child Left Behind-enacted exams that determine whether Florida 8th graders get to go on to 9th grade, and though it was an absolutely excrutiating job for a numbing company, it was definitely interesting/creepy to see what goes on behind the scenes of standardized testing [the company I worked for didn't have the GRE contract--I think that stuff's done in-house by ETS, right?--but I'd assume other test evaluation companies operate by similar standards].)


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Jan 18, 2006, 2:42 PM

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Re: [sovietsleepover] GRE Subject Test scores [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, Miriam... that was pretty interesting and yes, I think the scoring's done in-house by ETS.

So, conceivably, one could get a 700 on the verbal, do poorly on the essay, and bring their score down considerably, yes?


sovietsleepover


Jan 18, 2006, 3:12 PM

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I'm not sure. The essay score is out of 6 possible points, & 1) I'm not sure if there's a composite score at all (or, if anyone uses it, rather); and 2) if anyone does look at a composite, whether the essay figures in, since it's graded on a different scale.


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Jan 18, 2006, 3:25 PM

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Re: [motet] GRE Subject Test scores [In reply to] Can't Post

FWIW, the GRE scores are represented as three separate scores on the score sheet. My scoring sheet didn't have any composite score or composite percentile. I could see my score and my percentile for verbal, and my score and my percentile for math, and my essay score, but nowhere were the scores combined for me in any way. I noticed this because years (and years and years) ago, when I took the SAT, I recalled that there was a verbal percentile, a math percentile, and an overall percentile generated by the two scores put together. I think the LSAT was the same (one scaled composite score), but I'm not sure.


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


franz

e-mail user

Jan 18, 2006, 5:29 PM

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In Reply To
The GREs are ridiculous. I've heard they don't make the slightest difference for an MFA program but I studied extensively anyway-- who knows? I might end up trying to get into a masters program or phD program where the score was important. And as selective as these MFA programs are, it can't hurt to have a good score.
I finished the test thinking I did poorly on the math, only to find that I'd scored a 780-- and that was 87th percentile. I scored a 700 on verbal and that was 96th percentile. Go figure.
I was pretty annoyed when I received my essay scores in the mail-- 4.5, or 50th percentile. That was the one part of the test I thought I'd done well on! Whatever. It really isn't an accurate reflection of intelligence and I think we all have enough to worry about with our writing samples without getting entrenched in this.


Franz Knupfer, author of short stories and novels


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Jan 18, 2006, 7:04 PM

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Re: [texasgurl] GRE Subject Test scores [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks again, Miriam and thank you TXgirl. That was really good information because the score that they see in my grad apps will probably be the one that they decide with so it's good to know that it won't get lowered! I seriously doubt I'll be getting a 6 so I don't think the essay score it's going to help either.

franz, I hope my scores are similar to yours but I can tell you right now I'm going to be the Guess Girl on the math for sure. I'm also not applying to MFA programs. Regular graduate programs for me.

Thanks again, ladies. You're Tops!!

Dana


katieb


Aug 15, 2006, 1:05 PM

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Should I re-take the GRE? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello all, first time poster here. Thanks to Motet for helping me out on the posting process! What a fabulous resource this is and I've only just begun reading. I'm hoping you all can give me some feedback on whether or not I should re-take the GRE... here is my story:

I hurriedly took the GRE four years ago, but didn't end up in grad school. My Verbal score was 560 (76%), Quantitative score was 650 (61%) and I got a 5.5 out 6 on the Analytical Writing (there was no % associated with this as it was the first year it was included in the exam). As I prepare to apply for MFA programs for Fall of 2007, would you recommend that I re-take the GRE? I am quite certain that with some study time I could do a lot better, but I'm not sure if it's worth the effort or the cost. Also, will the fact that I took this darn thing 4 years ago have any effect on my acceptance or rejection?

Any thoughts on this?! Thanks so much!

KatieB



pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Aug 15, 2006, 1:12 PM

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Re: [katieb] Should I re-take the GRE? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you're only going to be applying to MFA programs (instead of various sorts of MA programs with creative components), don't bother taking the GRE again. MFA programs don't even look at your score.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


Clench Million
Charles

Aug 15, 2006, 4:31 PM

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Re: [katieb] Should I re-take the GRE? [In reply to] Can't Post

Like pongo, I don't think you should worry about it. 76% is probably fine. Most MFA programs don't care about your scores, normally thye only require them because the university does and there might be some minimum that all students have to meet.


katieb


Aug 16, 2006, 1:15 AM

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Re: [Clench Million] Should I re-take the GRE? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Clench Million and Pongo! I really appreciate your feedback. Looks like I'll just be taking more time to work on my writing sample!

Thanks again,

KB


trinmeg


Aug 16, 2006, 2:48 PM

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Retaking it! Which score counts? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey. I just registered to retake my GREs next month after getting a disappointing, although acceptable, score last weekend. Does anyone know what score I'm supposed to write down on my applications? The highest? An average? The newest? Does it differ by program?


bighark


Aug 16, 2006, 4:12 PM

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Different chools have different policies on how they interpret multiple GRE scores. Some take the highest score, some compute an average. Since MFA programs don't really care about GRE scores, though, I don't think it really matters.

Go ahead and run with your disappointing by acceptable GRE. Use the time you would have spent preparing for round 2 on your writing.

Good luck


GDClark
George David Clark
e-mail user

Aug 17, 2006, 9:12 PM

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Re: [bighark] Retaking it! Which score counts? [In reply to] Can't Post

As Clench mentioned some graduate schools require a minimum GRE score for acceptance, of these some require an even higher score to be eligible for financial awards. For example at Ohio State as of the 2005-2006 year a writer needs a score of at least 1200 cumulative to be accepted (since all writers accepted merit full tuition waver and stipend). Some exceptions may apply, but I was told this is the general rule by an MFA faculty member.


(This post was edited by GDClark on Aug 17, 2006, 9:15 PM)


laughingman


Sep 12, 2006, 8:03 PM

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Pay Attention to grad school requirements! [In reply to] Can't Post

I was going through the archives at Tom Kealey's MFA blog (specifically August 2005) and saw a letter from a professor at Colorado State University saying that applicants should be wary of minimum requirements to get into the graduate school. He said "... but if you don't have a 3.0 and acceptable GREs we can't get you in at all, much less with financial aid." I'm not trying to scare anyone away from applying to any programs, but it would probably be a good idea to e-mail faculty members and/or the graduate school before you drop $60 on an application thinking that you can blow past all other reqirements on the strength of your writing sample alone.

With regard to sub-par GPAs, most of the programs I've e-mailed have told me that an "excellent" or "outstanding" writing sample could get an applicant into a program outright, or in on a provisional basis, at least. The faculty member I e-mailed at Irvine admitted that acceptance was possible, but said it was "very unlikely." This was qualified by the statement "[in the last 10 years] we haven't accepted a student with a GPA below 3.0, nor have we responded to an application so positively that we petitioned for an applicant to be admitted." Needless to say--and despite my confidence in my writing sample-- I won't be applying to UCI with my 2.7 GPA.


(This post was edited by laughingman on Sep 13, 2006, 1:46 AM)


plumagemour


Sep 25, 2006, 4:36 PM

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uc irvine, is, in my opinion, a very conservative program anyway. seems like state-affiliated programs (state schools, university of "said state") are much more strict about things like gpa requirements. usually the more liberal and more private the school, the more independent the creative writing program is from the rest of the college and its general reqs.


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Oct 7, 2006, 8:35 PM

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In Reply To
uc irvine, is, in my opinion, a very conservative program anyway. seems like state-affiliated programs (state schools, university of "said state") are much more strict about things like gpa requirements. usually the more liberal and more private the school, the more independent the creative writing program is from the rest of the college and its general reqs.



That's my experience. I think my writing sample was mediocre and my statement of purpose was arrogant and vague. The thing that told them I was worth anything was my high verbal score. NOw that's outdated and I'll have to take the GRE again. I just found out recently that there's a writing component. Can anyone clue me in as to how that goes? Waht kinds of questions do they ask/


__________



Oct 8, 2006, 1:59 AM

Post #75 of 357 (6663 views)
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Be prepared to take a stance on gun control and then write a lame essay about it.


six five four three two one 0 ->


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Oct 8, 2006, 8:54 AM

Post #76 of 357 (5570 views)
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Gack! I always pick the wrong side for the reader on those!


Banyon


Oct 8, 2006, 11:14 AM

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I just took the GREs this summer, and the writing section wasn't bad. For one essay they give you a statement like "Gun control is bad," and then you write an argument with or against the statement. I'm sure they don't give a hoot which side you argue. For the other essay they give you a prompt that's something like "Mr. Jones owns a small business and thinks he should open a new store because of x, y, and z. Some consumer report said yada yada, and he's heard that blah blah." You analyze Mr. Jones' argument by saying things like "That consumer report only takes into account blah blah" or "that evidence is anecdotal." It's really not bad. Take a look at the Princeton Review for some more insight... it also has good vocab lists if you want to boost your verbal score.

I figure MFA programs don't care how I did on the math section:o)

-Banyon


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Oct 8, 2006, 12:19 PM

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Yeah, I figure I can only do worse this time. My verbal was so high last time that it must have been a fluke, while the logic and math were reasonable only because I studied like mad. I might brush up on those but I don't think anyone cares how high they are.


(This post was edited by wilmabluekitty on Oct 8, 2006, 12:23 PM)


Glinda Bamboo


Oct 11, 2006, 10:54 AM

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Okay, so I know most MFA programs barely glance at the GRE scores, and it's usually only the graduate school's requirement. But I'm wondering just how horrible your scores would have to be to be turned down by the graduate school. I'm sure this varies from school to school, but just curious if anyone has a ballpark.

For example, I'm taking the GRE very soon and would be satisfied with a score as low as 500 for math because I am just that horrible (and terrified of) math. I've been practicing a lot but I'm not showing much improvement. My verbal score should not be a problem at all, but I'm worried I'll panic at the test center and get like a 450 on the math and the graduate school will consider that too low for acceptance. Any thoughts?


v1ctorya


Oct 11, 2006, 11:14 AM

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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

My theory is this - I'm often told the Math section on the current GRE is a joke (from colleges, and yeah, I went to a conference on GRE stuff for the place I teach at. Really, the math is baby stuff, half the reason why they are relaunching the test. The other half is due to cheating). A high percentage of people get an 800 on the Math, I got well over 700 on the math with very little review and that only put me in the 80th percentile, or something silly like that. This from a film/english major.

Some schools tell you what you need to get. The GRE's are for the grad school, not the writing program. If the grad school doesn't accept your scores, and the writing program doesn't feel like pushing for you, you're out.

Call the grad school and see what they want you to get, the minimum requirements. The verbal section is harder than the math (per the percentages, as in, a 600 verbal is around the 90th percentile), but pick up the Barron's and you should do fine. And the writing portion is writing. You do poorly on that, it might be an indicator not just to the grad school, but the writing program itself.

All in all, don't obsess but don't push it to the side either.

Aim for at LEAST a 500-550 verbal, very low for an English Major, but I think the average is around 450 or so, which, IMHO, is really too low. Math you want higher, or at least on par points wise. 550-600.

These are my opinions, BTW. I of course encourage everyone to aim higher.


Aubrie


Oct 11, 2006, 12:34 PM

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Re: [v1ctorya] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

Glinda - don't stress the GREs. First of all, my practice test scores for math (from the ETS site) were considerably lower than my actual score. I think I actually laughed out loud in the testing center when my scores popped up on the screen (!). The best thing I did for myself in terms if the math section was sit in the public library for about 3 hours before the test, and do as many problems as I could beforehand. I have no ability to really retain equations, concepts, etc. - so it was really important that everything was as fresh as possible when I took the test. This REALLY, REALLY helped.

The worst thing I did was drink a Red Bull about 45 minutes prior to the test. I do not recommend this, unless you perform better with shaky hands and sweat dripping from your forehead.

As for the schools? I have a hard time imagining a school dinging you for having a less than exceptional math score. I'm sure we have current or post-MFAers on this site that can attest to their sh*tty scores, but good schools. (ahem...cough...cough...anyone?). The only time I can see that happpening is if like V1c said, the CW department doesn't have it in them to push for you, and then... well? Ya probably don't want to be at that school anyways.


Glinda Bamboo


Oct 11, 2006, 1:09 PM

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Re: [Aubrie] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, Aubrie. I know there is nothing to do but practice and take the test and see what happens. And Victoria, I'm sure the math section is a joke to most normal people, but I don't think I ever learned how to do math right in the first place. :) I've been in the mid-700s for verbal and in the 500-540 range for math on the practice tests. And I have to sweat and stress to get that 500 on the math right now. While I imagine the math section is absolutely laughable for someone going to grad school for, say, statistics (or even anyone who had a solid math background in high school and college) I am just not in the place to get a 600 on the math right now. But I'm working on it and practicing.

I guess there's nothing left to do but keep studying until I take the test. Then I can either come here and cry about my low math score, celebrate, or say nothing at all (that would indicate I flopped so hard I'm embarrassed to reveal the scores). Wish me luck!


Aubrie


Oct 11, 2006, 1:19 PM

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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

Glinda - if you're scoring in the 700's for verbal, I think you will be fiiiiiiine.
And don't doubt yourself on the math scores. Seriously. Because I did get a 600... and my practice tests were coming in at like...500 on a good day. I'm a terrible math student. Don't psyche yourself out. The practice questions were much harder than the actual test.

I bet you'll surprise yourself.


sibyline


Oct 11, 2006, 2:48 PM

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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

relax. you're fine. they don't care as long as you don't really really suck, which you don't.


v1ctorya


Oct 12, 2006, 9:24 AM

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Re: [sibyline] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

What Aubrie said. I scored a lot higher on the real exam than on the practice one. And the more you stress, the worse (in my opinion) you'll do. Relax, drink citrus the day of (unless you have GERD), dress in layers, etc. etc.


GDClark
George David Clark
e-mail user

Oct 13, 2006, 12:07 PM

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Re: [v1ctorya] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

Some graduate schools (OSU comes to mind) have a minimum total score for acceptances, but I've never heard of it going any higher than 1200 or 1250. If you can get a 700 verbal you don't need to worry about the math.


Glinda Bamboo


Oct 15, 2006, 3:34 PM

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Okay, I took the test and I did fine. Thank god. Now the most unpleasant aspects of the application process (sending out all the info for LORs and taking the GRE) are over for me. Of course, I kind of bombed the verbal part of the GRE. I did get over 600 (barely) but my score was way lower than my practice tests. I broke 500 for the math (phew) and while my overall score is not very impressive, I'm sure it won't be a barrier for an MFA program. I didn't even crack 1200 overall, which is kind of lousy, but I think I'm fine. Thank god I can put that behind me. And thank god I didn't totally tank and have to pay that corrupt ETS corporation another $130.

Good luck to anyone else taking the GRE.


JKicker
Jonathan

Oct 16, 2006, 1:15 AM

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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

Glinda, congrats for getting that behind you! The GRE is next on my "to do" list, how long and how hard did you have to study and how long has it been since undergrad for you?

Anyone else who would like to chime in on this is welcome, as well:)

I'm trying to use as much time as possible on my manuscript so just wondering how much time I should alot for studying.


Glinda Bamboo


Oct 16, 2006, 2:16 PM

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Re: [JKicker] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

JKicker, I don't think anyone knows how much you'll need to study...depends on what you know. :) I'd recommend starting as early as possible and studying slowly and steadily throughout the weeks/months before you take the GRE. I bought a study book and started reading it a few months ago, but didn't actually start studying hardcore until about 2 weeks ago. And since I know NOTHING of math (it's been almost a decade since I had a math class) I basically had to start from scratch in that department. I crammed and got frustrated and was exhausted from studying so much math in such a short amount of time. It sucked. I ultimately wasn't 100% prepared for the test, but I refused to pay the ridiculous $60 or whatever to reschedule, so I went through with it. I wish I had been more prepared, though; I would have done better on both sections.

I thought the verbal would be no problem; I was testing in the 700s and doing fine. So eventually I abandoned studying verbal at all in order to bring up my math score (I was testing in the 300's and 400's for quantitative, so I was understandably in a panic). Now that it's all over, I'm relieved I'm done but also unhappy with my overall score. The verbal was about 100 points lower than I expected. Still over 600, but my score is kind of lame.

Anyway, I know it's way, way more important to focus on my writing sample right now, so that's what I'm doing. I'd suggest preparing for the GRE as much as you need to, but not at the detriment of your writing.

Though I wonder -- if the MFA department at Cornell wants you based on your writing, will the grad school balk at a score under 1200?


sibyline


Oct 16, 2006, 4:50 PM

Post #90 of 357 (5297 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've heard it straight from a member of the admissions committee that the faculty at Cornell don't even look at GRE scores until after they've decided who to accept. I doubt it's going to be a problem. I'm a big ole nerd who got high scores, so I unfortunately can't use my personal experience in this case.


GDClark
George David Clark
e-mail user

Oct 16, 2006, 6:57 PM

Post #91 of 357 (5280 views)
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Re: [sibyline] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

The 1200 score I mentioned was from OSU specifically. I don't even think every grad schools has a concrete number.


muttonfish


Oct 19, 2006, 8:02 PM

Post #92 of 357 (5216 views)
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Re: [GDClark] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just took the GRE. Did not study at all. Proud (sarcasm) to say I achieved a 540/540. After reading everything I really do not see the point in taking it again. I graduated from a good University. Have an english gpa at 3.4. Have strong letters of rec from two professors and one published author. Two stories that I feel comfortable with submitting. I just dont see how memorizing some vocabulary lists and high school math equations should determine whether or not you're gonna be accepted. If you got it, then you got it. Good luck everyone


(This post was edited by muttonfish on Oct 19, 2006, 8:03 PM)


Aubrie


Oct 20, 2006, 12:24 AM

Post #93 of 357 (5196 views)
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Re: [muttonfish] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't stress the GREs unless you are looking for one of the more competitive teaching assistanships.
Otherwise, as we all repeat like a mantra around these parts - it's all about the manuscript.
Now at least you can have a drink and know that you're all finished with the silly test.


kevin82


Oct 20, 2006, 2:49 PM

Post #94 of 357 (5160 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

I myself am a test-taking tyro, and was not very punctilious when it came to the GRE’s lachrymose vocabulary section, but the whole matter seems to obfuscate the real issue, which is our creative writing, not our ability to lucubrate. Sure, some graduate schools are obdurate and want us to aver ourselves by showing we have no paucity of volubility, even if it is perfunctory, but don’t forget: we are not sedulous scholars -- we are raffish artists, and although this may sound like perfidious sophistry, I think this gives us the right to be contumacious (though not recreant!) when it comes to a simple vocabulary test. But let’s not prevaricate: even though low test scores will not ameliorate one’s chances of acceptance, they will not pillory you for it.

As a great man once said, “Bird, bird, bird. Bird is the word.”


JKicker
Jonathan

Oct 21, 2006, 12:44 PM

Post #95 of 357 (5121 views)
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Re: [kevin82] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

that deserves a "haha"

haha


plumagemour


Oct 23, 2006, 12:39 PM

Post #96 of 357 (5053 views)
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gre [In reply to] Can't Post

i was planning on taking the gre the first month of novermber. does that sound too late to anyone? my first wave of deadlines are on dec 15. i was thinking a little over a month would be plenty of time to send the scores. but it's ets; i feel more comfortable taking chances with the devil. any advices/ ideas from past experience???


bighark


Oct 23, 2006, 1:03 PM

Post #97 of 357 (5048 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] gre [In reply to] Can't Post

The important thing with grad school applications is to submit your writing sample and application fee
on time. Everything else is negotiable.

If I were you, I would contact the schools with the the mid December deadlines and give them a heads up about your GRE. If it's absolutley critical that your scores arrive before the deadline date, at least you know what you have to work with. In most cases, though, they should accommodate you. Honestly. The schools that play the hard line with GRE scores are few and far between.


plumagemour


Oct 23, 2006, 3:03 PM

Post #98 of 357 (5035 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] gre [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks for the advice bighark! also i meant to type week, not month, that is, i'll be taking the test the first week of november.


Glinda Bamboo


Oct 23, 2006, 8:35 PM

Post #99 of 357 (4999 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] gre [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you'll be fine, plumagemour. I just checked the GRE website today and it says they send the scores within about 10 days after they get your request. So even if you didn't contact GRE to send the scores by the beginning of December, you should still be cool.

Of course, all you need to do is list those early deadline schools as part of your four free reports the day you take the GRE. That's what I did. They should definitely get there on time.


mediano tzu


Oct 24, 2006, 12:30 AM

Post #100 of 357 (4981 views)
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Re: [kevin82] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, I can't believe that almost everyone on here did better than a 700 on the verbal section. I only got a 620, but that was due to nervousness and the fact that I more than once chose the wrong answer because I was trying to go too fast, and of course you can't go back. In retrospect, I should have taken a practice test or two.

I have a record low as far as math goes, with a 370. That's right--370. I haven't had a math class in 10 years, and that was highschool algebra 1. I don't think it helped my cause that I didn't study at all. I figured that I'd have to spend so much time just to get to a mediocre level, that it wasn't even worth trying.

So . . .am I screwed?


Aubrie


Oct 24, 2006, 12:18 PM

Post #101 of 357 (5729 views)
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Re: [mediano tzu] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

Look at PW's MFA toolkit. The confessions of an MFA application reader should settle your nerves about the GREs. Like I said in a post earlier, I think GREs will be considered if you are applying for a competitive fellowship, or if you're neck and neck with another applicant whose writing ability is similar to your own. Otherwise, put your confidence in your manuscript. Make sure your SOP shines. I wouldn't retake the test unless you are applying to schools that have specific cutoffs for scores (I suppose OSU does, it was mentioned in an earlier post?).


Glinda Bamboo


Oct 24, 2006, 1:00 PM

Post #102 of 357 (5720 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

Someone said OSU has a GRE requirement of 1200, but I believe their MFA site says they just want at least a 600 on the verbal.


plumagemour


Oct 24, 2006, 2:35 PM

Post #103 of 357 (5703 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

do you guys know if any other schools have minimum requirements. i know some sites give averages of what accepted students generally score, but i havent come across any other programs that give minimums.


GDClark
George David Clark
e-mail user

Oct 24, 2006, 2:51 PM

Post #104 of 357 (5701 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] the lowest possible score? [In reply to] Can't Post

I got the OSU cutoff score I mentioned from a member of the MFA faculty this past spring. He complained about the restrictions the creative writing department was being forced to operate under by the graduate school. I think he'd been forced to turn down someone he was otherwise interested in.

That said, if there's newer information up on the website I'd go by it.

I would encourage everyone to take the GRE seriously though. It might not be nearly as important as your manuscript but it is an opportunity to impress. Why not give it your best effort? As W. S. Di Piero points out in the new _Poetry_ our culture is one "where poems can be faked." I would encourage everyone (and especially the poets) to view the GRE and your Personal Statement as an opportunity to show schools you're also a scholar.


laughingman


Nov 14, 2006, 3:23 PM

Post #105 of 357 (5620 views)
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institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is anyone else having trouble running these down? Some schools, like Indiana, give you both on their web site. Others give you either one or neither. Some schools want the scores to go to the Eng Dept (2501), others to the CW dept (2503)--but some don't specify! Do you just submit it to the institution code and hope it gets filed appropriately?

Anyone submitted all their scores yet and have any pointers/ insights ?

-Crying in KS


(This post was edited by laughingman on Nov 14, 2006, 3:56 PM)


allisonbarrett


Nov 14, 2006, 4:25 PM

Post #106 of 357 (5609 views)
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Re: [laughingman] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

There is a link on the ets website with all the institution codes. I've been using the creative writing code (2503) for all of them. I haven't come across any instructions about sending the scores to the english department. Which schools have you found that tell you to do that?
Also, to change the subject a little (sorry!), I got a 710 in verbal and a 670 in math, but I only got a 3.5 on the writing. That's in the 17th percentile! I froze up on the essay and spent a lot of time pouting and watching the time tick away. I barely wrote anything. I hope this won't matter, but I'm a little worried. Reassure me?


Aubrie


Nov 14, 2006, 4:30 PM

Post #107 of 357 (5607 views)
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Re: [allisonbarrett] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

Reassurance: Your other scores are really, really strong. And you're applying to a writing program that will familiarize themselves with your writing abilities through your sample and SOP. And of course you'll blow that 3.5 out of the water with those, right? AND - rumor has it very few programs give an f about your GRE scores.

I have to reassure myself as well, I only got a 4.5. And hated every minute of writing the ridiculous essays. About coal mining. Coal mining. Blech.

I wouldn't worry at all.


laughingman


Nov 14, 2006, 5:04 PM

Post #108 of 357 (5604 views)
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Re: [allisonbarrett] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm double checking everything, now, but I have varied (not 2503) instructions for Purdue: they want it sent to Dept code 2599, I believe. I'd written in my notes that U of Minn wanted it sent to 2501 (the Eng Dept), but that might have been a matter of me erroneosly writing something down or their site not being as specific as I'd like. Anyone have any other anomalies to share?




In Reply To
There is a link on the ets website with all the institution codes. I've been using the creative writing code (2503) for all of them. I haven't come across any instructions about sending the scores to the english department. Which schools have you found that tell you to do that?
Also, to change the subject a little (sorry!), I got a 710 in verbal and a 670 in math, but I only got a 3.5 on the writing. That's in the 17th percentile! I froze up on the essay and spent a lot of time pouting and watching the time tick away. I barely wrote anything. I hope this won't matter, but I'm a little worried. Reassure me?



plumagemour


Nov 14, 2006, 9:54 PM

Post #109 of 357 (5570 views)
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Re: [laughingman] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

i'm also confused; was i somehow supposed to input these codes in during my test day or are these just for when you're at home, want to send your scores to schools in addition to your covered 4?
also did anyone else have trouble with johns hopkins at the test site? there were about 8 different johns hopkins divisions listed as options and all of them were technical-- engineering, math, weird forms of biology...
i just picked one that had the creative writing subdivision available to select under the list of fields of study. should that be a problem? should i resend my scores?


laughingman


Nov 15, 2006, 2:53 AM

Post #110 of 357 (5544 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've organized myself and am doing it tomorrow.

You go to www.ets.org, you use Adobe Acrobat to download their little booklet of institution and department codes, and then you call an 800 number to submit your scores to your programs, using the institution and dept codes. I think it's $15 a program, $6 a call, with a maximum of 8 programs per call.

I think you were probaly supposed to go with 5332 (Johns Hopkins U A&S).

-laugher



In Reply To
i'm also confused; was i somehow supposed to input these codes in during my test day or are these just for when you're at home, want to send your scores to schools in addition to your covered 4?
also did anyone else have trouble with johns hopkins at the test site? there were about 8 different johns hopkins divisions listed as options and all of them were technical-- engineering, math, weird forms of biology...
i just picked one that had the creative writing subdivision available to select under the list of fields of study. should that be a problem? should i resend my scores?



vronsky


Nov 15, 2006, 9:19 PM

Post #111 of 357 (5496 views)
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Re: [laughingman] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

Six dollars a call?! What the...can't you just send the dang things in online? I can buy an omelet with that kind of money. Jesus. For a phone call?


(This post was edited by maggiekate on Nov 15, 2006, 9:20 PM)


JKicker
Jonathan

Nov 16, 2006, 1:50 AM

Post #112 of 357 (5466 views)
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Re: [Mikaeltb] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I just took the test today, thought I'd report in. 550 on math, 570 on verbal. Not great at all, but we'll see where that gets me. I ran out of time and had to skip 6 or 7 questions on the math section...damn the number crunchers. Either way, i'm just glad its over and I can now concentrate on what's really important-begging for admission.

Good luck to the rest of you!


Glinda Bamboo


Nov 16, 2006, 10:03 AM

Post #113 of 357 (5449 views)
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Re: [maggiekate] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

Aw, look. Maggiekate is getting her first taste of how corrupt and evil ETS is. :) Seriously, though, they suck. (WHY does it cost $15 per score report? Why charge even MORE to order by phone?)

But you don't need to pay that ridiculous phone fee if you send for your scores via mail or fax. I mailed mine in. We'll see if my $60 score report fee will help them be organized enough to send the scores off. I can't believe it cost me like $180 to take this test that schools won't care about anyway. Not to mention that two of my top choice schools don't require the GRE. Imagine if I get into those schools and nowhere else. Die, GRE. Die.

By the way, for those with Johns Hopkins code questions -- I believe the JH MFA website lists the exact codes to send your scores to.


plumagemour


Nov 16, 2006, 12:23 PM

Post #114 of 357 (5435 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

actually i put johns hopkins after taking my gre test. and as far as i know there were no code options, we just picked the schools and programs through a list. even so, they wouldn't even let me take in a light jacket into the testing room, much less a piece of paper with all the correct codes.

is there any way for meto view the schools and departments i pick during the test day online without having to call them?

also is there a form on their website that i can fill out to mail in my request?that 6 dollar fee is ridiculous, especially considering i only have 1 more school to send the scores to


Aubrie


Nov 16, 2006, 12:31 PM

Post #115 of 357 (5434 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

There isn't a way to do it online, but I can offer this information: I did mine through the mail - I sent out my paperwork Oct. 24th, and I know UT Austin received the score reports Nov. 9th. And I just received a copy of my scores in the mail Monday, along with a listing of all the schools that I had them sent to.

And, strangely, my percentile for verbal has gone up a point from my first score reports (sent last year), to the score reports sent out this time. Which I won't complain about. But I still find a little weird.

So after all my worrying, ETS did pull through and and send the scores in a timely manner, even though I did opt for pony express over telephone. And they rewarded me with one percentile point. Wheeeee!


laughingman


Nov 16, 2006, 12:55 PM

Post #116 of 357 (5426 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

You can either phone, fax, or mail. For some reason I didn't even think about mailing or faxing- I just phoned. The automated process wasn't too bad and the system confirmed the name of the school after each inst code I entered. I called twice and entered twelve programs all together. If I had it to do again (like if I find out I screwed up) I would probably fax.

For what it's worth, I used dept code 2503 for every school except Purdue. I emailed Purdue's office and they confirmed 2599- as it said on their website.


Teiran
Tim

Nov 16, 2006, 1:59 PM

Post #117 of 357 (5412 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
actually i put johns hopkins after taking my gre test. and as far as i know there were no code options, we just picked the schools and programs through a list. even so, they wouldn't even let me take in a light jacket into the testing room, much less a piece of paper with all the correct codes.

is there any way for meto view the schools and departments i pick during the test day online without having to call them?

also is there a form on their website that i can fill out to mail in my request?that 6 dollar fee is ridiculous, especially considering i only have 1 more school to send the scores to


This was my experience as well, as far as entering the four destinations for the free reports after the test: no numerical codes involved. Now that I think about it, I can't even be sure if those were sent to the proper place despite all the time that process took; some voice in the back of my head was nagging me about being even more careful with that part than with the actual GRE, but I was tired of the whole thing by then and I'm sure I found a way to screw it up. Ah, well. I was going to have to use at least three extra score reports anyway. I guess four more isn't that big a deal, for the opportunity to make sure everything ends up where it's supposed to be.

After all this, I really do hope that if--a colossal if, at this point--I do get into a program, it ends up being one of the ones that does ask for GRE scores as part of the application process. I don't even care if it's the most cursory of glances at the score report. I know, it's a petty thing to ask, but I want to know that taking that exam was good for *something.*


JKicker
Jonathan

Nov 22, 2006, 2:07 AM

Post #118 of 357 (5336 views)
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Re: [Teiran] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been having some issues with these dept codes myself. I pulled up the ets list on gre.org and found the code for creative writing departments easily enough, but what are you supposed to do with schools like Umass Amherst that want GRE scores sent to the graduate department or in Syracuse's case the Graduate Enrollment Management Center? How do you ensure your scores make it to these sorts of departments? Am I missing that dept on the list? Florida State and Alabama also want scores sent to graduate departments...argh.


jargreen

e-mail user

Nov 22, 2006, 4:02 PM

Post #119 of 357 (5295 views)
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GRE Rap [In reply to] Can't Post

G-R-E is a joke. Don't believe the hype.



Or maybe not. Maybe it's important. I just like Public Enemy, so I thought I'd try to rap.

I just took the dang thing today for the first time. Now, I haven't taken a math course in nine years, and I'm sure I've forgotten everything except long division. Love long division. And I was fairly overwhelmed by several of the questions, was sure I'd score a 273. I scored a 710 on the math part, which I'm told is a pretty good score for creative writing types. Ha!

I got a 650 on verbal, which kinda sorta disappointed me. Then, when I got out to the car, I looked in the mirror and gave myself a pep talk. I've decided, any school that gives a medium to high priority to that test I just took today is not a school at which I would anticipate getting a decent quality of education.


Aubrie


Nov 22, 2006, 4:22 PM

Post #120 of 357 (5289 views)
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Re: [jargreen] GRE Rap [In reply to] Can't Post

So get up - get - get - get down.
GRE is a joke in yo town.


eesa


Dec 22, 2006, 5:36 PM

Post #121 of 357 (5172 views)
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Re: [laughingman] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

I did something awful. During the last couple weeks of the semester, I was so stressed and busy that I forgot about sending my GREs. I realized today that it was past time to send them. The website says they'll send the reports in "approximately 5 business days." The deadlines for UVa and U of Washington are Jan. 1. If the schools don't get the scores by then, will they still consider me? It seems so trivial.....


harja


Dec 22, 2006, 6:26 PM

Post #122 of 357 (5163 views)
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Re: [eesa] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

Eesa, I called and had my scores sent on Monday and one of my schools reported getting them a day or two ago, so I suspect the others have recieved them but haven't posted them. I would forget about the mail or fax thing and just pay the extra 6 bucks. Hope this helps.


HopperFu


Dec 23, 2006, 5:46 AM

Post #123 of 357 (5119 views)
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Re: [eesa] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think you'll automatically get rejected because of it, but if you haven't already, get ETS to send them whatever the quickest way possible is.
I mean, don't freak out about it: while the GREs are required, they aren't what the creative writing programs care about. They are needed, almost exclusively, for the graduate school (which, yes, is different from the writing program, weird), so if they get there a couple of days late I think you'll be fine. Just get them there.
Something awful would be using Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" as your writing sample. I'm guessing you'd get busted for that.


rooblue


Dec 23, 2006, 8:58 AM

Post #124 of 357 (5114 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

Good suggestion, HopperFu. Suppose you started like this: "The great-aunt did not want to go to Wisconsin," -- and the killer's soubriquet was "the Malcontent," do you think anyone would notice? :-)


lili99


Dec 23, 2006, 9:43 AM

Post #125 of 357 (5111 views)
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Re: [eesa] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

eesa, i saw your post and freaked out a little because i, too, had forgotten to send my scores to uva... i think it should be fine, though. also, i did a little investigation on their website and saw the following in the faq section of the uva graduate school website:

If you have a personal copy of the required test scores, sending a photocopy will speed evaluation of your application.

i think i'm going to do this (as well as order the official score report). i'm a little worried about how the names of the other schools i am applying to are listed on my score report and maybe uva's feelings will be hurt that i chose to send my scores to those schools first... but then i realize i'm being crazy CRAZY! i hope. right?


laughingman


Dec 23, 2006, 1:40 PM

Post #126 of 357 (5860 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] institution/ dept codes? [In reply to] Can't Post

Agreed. It would definately be a better move to send one of Flannery O'Connor's lesser-known stories as your writing sample.


jargreen

e-mail user

Dec 23, 2006, 9:37 PM

Post #127 of 357 (5830 views)
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Oh boy! Here we go again ... [In reply to] Can't Post

I see that Florida requests scores be sent to department code 2501, which I'm guessing is the English department in general. Here's a real stinker: Illinois wants scores sent electronically to department code 0000. 0000! Electronically!

I already had my scores sent there by mail. But that's not good enough.

I've searched this forum, and maybe overlooked it, but has anyone figured out how to have the scores sent electronically? The GRE website doesn't say one word about this. I wonder if this can be done via the automated line, or would one have the speak to a real person? Wonder too how long it takes to send them that way.

Suddenly frantic,
Ryan


v1ctorya


Dec 24, 2006, 1:55 PM

Post #128 of 357 (5796 views)
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Re: [jargreen] Oh boy! Here we go again ... [In reply to] Can't Post

Jar,

As far as I know the GRE DOES send them electronically anyway. Once you pay. Some schools have it set up to receive scores every two weeks, some once a month. That's why it peeves me that it costs 15$ a score report, they just attach it to an e-mail anyway.


jargreen

e-mail user

Dec 24, 2006, 3:45 PM

Post #129 of 357 (5784 views)
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Re: [v1ctorya] Oh boy! Here we go again ... [In reply to] Can't Post

Weird. Thanks!


ecphraticknolls


Dec 27, 2006, 2:00 PM

Post #130 of 357 (5726 views)
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Re: [Mikaeltb] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay, well, I think I’ve run into a predicament. I took the GRE this past March thinking that I would apply to a certain MA program in philosophy at the last minute. I ended up taking the year off, and now I’m applying to MFA programs. Well, I was supposed to take the GRE this morning, but I somehow confused the test times

they wouldn’t let me take the test since I was an hour late >.<

First time around I got a 550 verbal / 660 math / 5.5 writing

I know I can do better on the verbal section (above 600 easy, 700 on a great day with the right words… I also think I would pull a 6 on the writing, since I messed up in my approach to the argument analysis portion last time). Should I bother to drop ANOTHER $130 on the damned test? Or… should I just apply with what I have?

I don’t have an English background… I focused on History and Philosophy as an undergrad.


hamholio


Dec 27, 2006, 2:22 PM

Post #131 of 357 (5721 views)
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Re: [ecphraticknolls] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

You're applying right now or next year? If you're applying next year, I wouldn't worry about it. If you're applying right now, I'm not sure you'd be able to get your new scores in on time anyway.

On the other hand, if you feel the need to have the "magic feather" of a higher GRE score -- then spend that extra cash. Probably won't do you one lick of good outside of your own confidence.


(This post was edited by hamholio on Dec 27, 2006, 2:23 PM)


ecphraticknolls


Dec 27, 2006, 2:38 PM

Post #132 of 357 (5712 views)
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Re: [hamholio] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I’m applying for this year… I already sent my old scores to some schools… but I’m worried that such a low verbal score will hurt my chances…


jargreen

e-mail user

Dec 27, 2006, 2:39 PM

Post #133 of 357 (5712 views)
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Re: [ecphraticknolls] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

ecphraticknolls,

Based upon everything I've gathered from this website and from countless professors and grad schools, the GRE does not weigh heavily on an MFA faculty member's evaluation of your application. The writing sample is what's important to him/her. However, strangely, the English Graduate Programs who "okay" each writing program's choices might take a second look at your verbal score. Also, if you're applying to a program where you're competing for funding, it's possible that your scores might not get top dollar.

The only schools that actually post any information on the matter (for example, Ohio State) talk about 600 being the desirable score.

If you want my advice, polish up your writing sample and have those scores sent to the schools you're interested in. But if you're willing to wait another year, take the test again and apply next year with your shiny new scores.

Sorry to hear about the mixup. Hope this helps.

Anybody else have other ideas?


GDClark
George David Clark
e-mail user

Dec 28, 2006, 2:38 PM

Post #134 of 357 (5628 views)
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Re: [jargreen] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Go ahead and send in the scores you've got now. If you've got the $130 you might take the test next month and forward the new scores along then. At least you'll have them in your back pocket. If you get an acceptance without funding you might ask if the improved GRE could bump you up the list.


Glinda Bamboo


Jan 17, 2007, 9:11 AM

Post #135 of 357 (5527 views)
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Re: Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey everyone, guess what I got in the mail yesterday? ETS finally sent my GRE preparation materials.

I took the GRE in October.

Thanks, ETS. Thanks a lot.


HopperFu


Jan 17, 2007, 9:15 AM

Post #136 of 357 (5525 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

God, Glinda, I wanted to respond to that, but the best my brain could come up with was, gaaaaa! And then the sound of my head thumping on the desk.

ETS sucks.


ecphraticknolls


Jan 17, 2007, 9:32 AM

Post #137 of 357 (5521 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Eh? Well, most of that stuff is available online anyway. Not that it is particularly helpful (aside from power prep). Most of the independent prep guides are better anyway (Barron’s, Kaplan, and maybe Princeton Review if one happens to be in a rush).

Though I’m not sure how much good this is going to do you at this point. I’m sure it won’t matter that much. It is a fine arts degree.

However, ETS still sucks.


Glinda Bamboo


Jan 17, 2007, 10:20 AM

Post #138 of 357 (5506 views)
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Re: [ecphraticknolls] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I certainly didn't wait around for the ETS stuff last fall. I used a third party study guide and had my SO tutor me on the math.

I did call my local test center about the ETS materials once, and the girl said: "Um, I don't think they really mail anything out. Even if they say they do."

So, yeah. Go ETS.


alishein


Jan 17, 2007, 10:56 AM

Post #139 of 357 (5488 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

the same thing happened to me! I took the GRE in November (but signed up for them in October) and last week the prep CD came in the mail!


jargreen

e-mail user

Jan 17, 2007, 6:25 PM

Post #140 of 357 (5427 views)
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Re: [alishein] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Ditto! (At least they cared enough to send it.)


MissEsquire



Jun 21, 2007, 9:31 PM

Post #141 of 357 (5296 views)
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Re: [jargreen] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Has anyone taken the English Literature subject test? I have to take this to apply to Cornell's joint M.F.A./PhD program. Johns Hopkins also suggests taking this. How much did you study (by study I mean read) and how did you do? I'm an English major and have read maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of the work on the reading list....but have never read the Bible cover-to-cover or (embarrassingly) Paradise Lost.


(This post was edited by MissEsquire on Jun 21, 2007, 9:33 PM)


alishein


Jun 25, 2007, 12:35 PM

Post #142 of 357 (5230 views)
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Re: [MissEsquire] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm planning on taking the GRE lit as well. I was thinking of getting the Kaplan (or whichever brand) study guide and starting there. I used a study guide for the General Test and it worked really well for me.


mattk


Jun 25, 2007, 12:37 PM

Post #143 of 357 (5230 views)
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Re: [MissEsquire] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

I took the Lit subject test a couple years ago in preparation for one application and did very poorly. I studied quite a bit, but only about 3 weeks before the exam. I think I scored in the bottom 40%. A big factor me is that I took it about six years after my BA, so a lot of stuff I'd read was now lost at the level of detail where it would be useful in taking this test. Cramming over 3 weeks probably wasn't a good idea either - I read a lot, but I'm not sure how much of it was useful - you (at least I) can only learn so much.

I was going to retake it last year in preparation for applying to phd programs, and started studying 8 weeks out and was feeling much better about my progress and schedule, but decided NOT to retake it because I felt like the time I was investing in studying was only going to marginally improve my score and that ultimately the investment wasn't worth it, esp when there are lots of schools that don't ask for it. I ended up getting into my top choice phd program, albeit one that didn't ask for Lit GRE. Of the two schools I've applied to that asked for it, I was waitlisted at one and didn't get into the other. I can't imagine that any school *really* cares that much how you do on this, esp in creative writing, but maybe it's the case.

I would not focus at all on the Bible (at least not for the GRE) - it's not worth reading it to answer one or two questions. Paradise Lost might be worth reading, but I wouldn't read the whole thing - just enough to be able to recognize it. There are lots of study guides out there that will help you figure out what's worth reading and knowing well vs what you can safely skip. But, my advice might not be the best, since I did so poorly on the test. ;)


bighark


Jun 25, 2007, 2:00 PM

Post #144 of 357 (5217 views)
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Re: [mattk] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

There are ZERO creative writing MFA programs that require the Lit GRE.

The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins does not require the Lit GRE. Write the program and ask. Yes, the website says something about it being strongly recommended. Yes, that's confusing. Write the program and get clarification. Remember, this is an MFA program---an exceptionally strong writing portfolio is the primary point of consideration. Instead of wasting time and money trying to prepare for an unnecessary exam, work on your portfolio and a kick-ass statement of purpose (which at Johns Hopkins is quite a challenge).

The Cornell MFA does not require the Lit GRE. Only the Cornell joint PhD/MFA requires the Lit GRE and that's because it's a frickin' PhD in English Literature that lets you take MFA classes. Note that I didn't write "PhD in Creative Writing." You'll take two years of MFA coursework and the rest will be PhD studies. One student a year is accepted into that program. In my opinion, that's one crazy student (no doubt a poet). If you don't feel comfortable taking the Lit GRE this afternoon, I would suggest skipping the joint PhD/MFA and going straight for the MFA. PhD programs won't be going anywhere any time soon, and if you're good enough to get a Cornell MFA, you'll have no trouble getting into a fine English PhD program later down the road.

Good luck


(This post was edited by bighark on Jun 25, 2007, 2:02 PM)


blueragtop


Jun 25, 2007, 2:54 PM

Post #145 of 357 (5206 views)
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Don't waste money studying for the GRE. Any program worth their salt, basis admission on the writing. I was skeptical when applying, but everyone here was right. The GRE is just a formality.


hamholio


Jun 25, 2007, 6:58 PM

Post #146 of 357 (5182 views)
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Re: [melos] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, but if your score is poor enough, you might get accepted by the program but have trouble getting accepted by the Grad School.


HopperFu


Jun 26, 2007, 10:15 AM

Post #147 of 357 (5140 views)
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study (a little) [In reply to] Can't Post

For MFA programs it is mostly a formality, but yeah, you need a certain score to get in past most of the grad programs. I wouldn't stress about it though.
My suggestion would be to study a little bit for the GRE. You can actually improve your grade quite a bit through studying - not because you can learn the info, but because there are some good test strategies. I wouldn't put a ton of work into it, but if you can pick up one of the books (Kaplan, Princeton, whatever) a month or so ahead and go through it, that might help.

Oh, and as for the MFA / Ph.D. hybrid at Cornell, they actually will admit as many qualified candidates as apply, but you have to get admitted into both programs which is hard. Some years nobody gets in, some years there are more than one. But Bighark is right, if you can get in to the MFA program you can likely get into a Ph.D. program later if you really want. There are two students currently in the MFA program who are planning to get their Ph.D.s, and I can't imagine that they'll have trouble getting in. They're smart cookies.


hamholio


Jun 26, 2007, 12:54 PM

Post #148 of 357 (5115 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] study (a little) [In reply to] Can't Post

and definitely do the two computerized practice tests GRE offers to get a sense of how you'll score and what the format is.


MissEsquire



Jun 27, 2007, 12:00 PM

Post #149 of 357 (5066 views)
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Re: [bighark] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for your advice. I see what you're saying about getting into PhD programs after the MFA. I've always had a desire both to earn an MFA (fiction) and to earn my PhD in English Literature (am applying to several Lit programs as well), which is what I'm studying now. That's why Cornell's joint program appealed to me. But who knows. Maybe after two years of masters work at any one school a person would be itching for a change.

In terms of the Lit GRE, though, would you say it's better to write it while you're still studying the literature on the test? This was my line of thinking. Even if I wait a few years to apply to a PhD program, at least I wouldn't have to reread a truckload of books.


In Reply To
There are ZERO creative writing MFA programs that require the Lit GRE.

The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins does not require the Lit GRE. Write the program and ask. Yes, the website says something about it being strongly recommended. Yes, that's confusing. Write the program and get clarification. Remember, this is an MFA program---an exceptionally strong writing portfolio is the primary point of consideration. Instead of wasting time and money trying to prepare for an unnecessary exam, work on your portfolio and a kick-ass statement of purpose (which at Johns Hopkins is quite a challenge).

The Cornell MFA does not require the Lit GRE. Only the Cornell joint PhD/MFA requires the Lit GRE and that's because it's a frickin' PhD in English Literature that lets you take MFA classes. Note that I didn't write "PhD in Creative Writing." You'll take two years of MFA coursework and the rest will be PhD studies. One student a year is accepted into that program. In my opinion, that's one crazy student (no doubt a poet). If you don't feel comfortable taking the Lit GRE this afternoon, I would suggest skipping the joint PhD/MFA and going straight for the MFA. PhD programs won't be going anywhere any time soon, and if you're good enough to get a Cornell MFA, you'll have no trouble getting into a fine English PhD program later down the road.

Good luck



(This post was edited by MissEsquire on Jun 27, 2007, 12:06 PM)


bighark


Jun 27, 2007, 12:10 PM

Post #150 of 357 (5058 views)
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Re: [MissEsquire] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't really know the particulars about the Cornell program, but I surmise that you get your MFA after the first two years the way that you'd get an MA from other PhD programs in other subjects at the two year mark (not all PhD programs do that, of course, but many do).

Since you'd be taking the same courses with the same instructors in the same cohort of students, there's absolutely nothing that would devalue your degree. You'd be considered a real M.F.A student because that's what you'd be--an MFA student (who happens to be working toward a PhD in English at the same time).

Good luck.


bighark


Jun 27, 2007, 12:42 PM

Post #151 of 357 (4937 views)
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Re: [MissEsquire] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Your question applies to people who are applying to PhD programs in English AND MFA programs or to people who happen to be applying to the MFA/PhD program at Cornell.

I just want to make that clear, since many of the people on this site apply to MFA programs only. The average MFA applicant does not have to take the Lit GRE at all.

Anyway, if you've been preparing for the Lit GRE all this time, definitely take the test. The worst thing that could happen is getting a score you're not crazy about.

If you haven't been preparing for the Lit GRE, though, I'd suggest skipping it altogether while you work on your portfolio and do some minor prep for the standard GRE.

While any reasonably literate person could score well enough on the standard GRE with little or minor prep, the subject exam is a completely different animal.
Even very gifted students need to prepare for the subject exams. A quick refresher a few weeks before the test won't cut it.

Good luck!

In Reply To
In terms of the Lit GRE, though, would you say it's better to write it while you're still studying the literature on the test? This was my line of thinking. Even if I wait a few years to apply to a PhD program, at least I wouldn't have to reread a truckload of books.




MissEsquire



Jun 27, 2007, 1:15 PM

Post #152 of 357 (4931 views)
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Re: [bighark] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes I actually took the standard GRE already and did well where it counts (ie. language). Hopefully they'll overlook my weak math scores.

So, really, all this combined PhD program hoohaw comes down to whether or not I can hack the subject test. Yikes! You can only write it in November and December, apparently. Is it just me or is standardized testing completely idiotic? We don't have much use for it in Canada.


blueragtop


Jun 27, 2007, 4:41 PM

Post #153 of 357 (4914 views)
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Re: [MissEsquire] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

I got into programs where I didn't meet the GPA requirement and my GRE wasn't great. I still got funding. This is the story for a lot of people as well. It's been said a million times, but the top programs want the best writers. Plain and simple.


HopperFu


Jun 27, 2007, 4:51 PM

Post #154 of 357 (4912 views)
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Re: [bighark] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
You'd be considered a real M.F.A student because that's what you'd be--an MFA student (who happens to be working toward a PhD in English at the same time).

Yep. I think that's the same at most programs that have dual degrees. Also - and this I'm not totally sure about - I think you get your masters (as well as the MFA) as part of the process towards your Ph.D.

As for the question of when to take the test, I think that the GRE tests are all good for five years - but do NOT take my word on that - so if you think you'll apply in the next five years than it does seem to make sense to do it now, while you are familiar with the work, have the books, etc....


bennyprof


Jun 29, 2007, 10:34 PM

Post #155 of 357 (4868 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Quick question about grades...

I received a business undergrad in 2004, decided the world of real estate finance wasn't for me, and went back to school to pursue a degree in English (2nd undergrad.)

My reasoning for this was twofold: 1.) I wanted to study the literature I missed out on previously (which has definitely been worth it thus far -- got to study Paradise Lost with a respected Milton scholar!) and 2.) My business grades were less than optimal: 2.8. (I drank. A lot.)

I've now completed 36 hours of my second degree with a cumulative GPA of 4.0. (Funny what studying and showing up for class will do for you.) I also had a short story published last fall.

My question is this: I understand that grades don't factor in a whole lot with selection committees, but will they come up in discussions regarding funding/fellowships? Will my previous transcript hurt me with the university?

Do I even have to send it? I'm assuming the answer to that is yes.

Thanks in advance.


HopperFu


Jun 30, 2007, 8:20 AM

Post #156 of 357 (4852 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm almost certain you do have to send the transcript (most applications ask for ALL transcripts and degrees). Depending on the school, grades may come up in funding / fellowship discussions, but it is my understanding that later grades are heavily weighted (i.e., the grades you got your junior and senior year carry more weight than those your first and second year).
My assumption is that schools would weight your more recent work more heavily; if you are truly concerned about it, it is something you could address in your statement (or if there is a "anything else you want to tell us" section).
It seems like a good thing that you can demonstrate that you are now serious about your studies, even if you once weren't....
Of course, all of this will vary by school.
Helpful, huh?


bennyprof


Jun 30, 2007, 11:13 AM

Post #157 of 357 (4844 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm almost certain you do have to send the transcript (most applications ask for ALL transcripts and degrees). Depending on the school, grades may come up in funding / fellowship discussions, but it is my understanding that later grades are heavily weighted (i.e., the grades you got your junior and senior year carry more weight than those your first and second year).
My assumption is that schools would weight your more recent work more heavily; if you are truly concerned about it, it is something you could address in your statement (or if there is a "anything else you want to tell us" section).
It seems like a good thing that you can demonstrate that you are now serious about your studies, even if you once weren't....
Of course, all of this will vary by school.
Helpful, huh?



Yes, that is helpful. Thanks.

I figured as much, although I wasn't sure. I'll have to evaluate the cost/benefit ratio of mentioning it in my personal statement and clearing the air versus leaving it out and hoping they'll figure it out for themselves (or overlook it.) I'd hope the fact that I've gotten an A in every course I've taken since coming back to school would offset it quite a bit.

And it's not like my average was in the low 2's, which might have been a bigger obstacle to overcome.


HopperFu


Jun 30, 2007, 1:48 PM

Post #158 of 357 (4837 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

My advice (in general, though specific here) is that unless it is something really egregious ("the reason I was in jail for ten years...") or something that you think will profoundly help your chances of getting in ("there wasn't anywhere on the application to mention the $100M endowment I want to give the program") don't do anything to raise red flags on your own....


ellen362


Jul 1, 2007, 2:45 AM

Post #159 of 357 (4813 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Quick question about grades...

I received a business undergrad in 2004, decided the world of real estate finance wasn't for me, and went back to school to pursue a degree in English (2nd undergrad.)

My reasoning for this was twofold: 1.) I wanted to study the literature I missed out on previously (which has definitely been worth it thus far -- got to study Paradise Lost with a respected Milton scholar!) and 2.) My business grades were less than optimal: 2.8. (I drank. A lot.)

I've now completed 36 hours of my second degree with a cumulative GPA of 4.0. (Funny what studying and showing up for class will do for you.) I also had a short story published last fall.

My question is this: I understand that grades don't factor in a whole lot with selection committees, but will they come up in discussions regarding funding/fellowships? Will my previous transcript hurt me with the university?

Do I even have to send it? I'm assuming the answer to that is yes.

Thanks in advance.


Bennyprof,

My grade situation was similar. Yes, you do have to send all transcripts. Your past can show your new-found determination to be the best writer you can be. I'm now in a top program.

Ellen362


bennyprof


Jul 1, 2007, 8:34 AM

Post #160 of 357 (4807 views)
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Re: [ellen362] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Quick question about grades...

I received a business undergrad in 2004, decided the world of real estate finance wasn't for me, and went back to school to pursue a degree in English (2nd undergrad.)

My reasoning for this was twofold: 1.) I wanted to study the literature I missed out on previously (which has definitely been worth it thus far -- got to study Paradise Lost with a respected Milton scholar!) and 2.) My business grades were less than optimal: 2.8. (I drank. A lot.)

I've now completed 36 hours of my second degree with a cumulative GPA of 4.0. (Funny what studying and showing up for class will do for you.) I also had a short story published last fall.

My question is this: I understand that grades don't factor in a whole lot with selection committees, but will they come up in discussions regarding funding/fellowships? Will my previous transcript hurt me with the university?

Do I even have to send it? I'm assuming the answer to that is yes.

Thanks in advance.


Bennyprof,

My grade situation was similar. Yes, you do have to send all transcripts. Your past can show your new-found determination to be the best writer you can be. I'm now in a top program.

Ellen362




Thanks. That's truly great to hear. And congratulations!

Which program do you attend, if you don't mind me asking?


gcsumfa


Jul 1, 2007, 3:43 PM

Post #161 of 357 (4792 views)
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Re: [MissEsquire] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Yes I actually took the standard GRE already and did well where it counts (ie. language). Hopefully they'll overlook my weak math scores.

So, really, all this combined PhD program hoohaw comes down to whether or not I can hack the subject test. Yikes! You can only write it in November and December, apparently. Is it just me or is standardized testing completely idiotic? We don't have much use for it in Canada.


If you're that worried about the subject test, then why take it? Just worry about getting into the MFA program for now and apply for PhD programs in your last year of your MFA program. Most of the top PhD programs don't even require the subject test anyway. Columbia even has a statement on its website that basically says, "we think the GRE Lit Exam is a complete joke."


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Jul 1, 2007, 3:47 PM)


MissEsquire



Jul 1, 2007, 6:18 PM

Post #162 of 357 (4779 views)
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Really? This is great to know. You're absolutely right about not focusing on the PhD at the moment. Thanks for the advice, everyone.


In Reply To

In Reply To
Yes I actually took the standard GRE already and did well where it counts (ie. language). Hopefully they'll overlook my weak math scores.

So, really, all this combined PhD program hoohaw comes down to whether or not I can hack the subject test. Yikes! You can only write it in November and December, apparently. Is it just me or is standardized testing completely idiotic? We don't have much use for it in Canada.


If you're that worried about the subject test, then why take it? Just worry about getting into the MFA program for now and apply for PhD programs in your last year of your MFA program. Most of the top PhD programs don't even require the subject test anyway. Columbia even has a statement on its website that basically says, "we think the GRE Lit Exam is a complete joke."



gcsumfa


Jul 1, 2007, 7:58 PM

Post #163 of 357 (4771 views)
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Yeah, I shouldn’t have said “most PhD Lit programs” though, because a lot of the top programs still require the subject exam; however, more programs are dropping the exam every year. UNC, which has an excellent reputation, doesn’t require the subject exam, along with Columbia and Duke (just off the top of my head).

The mindsets and goals for a Lit/PhD and an MFA are completely different, which means of course that how one applies to an MFA program differs completely from how one applies to a Lit/PhD program.

For instance, I know a Lit prof who often serves on admissions committees for PhD apps. He says they throw out SOP's (and an applicant’s admission candidacy) that mention a "love for literature…since childhood...I want to use my love of literature to change lives, etc." Yet, those kinds of comments might actually help in a CW SOP. Lit crit people today are less concerned with the kinds of aesthetic attributes of literature that creative writers tend to be concerned with and are more concerned with methodical, theoretical approaches to literature; they want to see that you have an idea of an active research agenda to pursue not only as a candidate, but as a future academic who can produce scholarly research.

Also, you might decide that a Lit/CW PhD better suits your needs after completing the MFA. To be completely honest with you, considering the depressed job market, there really isn’t a point in getting a Lit/PhD unless you have a unique, active research agenda that you want to pursue as a lifelong academic. There are folks who are genuinely interested in producing creative work in addition to scholarly work, and these folks earn MFA’s and Lit Phd’s, but if your main interest is creative writing and you desire additional literary studies after your MFA, I would just consider a Lit/CW PhD. This degree will still give you more lit and qualify you as a "generalist" (i.e. ability to teach undergrad lit courses), but your primary “research agenda” will still be your creative writing.


ellen362


Jul 2, 2007, 2:52 AM

Post #164 of 357 (4748 views)
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Iowa.


bennyprof


Jul 2, 2007, 11:01 AM

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In Reply To




Iowa.



You weren't kidding about it being a top school!

I'm actually quite curious about that program. A lot is said about Iowa in this forum and elsewhere, and it would be great to get some firsthand information. If you wouldn't mind answering a few questions I'd greatly appreciate it.

1.) Does the tiered funding situation create tension between the students, as is rumored/assumed by many people? Do those who receive full funding get more positive attention from faculty? Conversely, do they have a big target on their back? In his book, Kealey seems to suggest that a tiered funding system would cause competition in the workshop environment (i.e. a well funded student would have his work ripped apart by his peers on a more regular basis because of his place at the top.)

Note: I recognize the possibility that some of the negative press about Iowa could be due, at least in part, to jealousy. Maybe they applied and didn't get in, or they know someone from Iowa who got a great publishing contract right out of the gate, etc...

2.) What was your writing sample like, if you don't mind me asking? (Subject matter and genre?)

3.) Is there a wide variety of writing styles represented at the school? Are there students who push the envelope, subject-wise? I've heard that Iowa is a fairly conservative program (not necessarily in the political sense, but with regard to a general standard of decency) and that most students are writing the type of fiction that would fit nicely into the Paris Review, Glimmer Train, or the New Yorker. But I'm wondering if anyone is writing horror, crime novels, comedy, satire, metafiction, experimenting with voices/points of view, etc...?


I suspect some of the rumors flying around about Iowa are inaccurate. I also know that an MFA program is largely what one makes of it. I would, however, like to find out which of my impressions might be partly true from someone who is attending, or has attended, the program.

Thanks,
Benny



vronsky


Jul 2, 2007, 12:07 PM

Post #166 of 357 (4718 views)
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To answer your third question: I know of at least one science fiction writer who graduated from Iowa. His name is Kevin Brockmeier and he's great! And Kurt Vonnegut taught there way back when, if it makes a difference.

We should probably move this discussion over to the Iowa thread...


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jul 2, 2007, 10:16 PM

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I believe Joe Haldeman went to Iowa, too.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


bennyprof


Jul 2, 2007, 10:28 PM

Post #168 of 357 (4681 views)
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Thanks, that's good to hear! I'd like a little diversity, writing-wise, wherever I go. A place that encourages different genres and styles, rather than simply accepting people based on their chances to win the big awards, which tend to go to authors with a certain familiarity of tone... namely "quiet, but powerful." Is that an unfair assertion? Probably.

That's not to say those who write in said tone aren't amazing authors... they are. I just like a little chile in my soup, if you know what I mean. (You might not. In fact, I'm not sure that metaphor even makes sense... sounded right when I typed it, though.)

I think my rant is unconsciously directed at a compilation of O'Henry Award-winning short stories I picked up the other day. I read four of them at random, and they might as well have been written by the same person -- the voices were nearly identical! (Albeit, one was clearly written by a British author, but still.)

Rambling now. Off topic. Sorry.

Ellen, I'd still love to find out your responses to my questions... anything you might offer would be incredibly helpful.

Thanks!
Benny


Kadence


Aug 8, 2007, 7:56 PM

Post #169 of 357 (4609 views)
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Back to GPA's [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey everyone,

I thought I'd return the thread talk to GPA's. I had two semesters in a row where I failed all of my classes. I had personal stuff going on and I wasn't able to 'withdraw' in time. Is this something I should address in my SOP, or not? my GPA is shit (2.6), but my last 2 semesters I averaged a 3.9. any advice would be greatly appreciated.

-Kadence


"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." -Kipling


piratelizzy


Aug 9, 2007, 12:53 AM

Post #170 of 357 (4590 views)
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Re: [Kadence] Back to GPA's [In reply to] Can't Post

Spend no more than a short paragraph explaining what happened. But put the emphasis on your having bounced back from the problems. Explain why that's all behind you now. Turn it into a positive. But do it briefly and move on. Devote most of your SOP to explaining how you expect to grow as a writer in the next few years. And remember that, in most cases, your writing sample trumps just about any weakness in the rest of your application.


'sup?!


Kadence


Aug 9, 2007, 12:58 AM

Post #171 of 357 (4587 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] Back to GPA's [In reply to] Can't Post

thank you. that's what i suspected, but i needed to hear it to be sure. i appreciate the advice. cheers. -k


"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." -Kipling


Scrat1


Sep 4, 2007, 12:33 AM

Post #172 of 357 (4511 views)
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Re: [Kadence] Back to GPA's [In reply to] Can't Post

What is the difference between the computer GRE and the paper GRE? Which do most people take? Which would you recommend I take?


bighark


Sep 4, 2007, 9:05 AM

Post #173 of 357 (4494 views)
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Re: [Scrat1] Back to GPA's [In reply to] Can't Post

The computer GRE is an adaptive test. It will respond to your performance and measure accordingly. If you answer an easy question, for example, it will offer you a medium question. If you answer the medium question, it will give you a hard question. Tank a hard question and you'll get a medium question and so on and so on. The paper test is static. You get what you get.

Although the two different tests do exist, I'm pretty sure that you won't get a choice in the matter. Unless you're living in a country that doesn't have a computer testing center, you'll take the computer GRE and that's that.


Scrat1


Sep 4, 2007, 1:52 PM

Post #174 of 357 (4473 views)
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Well that certainly makes my decision easier. Thanks for the info.


bennyprof


Sep 14, 2007, 8:01 PM

Post #175 of 357 (4403 views)
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Re: [pongo] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's an interesting question for anyone who cares to answer.

-I'm almost finished with my second undergrad and plan to apply to MFA programs this winter.
-For my first undergrad (which I received in business) my GPA was 2.8.
-My cumulative GPA so far for my second undergrad is 4.0.

I just found this on UC Irvine's Website under requirements for an MFA applicant:

"A bachelor's degree [which, I assume, means completed?] with a minimum 3.0 grade point average is a prerequisite for admission to the Program."

So... does this mean UC Irvine is out of the question for me, even though I have a perfect GPA in my degree in-progress (since said degree is not yet complete)? Did I screw myself with that 2.8? Or will they take into consideration the superior transcript?

Granted, UC Irvine was a long shot to begin with. But I'd still hate to take it off my list!

Thanks.


bennyprof


Sep 14, 2007, 8:11 PM

Post #176 of 357 (4958 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe I'm confusing "admittance" and "acceptance." Or, thinking the two are synonymous when they're not. Maybe you can be accepted into the program, then admitted after graduation. Dunno how that works.


rpc
ryan call

Sep 14, 2007, 8:58 PM

Post #177 of 357 (4953 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

thats maybe something youll want to ask the program about

but the way i see it is this: when you send in your app, that will come with transcripts from all "degree granting institutions," and they're going to see everything, which is the most important thing probably. if they see you're on track to graduate a second time with a 4.0, that should be fine.

i doubt the other thing will negatively affect your application, but that's just me. send them all the transcripts and get that manuscript the best it can be

it cant hurt to try


<HTMLGIANT>


hamlet3145


Sep 15, 2007, 11:12 AM

Post #178 of 357 (4935 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Two things:

--I really doubt that they (the creative writing department) would even glance at your GPA until they read your writing sample and decided to admit you.

--Whenever I put down an undergrade GPA for any of my applications I always just averaged all my undergrad grades together (I have two bachelors). If you averaged your grades from your 1st bachelors with the work you've done on your second, then it would sound likely to me that you'd have over a 3.0 anyway, wouldn't you?

--Okay, three things. =) A 2.8 won't profoundly affect your admissions prospects. There are 10 others things more likely to sink you first.


bennyprof


Sep 15, 2007, 12:08 PM

Post #179 of 357 (4930 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
--I really doubt that they (the creative writing department) would even glance at your GPA until they read your writing sample and decided to admit you.



Yeah, I realize that. My concern was about the grad school's policies. Whether the 3.0 GPA thing is a hard and fast rule, or if there's a little wiggle room there.



Quote

--Whenever I put down an undergrade GPA for any of my applications I always just averaged all my undergrad grades together (I have two bachelors). If you averaged your grades from your 1st bachelors with the work you've done on your second, then it would sound likely to me that you'd have over a 3.0 anyway, wouldn't you?



That's an idea. I'll ask around about that. Thanks.


Quote
--Okay, three things. =) A 2.8 won't profoundly affect your admissions prospects. There are 10 others things more likely to sink you first.



Understood. More of an inquiery on whether the GPA would sink me before the process even began. Preemptive sinkage. A hole in the hull before I even leave port, so to speak. Sorry, end of metaphor.







bennyprof


Sep 16, 2007, 7:04 PM

Post #180 of 357 (4900 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

GRE = OVER.

Took it today. Got a 1300 (630 Verbal, 670 Quantitative), which was much higher than I'd anticipated. I know a 630 verbal isn't exactly a jaw-dropping score, but it's not horrific either. Past the "Oh crap, maybe I should retake it" line anyway.

I feel pretty confident about the writing portion as well. Will find out in 10-15 days.

SO glad to get that over with so I can throw all my energy into the writing sample. To anyone debating whether to take it now or later: unless you're completely unprepared I'd highly recommend the former. Feels good to be done.

-B


(This post was edited by bennyprof on Sep 17, 2007, 1:37 AM)


HopperFu


Sep 17, 2007, 10:29 AM

Post #181 of 357 (4852 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

congrats on being done. I don't have a crystal ball, but those scores seem like they should be absolutely fine.


Raignn



Sep 17, 2007, 5:12 PM

Post #182 of 357 (4808 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Question. What's the lowest Quantitative score people would (or did) feel comfortable with? There is tons of talk about Verbal (aim for mid to high 600's), and I know the MFA has nothing to do with math at all, but how low is too low?

I'm taking the GRE on Friday and I've definitely done some math studying, but I just wonder what I can be happy with (so that I don't look like a complete boob).


HopperFu


Sep 17, 2007, 6:27 PM

Post #183 of 357 (4799 views)
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Re: [Raignn] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, no idea. Honestly, it's whatever the lowest score is that the Graduate School (which is separate from the MFA programs) will allow. The only math you're required to do in an MFA program is to split the bill if you go out for drinks...
Total wild guess? 60 percentile?


jaywalke


Sep 17, 2007, 11:04 PM

Post #184 of 357 (4782 views)
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Re: [Raignn] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Question. What's the lowest Quantitative score people would (or did) feel comfortable with?


I don't think it matters in the slightest. Creative types like to boast about how terrible they are at math, so perhaps a lower score might even help convince folks you are dominated by your right-brain. The math on the GRE is at about a 7th or 8th grade level, but it is disguised with a lot of smoke and mirrors. If you take your time and reduce it to its simplest form, it's all very easy stuff. I work for a world-class mathematician (rock-star research faculty at a big state school), and he laughed when he saw my Qual score. I matched the score of the best math Ph.D. applicant they accepted this year. It mattered not a whit, of course, when my writing sample failed to impress the MFA faculty at the same school.

It's all about the sample. It's all about the sample. Finally, it's all about the sample.


HopperFu


Sep 18, 2007, 8:02 AM

Post #185 of 357 (4756 views)
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Re: [jaywalke] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It's all about the sample. It's all about the sample. Finally, it's all about the sample.

I've been preaching that as well, however, you do have to get past the graduate school (which is very different than getting accepted into the MFA program). You don't need a particularly good score, but it can't be 200. I'd imagine that anybody who spends an half an hour looking through a test prep book would score well enough.
Regardless, though, it's probably not worth retaking the GRE to improve your math score.


jaywalke


Sep 18, 2007, 8:29 AM

Post #186 of 357 (4752 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
you do have to get past the graduate school (which is very different than getting accepted into the MFA program


Of course, but if schools have set a minimum math score for MFA applicants they are keeping it secret.

This is what Cornell says:
"Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) GRE requirements vary by field. <snip> Scores alone do not determine admissibility; the university and the graduate fields make decisions based on a variety of criteria."

If there is a basement number, I would still put my money on it being cumulative for verbal and math. They know writers don't count so goodly. If we could count, we would have long ago realized the odds against success in the arts.

I agree that a few minutes with a review book should give anyone enough right answers to scrape by.

BTW, Dividing up drinks is easy if everyone simply buys a round . . .

:-]


HopperFu


Sep 18, 2007, 9:10 AM

Post #187 of 357 (4742 views)
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Re: [jaywalke] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

BTW, Dividing up drinks is easy if everyone simply buys a round . . .


It's even easier if you have a generous prof out with you....
Actually, we have a new MFA here who majored in astrophysics, so I'm going to make her deal with it from now on.


Aubrie


Sep 18, 2007, 9:59 AM

Post #188 of 357 (4734 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

I took my Barron's prep book & The Ultimate Math Refresher (a really, really great book - I highly recommend) to the library about 3 hours before the exam. I forced myself to work through problem after problem so everything was fresh in my head for the exam. It worked.

If I had taken the exam 3 days later? Probably would have scored pretty miserably.

I don't retain math well, so having it at the front of my brain, so to speak, was very effective for me.

Definitely check out the Ultimate Math Refresher (it's on Amazon), and don't stress too much. I've met people in great MFAs who had low math scores - and I mean low. Just make sure the rest of your application is as good as you can possibly make it!


alishein


Sep 18, 2007, 12:45 PM

Post #189 of 357 (4715 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

To follow up with what everyone has said -- I spent a lot of time studying for the Math section of the GRE. I did surprisingly well but, in retrospect, I would have been better off spending all that time completing the applications ( because I definitely had to overnight a few). I even think a 60% may be a lot higher than you even need. Apparently, for the bulk of the people taking the GRE - the math is the easy part, so the percentages reflect that. For example, when I took the test last year - a 690 in math was the 68th percentile. Whereas, a score in the low 700's for verbal was something like 97%.

I'm also going to add that I scored a 4 (32nd percentile!) on the writing section ( I absolutely cannot write on command like that). And, I admit, I was put on 5 waitlists (no bites -- I'll be reapplying this year) I'm going to bet that that had everything to do with a subpar writing sample and not the GRE.

In closing, no matter how you do on the GRE - you're certain to score higher on the writing sample than I did.


Yugao


Sep 18, 2007, 8:23 PM

Post #190 of 357 (4679 views)
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Re: [Raignn] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

My quantitative score was relatively low, in the upper 500s, but my verbal score was in the 700s, so I decided to just leave it. I did do better on all the practice tests, and was expecting to make a score in the low to mid 600s, but I can easily flub math when I am nervous. I decided I'd rather put the time into improving my writing sample rather than improving my GRE score. I won't be retaking the test. From what I understand, no one on the committtee will look at my GRE scores unless my writing sample is stellar. I'm guessing my combined score is high enough for admission cut-offs, though I'm obviously no mathematical genius.


bighark


Sep 18, 2007, 10:02 PM

Post #191 of 357 (4666 views)
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Re: [Yugao] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always looked at it this way: If your writing is strong enough, the program will work with the graduate school to find a way around the GRE The grad school, in contrast, will never work with the program to find away around a weak writing sample no matter how good the GRE ends up being.


Scrat1


Sep 20, 2007, 9:44 PM

Post #192 of 357 (4609 views)
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Re: [bighark] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

When do you put in the school codes for the GRE? At the test site or when you register and pay online? I'm asking because I need to sign up for the GRE soon, but I'm not entirely sure which schools I'm applying for. I mean I have a few core schools I want, but I haven't made my complete list.


bighark


Sep 20, 2007, 10:03 PM

Post #193 of 357 (4605 views)
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Re: [Scrat1] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't worry--you'll only need four schools on test day.

You get four "free" score reports with your exam on the day you take it. After that, you'll have to pay $15 for each additional report, which you can order at your leisure once you've settled on your list.


Raignn



Sep 21, 2007, 12:34 PM

Post #194 of 357 (4556 views)
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Re: [Raignn] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Just got done with my test. 660 on Quantitative (HA!) and 600 Verbal. Seems pretty middle of the road to me and I can back up my academic prowess with a very strong transcript (Graduated from Purdue with a 3.8). So my first time will be my last time. Yay!

So now, on to the important stuff!!


bennyprof


Sep 21, 2007, 1:44 PM

Post #195 of 357 (4549 views)
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Re: [Raignn] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Haha, congrats on the math score! I was surprised at how high mine turned out, too. From everything I've read, anywhere around 600 on verbal is a comfortable spot to be in. I think it's the 550 or lower scores that will start to give grad school admission boards pause. Even then, if your writing is stellar the MFA program will step in and pull some strings. Welcome to the "done-with-the-GRE-and-never-have-to-take-it-again" club. Coffee and donuts in the back.


bennyprof


Oct 3, 2007, 1:29 PM

Post #196 of 357 (4459 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, received my writing score today. 4.5 -- Not good, not bad. Was hoping to get at least a 5, but oh well. I inserted a bit of humor into one of my answers (couldn't resist), and that might not have come off very well. Apparently ETS takes their test quite seriously, as though the GRE is an actual indicator of some kind? Hehe. Anyway, it's over.


alishein


Oct 3, 2007, 3:53 PM

Post #197 of 357 (4441 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll be reapplying to some schools this year (and applying for some others for the first time) -- does anyone happen to know if schools in general keep a file on previous applicants? As in, if I reapply to some places from last year -- will they still have my transcripts and GRE scores maybe? So I don't have to pay ETS to send them again? I'm assuming that they don't generally retain records like that (that would be a lot of paper) but I was wondering if anyone knew anything generally - before I get into contacting schools to check.


bighark


Oct 3, 2007, 5:06 PM

Post #198 of 357 (4430 views)
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Re: [alishein] Well, that was helpful. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, some schools to do maintain files. Some won't even make you pay the application fee more than once. For example, I only had to pay for one of my four Notre Dame rejections :)

Anyway, you should call the schools to figure out what, if anything, they keep.

Good luck.


Rambler


Oct 8, 2007, 12:50 PM

Post #199 of 357 (4372 views)
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GRE study books? [In reply to] Can't Post

What books helped you get ready for the GRE? I went to Barnes and Noble the other day and was overwhelmed with the selection. I know that some people have mentioned various websites and such, but is there a book in particular that helped you overall to prepare? (esp. with math)

Also, how long do you suggest studying? I am thinking about registering for the end of Oct. Is that not enough time? (I know this is a subjective question. But I generally do well on standardized tests...not a brilliant, but decent showing.)

Thanks!


alishein


Oct 8, 2007, 5:40 PM

Post #200 of 357 (4347 views)
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Re: [Rambler] GRE study books? [In reply to] Can't Post

Last year I used the Princeton Review's GRE prep book. Specifically, the one that comes with a CD. I thought the version with the CD was worth the splurge (it costs a little more than the version without) because it allows you to take tests on the computer -- so you can simulate the test environment. Which you can't do as well with the book and the paper based tests that are included in it.

Rambler, I can't tell you how much to study -- but that book also had study plan options - where the writers had laid out 4 different study plans based on how long you had before taking the test. I thought that was helpful because it really narrowed down all the material -- rather than having to cram the whole book into two weeks or whatever.


bennyprof


Oct 8, 2007, 6:11 PM

Post #201 of 357 (5817 views)
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Re: [Rambler] GRE study books? [In reply to] Can't Post

I used Kaplan's book to brush up on some writing strategies (I worked on this part the least, though, and it was the worst of my scores -- definitely look at a lot of sample essays, because there are some specific things they're looking for), a few math concepts and the word list in the back. The edition I bought came with a free online study calendar to help you get organized, tons of tutorials and a handful of practice tests. None of which I used.

The best preparation, by far, is the CD-ROM ETS sends you after you register. It has two practice tests on it that are exactly like the actual GRE, complete with immediate score feedback, which gives you an idea about what you need the most work on. Definitely take those. Getting comfortable with the CAT format ahead of time should also alleviate at least some of your test-day nervousness.

All told, I only spent around 10 hours total studying for the test -- over the course of the two weeks before I took it -- and I still did fine. If I had it to do over again, though, I'd study latin roots and word lists until my eyes fell out. A 700+ verbal would've been nice, and perfectly achievable with a decent amount of studying.


bennyprof


Oct 8, 2007, 6:16 PM

Post #202 of 357 (5814 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] GRE study books? [In reply to] Can't Post

...that said, I'd also like to repeat what's been stated many times previously... don't let studying for the GRE take precedence over working on your writing sample. If you don't get into the program based on the strength of your sample, your scores won't even be glanced at.


alishein


Oct 9, 2007, 1:29 PM

Post #203 of 357 (5781 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] GRE study books? [In reply to] Can't Post

The CD-Rom from ETS came 6 weeks after I took the test. And, I signed up for the test about 5 weeks in advance. So, unless you can get a copy of the CD from someone you know who has it -- I would have a backup study tool. Just in case.


bennyprof


Oct 9, 2007, 4:26 PM

Post #204 of 357 (5762 views)
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Re: [alishein] GRE study books? [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, bummer. Mine arrived about five days after I signed up. Anyway, I'm pretty sure you can order it from the website for free if, for whatever reason, it doesn't get to you within a week or so. But yeah, a backup plan is never a bad idea.


chitown


Oct 11, 2007, 9:14 PM

Post #205 of 357 (5710 views)
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Re: GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Quick question-

Two of my schools have an application due date of December 15 (Cornell, Irvine).

I am taking retaking the GRE on 11/17. Should I...

a) Send my (less than stellar) GRE scores from the test I took a couple years ago. It's not worth risking the schools not getting my newer test scores in time, and thus never reviewing my application.

or

b) Wait and assume that's enough time for the scores to get to the schools. The better scores could really help my application.

Thoughts? Thanks :)


bennyprof


Oct 11, 2007, 11:21 PM

Post #206 of 357 (5695 views)
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In Reply To
Quick question-

Two of my schools have an application due date of December 15 (Cornell, Irvine).

I am taking retaking the GRE on 11/17. Should I...

a) Send my (less than stellar) GRE scores from the test I took a couple years ago. It's not worth risking the schools not getting my newer test scores in time, and thus never reviewing my application.

or

b) Wait and assume that's enough time for the scores to get to the schools. The better scores could really help my application.

Thoughts? Thanks :)



First of all, Irvine doesn't want GRE scores. I spoke to the English department secretary on the phone and asked her if I'd gain any advantage whatsoever by sending my scores, even though they're technically not required. She said, "No. Don't send them." So. There's that.

As far as Cornell is concerned: send them your old scores if you're afraid your new ones won't get there on time. I think you'll be okay, though... ETS is pretty good about sending them out within the 10-15 day window. But yeah, it's better to be sure and turn in a complete application -- even with less than stellar scores -- than risk automatic dismissal. You can always send them your updated scores later. I doubt they'll even look at any apps until after the break anyway, and I don't think they'd be violently opposed to you sending them a little late (assuming they already have your old ones on file.)

Remember, the writing school doesn't care about your scores. At all. Only after you're accepted to the program will they pass along your transcripts and test scores to the actual grad school to see if you pass its minimum requirements. And even if you don't, the program director can step in and get you a waver (as long as they're not too too low.) As far as funding goes -- with Cornell it's irrelevant. Everyone who's accepted gets the same tuition waver and generous stipend; no need to fret over competing for fellowships, TAs and whatnot. Hope that helps.

Good luck!


(This post was edited by bennyprof on Oct 11, 2007, 11:22 PM)


HopperFu


Oct 12, 2007, 10:31 AM

Post #207 of 357 (5674 views)
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Re: [chitown] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you're probably okay waiting. How long does ETS say it takes to get grades out? I think that most schools read writing samples first, and then, when they have a list of their top ten or top twenty or whatever, start digging into the files and looking at all the supporting documentation....
Unless you really, really, really screwed the pooch on your first round, it won't make much of a difference, and when they send your new scores they'll also send your old. I guess that you could also just send your old ones - if you're worried about not being considered because your app isn't complete - and hope that your new ones get there before anybody reads that far into your file.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Oct 12, 2007, 11:05 AM

Post #208 of 357 (5669 views)
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Re: [chitown] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm with the "don't worry about it" faction. What I might do, if you really want to be careful about it, is to send a note along with your completed applications that states that you took the GREs on Nov. 17 and that your scores will arrive to the school as soon as ETS releases them. Or if you happen to get a report to you in the mail before you send out your applications, send a photocopy of that as a sort of "unofficial" GRE scores thing with a note that mentions that the official scores are forthcoming.

GENERALLY, schools want all parts of the application that you can absolutely control by the due date. They seem to make allowances for GRE score reports coming a trifle late, so long as you took them reasonably before the app deadline, and they seem to make allowances for recommendation letters that come a bit late.

And regardless of whether a school has a 15 December or a 1 January due date, no admissions committee is going to really read an application before mid-January; mid-December is finals hell for professors, and immediately after is holidays. Sometimes schools will get going and make sure that all applications are 100% complete at some point in January and take care of the filing, but usually all of this is done BY the end of February at the latest.

You have some wiggle room!


alishein


Oct 12, 2007, 1:49 PM

Post #209 of 357 (5653 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Last year I took the GREs the day before Thanksgiving. I had no problem getting the scores to Cornell in time for the Dec. 15th due date. After the test is over (and you've chosen to see your scores and have them count) they allow you to fill in this form to send out your 4 free score reports. I made sure to list Cornell as one of them and they got there in plenty of time. I would say - go with the new scores. Don't worry about it. Also, fyi -- when you fill out that form after the test - they give you the school's GRE codes. So you don't have to look them up yourself before the test.


chitown


Oct 12, 2007, 8:01 PM

Post #210 of 357 (5621 views)
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Re: GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks all!


mr.shankly


Oct 17, 2007, 11:34 AM

Post #211 of 357 (5565 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Quick question -- how many scores are you allowed to send out on the test day? I'm assuming ETS will send a few for free (and by free, I mean the $140 I've already paid will cover it.)

I lied, here's another -- I'm a bit confused about the methods of sending scores -- phone, fax, mail. I read that opting for mail was a good way to go, but what does that mean exactly? Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.


hamlet3145


Oct 17, 2007, 11:43 AM

Post #212 of 357 (5562 views)
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Re: [mr.shankly] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I think they give you four "free" test reports that they will send out.


bennyprof


Oct 17, 2007, 11:44 AM

Post #213 of 357 (5562 views)
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Re: [mr.shankly] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

You get four freebies on test day. Don't need a school code or anything -- you just select them from their database via a scroll down menu.

Not sure about your second question.


HopperFu


Oct 17, 2007, 11:46 AM

Post #214 of 357 (5560 views)
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Re: [mr.shankly] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm a bit confused about the methods of sending scores -- phone, fax, mail. I read that opting for mail was a good way to go, but what does that mean exactly? Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

I _think_ that this actually refers to how you can order your scores, and that there is - surprise - an extra fee for whichever options are easier; I'm pretty sure that all scores are sent via the mail and that is how schools require them.


mr.shankly


Oct 19, 2007, 12:02 AM

Post #215 of 357 (5501 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the clarification. The GRE should post on their web site: "Warning: You will need a second job in order to pay for this bullshit."

I've been taking practice tests and realize I do much better on the reading comprehension than the other verbal sections. I was wondering if anyone knew the weight of each section when it comes to scoring. (Yes, this is my wishing to find out the reading comp. is worth more than the other parts combined.)


bennyprof


Oct 19, 2007, 12:12 AM

Post #216 of 357 (5498 views)
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Re: [mr.shankly] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thanks for the clarification. The GRE should post on their web site: "Warning: You will need a second job in order to pay for this bullshit."

I've been taking practice tests and realize I do much better on the reading comprehension than the other verbal sections. I was wondering if anyone knew the weight of each section when it comes to scoring. (Yes, this is my wishing to find out the reading comp. is worth more than the other parts combined.)



Nobody knows ETS's actual formula when it comes to scoring. I suspect that each section (analogies, antonyms, reading comp) includes questions covering the entire range of difficulty, and that they're weighted accordingly. I doubt any one section is worth more than the others. But again, no one knows for sure.


Yugao


Oct 19, 2007, 9:24 AM

Post #217 of 357 (5481 views)
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Re: [mr.shankly] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know for sure, but I ended up doing very well on the verbal section and consequently there were more reading comprehension questions than I expected. I think I had at least three sections of reading comprehension, and the passages were longer and more convoluted than the ones I had practiced with. They were all on scientific topics as well.

I actually found the reading comprehension section to be the most difficult, because I tend to overthink the answers. I could do analogies and antonyms all day though.


Rambler


Nov 2, 2007, 12:20 AM

Post #218 of 357 (5407 views)
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Re: [Yugao] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I took the GRE and (thanks to Kaplan) landed a 570 on math and 650 on verbal. I feel great about the writing part.
I studied hardcore for two weeks with that Kaplan book and took the book and online practice tests. At one point, I actually felt like I couldn't breathe in that hot, stuffy computer lab.
Just wanted to record my experience for posterity (and since I am keeping my application process on the DL--in real life--in case I don't get in anywhere).
Just had to share it somewhere.


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Nov 2, 2007, 2:23 AM

Post #219 of 357 (5401 views)
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Re: [Rambler] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Congrats, Rambler. I took the GRE's several weeks ago and, unfortunately, didn't do score so well. And I mean very, very badly. As I am not the best when taking standardized test, I need to write my stories and work equally as rigorous as I studied for that darn test. Ugh. Regardless, pat yourself on the back!


Raignn



Nov 2, 2007, 10:13 AM

Post #220 of 357 (5380 views)
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Re: [seemingmeaning] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't worry too much about it. I only got a 600 on the Verbal and was shocked when I only got a 4.5 on the essays. Nonetheless I'm not taking it again. I graduate from Purdue University with honors and I think that says more about my smarts and ability to take classes then some crap test that really just makes you memorize vocab.


mpagan


Nov 2, 2007, 12:57 PM

Post #221 of 357 (5356 views)
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Re: [Raignn] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm taking the test tomorrow and plan to play tic-tac-toe with the math.

The verbal - I studied some - took some practice tests - but at this point I know what I know.

Besides - I figured if the greater Graduate School departments have a burning need to know how I did in college algebra they can look at my transcript.

I put the time into my samples and statements of purpose and I have good recs - so - that's that - for the five schools that do want my GRE's -I've decided not to worry too much over that - If they like my writing and the way I present myself in my statements and what my references have to say - then the GRE shouldn't matter much to them, or the greater graduate department their a part of. I know, some have standards, but if I can't get into the school because of that - then their school is obviously the wrong place for me in the end.


mr.shankly


Nov 3, 2007, 2:07 AM

Post #222 of 357 (5301 views)
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Re: [mpagan] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm taking the test tomorrow as well. I've taken a few practice tests now and have repeatedly done better on the math than the verbal -- by about a 100pts. Each time, I've been shy of 600 in verbal. I'd like to say, "If I don't get it, then screw it," but really I'm thinking, "Oh, sweet Jesus, just let me get 600, please oh please."

Worse case scenario: I have to alter my list while drunkenly crying.
Best case scenario: I celebrate by high-fiving strangers while drunkenly crying.


bennyprof


Nov 3, 2007, 8:26 AM

Post #223 of 357 (5293 views)
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Re: [mr.shankly] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

If it helps, everyone I've spoken to so far has told me that if you don't meet either the GRE or GPA requirements the CR department chair can step in and get you a waiver (which the grad school allows about 99% of the time). In other words, if they love your writing sample there's a good chance they'll let the other stuff slide. I don't think you'll need to alter your list, regardless. Good luck.


gmiller1122


Nov 3, 2007, 1:05 PM

Post #224 of 357 (5269 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's my (weird) situation:

A few years after earning a BA in English/Art, I took the GREs. It was 1994. Here are my scores: 510(v)/610(q)/650(a) -- I know, I should have gone into engineering or something....

In 1998, I was accepted to the MA (w/creative thesis) program at Binghamton. (I'm still not sure how I got in.) I learned a lot and did well, earning strong praise from my professors, especially in creative writing. After graduation, I spent a year as an adjunct, then was hired as a full-time English Instructor at a community college.

Six years and several hundred student essays later, and after earning tenure and a promotion, I took a semester off to stay home with my newborn son. I went back, but my heart wasn't in it anymore. So I resigned. I still teach there as an adjunct.

In the time since, I have enjoyed being a stay-at-home dad to our two children and have no interest at this point in going back to teach full-time. I just want to write. Over the years, I've revised my master's thesis project and begun a new novel, but feel as if I am writing in a vacuum (I live in the sticks). I have attended a few conferences, but I have difficulty keeping my writing at the top of the "to-do list." Therefore, I may be interested in having the structure and community an MFA program can offer. I just work better and faster when someone is expecting something of me. I am considering a low-residency MFA program, having just begun to research them.

That's a long explanation to ask this question:

Though I understand that MFA programs do not usually consider GRE scores, will my embarrassingly low GRE score from 13 years ago be a detriment? Despite my degrees and my work experience and my stellar writing sample (haha), will they glance at my GRE verbal score and suddenly say, "No way"? Should I retake it?

Thanks,
G


"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved." - Willam Jennings Bryan


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

Nov 3, 2007, 1:18 PM

Post #225 of 357 (5266 views)
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Re: [gmiller1122] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

No worries if you're considering a low-residency MFA program. Most of them don't require GREs.

Ha! I took the GREs so long ago that I don't even remember what my score was!

I'm starting my first residency in December for a low-res MFA in creative writing. I can't wait to get there! :)

Jeanne


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


gmiller1122


Nov 3, 2007, 1:33 PM

Post #226 of 357 (4941 views)
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Re: [jlgwriter] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the response. Where are you going? Why did you choose that program, if you don't mind me asking?

-G


"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved." - Willam Jennings Bryan


aiyamei

e-mail user

Nov 3, 2007, 1:45 PM

Post #227 of 357 (4941 views)
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Re: [gmiller1122] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

My understanding is that GREs only have a shelf life of five years, then you have to take them again. So something from 13 years ago isn't even something the schools want to see. I'm rooting for you, Gmiller! It sounds like you're fighting the good fight. Good luck in finding a school that works for you.


Yugao


Nov 3, 2007, 1:54 PM

Post #228 of 357 (4939 views)
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Re: [gmiller1122] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Most of the schools I am applying to stipulate that the GRE must have been taken within the last five years. I'm not sure if low-residency programs have the same requirements though.


bennyprof


Nov 3, 2007, 3:01 PM

Post #229 of 357 (4934 views)
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Re: [gmiller1122] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I could be wrong, but I think GRE scores are only valid for five years. If you're applying to a program that requires ETS-sent score reports, I'm pretty sure you'll have to retake them.


gmiller1122


Nov 3, 2007, 3:20 PM

Post #230 of 357 (4931 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the feedback so far, everyone. I've researched three low-res programs, and none of them require GRE scores at all.


"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved." - Willam Jennings Bryan


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

Nov 3, 2007, 4:11 PM

Post #231 of 357 (4925 views)
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Re: [gmiller1122] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Vermont College. There are several of us "Vermonters" on here, but I'm hardly the voice of experience, as I haven't attended my first residency yet. I'm the new kid on the block at VC.

Why did I select them? Well, I did a lot of preliminary research on low-res programs before I ever sent out an application. I talked to any alums I could find. I read each school's Website carefully. I looked up the faculty members who taught at the various programs. I looked up who was published where and what kind of fiction seemed to be in vogue at the different schools. Some places seem to lean more toward experimental fiction; others work with genre as well as literary fiction; and still others are more diversified, including creative nonfiction and children's writing in the mix.

I read the MFA forums (including this one) to get a better feel for student/faculty dynamics. In fact, I literally read almost every post in the MFA threads at the Speakeasy. After a while, I developed a much better understanding of what should be in your SOP and what I needed to do for my writing sample. I looked at school rankings and program requirements. Some schools had requirements for the degree that I had no interest in pursuing, so those were off my list almost immediately.

All of this was very time-consuming up front, and some of early first-choice schools moved down my list after my research. But I think the extra time was well worth the effort. Vermont College was my first-choice school when I finally started applying, and that's where I'll be in December.

My advice is to first define what YOU want from a low-res program and then start looking for the schools that would come closest to meeting those needs. Interestingly enough, I was told by one of the faculty at VC that my SOP made a very strong impression because it was so focused.

Just my thoughts. Hope they were helpful.

Jeanne

In Reply To
Thanks for the response. Where are you going? Why did you choose that program, if you don't mind me asking?

-G



http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


gmiller1122


Nov 3, 2007, 6:50 PM

Post #232 of 357 (4915 views)
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Re: [jlgwriter] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Very helpful. Thanks!

First off, I have spent a few more hours doing preliminary research on these programs and realized that none of them require GREs. Oops. I'm glad it's not an issue, but regret posting first and researching second. Oh, well.

I appreciate your insights into the VC program. It's quickly made it to the top of my list.

What I want is to focus mainly on my writing. I earned an MA in English and have taught college for several years, mostly as a tenured assistant professor. I recently resigned to become a stay-at home dad. I teach part-time still, but my heart isn't in it anymore. (After the current semester is over, I am taking an extended, complete leave from teaching.)

To sound completely selfish, I am tired of helping others with their writing while I push my own writing to the bottom of the priority list. I've loved teaching, but there was just never enough time or energy to write. I am very, very fortunate to now have the opportunity to focus 100% of my time on my family and my writing. What I hope to find is a program that will offer me the support and direction I know I need.

Because I have a strong background in theory and criticism already, I am looking for a program with relatively low critical writing requirements. I am not interested in gaining knowledge about teaching, publishing, or translation. I am pushing 40 and just want to write fiction. In recent years, I've realized that I have a strong lean toward Young Adult fiction, hence my initial interest in VC, Hamline, and Lesley.

Well, thanks again for your time and input, Jeanne.


"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved." - Willam Jennings Bryan


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Nov 5, 2007, 10:10 AM

Post #233 of 357 (4859 views)
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Re: [gmiller1122] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

ALways have to throw in a good low-res word for my program at Queens Univ of Charlotte. I know some people who were working fiction that were doing more young adult work without any problem in the regular fiction program. There was no GRE requirement and main focus was the writing sample. I wasn't terribly interesting in taking the GRE when I was applying to schools either.

During the distance portion and residency's there is a lot of critiquing but very little in the way of a critical component. That also interested me about the program because I felt if I wanted to do critical work I could go the cheaper route of getting an MA at a local college.

The main reason I wanted to get an MFA was to dedicate myself as a writer but I also wanted the degree (because I am interested in teaching when complete) and the community. Those three things are actually what I wrote about in my state of purpose.

Good luck!

--Jessie


http://jessiecarty.com


Moondog


Nov 5, 2007, 11:04 AM

Post #234 of 357 (4846 views)
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Re: [gmiller1122] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I was a little wary of Goddard's critical writing component going in, but I have since found that I fundamentally misunderstood it. While I can't speak for other schools, the critical piece at Goddard is about 180 degrees away from critical writing as literary theory. In fact, my first critical paper came back to me because it was too traditionally critical, too much M.A. candidate, not enough M.F.A. candidate - my advisor pointed out helpfully that I was writing as a sophisticated reader who knew his Foucault from his Barthes. I was writing as if the books were important because of what they were about. Instead, she said, try writing as a fascinated reader, one who believed the book in question was important because of how it was created.

It's a subtle distinction, I suppose, but an important one for writers.

So the critical component (at least at Goddard) has less in common with an M.A. and has more to do with analyzying other writer's work as a writer. For example, I've spent a ton of time reading Jeanette Winterson this semester, and while I suppose I could thoughtfully comment on the many important issues of gender and sexual identity and related political issues that she explores, what has really happened in my reading and thinking is that I have learned a great deal about how one writer balances and weaves multiple narratives together in a seamless whole. A practical skill that has resonated deeply in my own creative work.

It's very much an analysis of craft, rather than the admittedly (for me anyway) boring analysis of, say, the absent father in William Kennedy's "Billy Phelan's Greatest Game" or parenting after the apocalypse in Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." Honestly, the impact of this kind of reading and thinking has been profound for me. It's impact on my growth as a writer has been far greater than I would have predicted going in.

It's all about craft!

My two cents.

Peace,

Moondog


gmiller1122


Nov 5, 2007, 11:06 AM

Post #235 of 357 (4846 views)
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Re: [jacarty] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, Jessie.

Queens has also risen to the top of my list. I like that there is no major critical component. I also like the idea of regular contact with colleagues throughout the semesters. How is that working out for you? I think I would benefit from that sense of community. Finally, I like that the residencies are 7 days instead of 10 or 11. I have two small children, and being away from them for any longer than necessary is not something I look forward to, even though it is only twice a year.

If you don't mind, I have a few questions about the program:

- It seems from the website that the $5400 covers residency costs. Is that true?
- What types of books are the 12 to 15 read each semester in preparation of the residency seminars? Is it a mix of craft and genre-specific books? Is it dictated by the mentor, or is it a collaborative list? How many "regular response" papers in preparation for the residency seminars are required? How long are they?

Thanks again!

-Glenn


"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved." - Willam Jennings Bryan


(This post was edited by gmiller1122 on Nov 5, 2007, 1:44 PM)


gmiller1122


Nov 5, 2007, 1:53 PM

Post #236 of 357 (4822 views)
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Re: [Moondog] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Moondog,

That is sooo good to hear. Focus on craft is exactly what I am looking for. I have done my share of literary theory, and I think it's boring, too. Worthwhile to a degree, but boring for me personally.

Thanks for the reply and insight.

- Glenn


"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved." - Willam Jennings Bryan


mr.shankly


Nov 5, 2007, 3:57 PM

Post #237 of 357 (4804 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I decided to drunkenly high five strangers despite how I did on the test (which wasn't great.)

What's important -- the list remains intact. My gpa for the English department is nearly a 4.0; my recommenders include two well published authors -- one of whom received her MFA from one of the schools where I'll be applying. So, screw you, GRE! You don't define me!

With that said, does anyone think it would be a bad idea to address my low verbal score (530) during my statement of purpose? Basically, I want to point out that I know I didn't do well, but I don't think it's a representation of how prepared I am for graduate school. Anyone does this in the past with success? Or should I just let it lie?


Yugao


Nov 5, 2007, 4:39 PM

Post #238 of 357 (4792 views)
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Re: [mr.shankly] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't address it unless the school has a specific cut-off. I had a high verbal score, and I don't really expect it to help me at all in the application process. If you can write with facility, it's probably not necessary to justify your scores on a standardized test. Demonstrate that you can use language well, rather than drawing attention to a lackluster, but still above-average, score.


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Nov 5, 2007, 4:57 PM

Post #239 of 357 (4789 views)
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Re: [gmiller1122] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Queens--a lot of what you noted is what had me decide to apply there. I like the contact during the semester. It keeps you on your toes. The shorter residency is also a plus for anyone working and really for me-mentally. The resideny's are wonderful but mentally draining, i'm not sure I could take a 10 or 11 day residency.

Tuition is $5400 for each of 4 semesters. Then $1500 (split over two semesters) is charged for the final 5 semester when you come back to teach a seminar and present your thesis. This does not include housing or food. Housing in may can be on campus and pretty cheap but in january is usually off campus at a hotel.

The books for each semester are varied. They are sent out about 3-4 months before the next residency. You have books assigned in each genre based on the seminars that will be taught in residency and then more books assigned in your specific genere, but again these have to do w/ the seminars. i can give you more in private messages if you'd like. For some examplse I had three poetry books for one seminar upcoming and then for a fiction course i only had one this time that was more on teaching the craft of writing (our focus of this residency is teaching the craft)

The papers are a breeze. They are only two double spaced pages and you only write two for each residency. They really are just opinion type pieces.

Hope some of that helps!

--Jessie


http://jessiecarty.com


edwriter



Nov 5, 2007, 8:57 PM

Post #240 of 357 (4761 views)
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Re: [gmiller1122] Low-res programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Glenn, we've reviewed many of these issues on other threads. For a few examples you can click here, here, and here. These threads can run quite long, but I encourage you to review them because you'll find a great deal of information posted by a number of people over a period of time. Chances are, you'll find some responses to most of your questions already offered within the forum, and/or you'll find people who seem good potential contacts for learning more. Many other threads touch on some of the issues you've brought up, so you might also want to do some searching through the archives for information on specific programs or issues (as has happened here, we have a habit of veering from the named thread topic not infrequently!).

As a Queens alum (fiction) who did in fact have someone in one workshop (if 4 students including myself can be considered an effective workshop group--after my experiences with Queens I have serious doubts about that) for the semester who was working on a YA project, I'm far less sanguine than Jessie about how that can unfold. And frankly, even with the shorter residencies, which also appealed to me initially (my opinions on the lack of emphasis on critical writing are on record elsewhere within the forum, and it seems to me that the "critical component" in other programs is very similar in emphasis to what's been articulated about Goddard's approach here, which is to say that it is craft- rather than theory-centered), I would strongly encourage anyone whose primary interest is in writing YA lit to consider the programs with solid/designated YA components and a core of YA faculty and related opportunities (internships, etc.). There are plenty out there that represent a variety of timetables, locations, and curricular structures : Lesley, Whidbey, Vermont, Spalding, Hamline, and Pine Manor to name just the first half-dozen that come to mind. There are others.

Most of all, though, do check out the other threads. You'll find a great deal of information, and much of it is likely to be helpful.

Good luck!

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



jaywalke


Nov 5, 2007, 9:47 PM

Post #241 of 357 (4750 views)
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Re: [gmiller1122] Queens [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
- What types of books are the 12 to 15 read each semester in preparation of the residency seminars? Is it a mix of craft and genre-specific books? Is it dictated by the mentor, or is it a collaborative list?
-Glenn


I'm starting at Queens in January for fiction, and I'm deep into the reading list. For me it includes three short story collections plus seven additional short stories from other collections, four poetry collections, two craft books, four books of creative non-fiction, one play and one screenplay.


edwriter



Nov 5, 2007, 10:05 PM

Post #242 of 357 (4746 views)
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Re: [jaywalke] Queens [In reply to] Can't Post

To further address Glenn's question (though I suspect Dana may soon move this to another thread): The reading list content (when I was in the program, 2001-03) depended partially on when you had entered the program (no one was assigned the teaching-focused texts for his/her first residency, for example), and partially on your genre of specialization, because some days a single seminar was required for all students in a given cohort (the teaching-related texts Jessie alluded to, for example, were assigned to poets and prose writers alike), and some days the cohort would be divided into genre-specific seminar groups.

As Jessie also noted, in all cases the readings were assigned by the individual (or, occasionally, teams of) faculty leading the particular seminars for the given residency week. We had some excellent readings assigned, that's true (I credit my first Queens residency for the discovery of William Trevor, and that's not a small thing by any means), but as Jessie also suggests there was little need to write about the readings (and little-to-no feedback about what we did ultimately write), and I thought that was a shame.

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



gmiller1122


Nov 5, 2007, 10:21 PM

Post #243 of 357 (4743 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Queens [In reply to] Can't Post

Erika,

Thanks so much for the insight. I apologize to everyone for 'hijacking' the thread. Honestly, I didn't realize I was still in the GRE thread until it was too late. Sorry.

I have a few questions for you, but will PM you instead of continuing to redirect this thread.

Thanks again everyone,
Glenn


"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved." - Willam Jennings Bryan


Mae Fields



Nov 12, 2008, 12:16 PM

Post #244 of 357 (4522 views)
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Anyone who hasn't taken the GRE yet... [In reply to] Can't Post

Lets commiserate!
Here's my response to a GRE vocabulary practice exercise from this blog - http://creative-writing-mfa-handbook.blogspot.com/...g-my-ebullience.html :

"I should warn you,this post won't be laconic. It might even be a tirade. Allow me to harangue:

Though I've been sedulous in my studies, is the idea that I'll score well on the Q section next Wednesday quixotic? After all I did score only a 480 on the practice portion and can't recall how to calculate the diameter of a circle. Does that pertain to poetry?

Math is recondite and prosaic to me, and I don't have a proclivity for it. Am I being presumptuous in thinking either my brains and/or fortuity will get me through it?

I only have this one chance before the deadline, so my scores are indelible.
Was my decision to take the GRE impetuous? Did I lack acumen when I decided to do this?
140$? But I'm penurious! This will cause penury! Dearth! My money is far from prodigious. Truly, I am impecunious.

Poor scores could be inimical to my application! They could stymie my grad school plans. They'll ruin the burgeoning of my writer's life, though it is but an inchoate.
Will my sample be good enought to supplant a poor quantitative score?

What odious task will I be doing today? See me, inert in my desk chair perusing algebra and vocabulary into the crepuscular evening.
I can only hope my craven sweating ceases, that my nervousness abates. I've done nothing but study! I've been practically an ascetic!

Don't try to mollify me.
Oh, I am implacable.
I need a drink.
I will abscond from my studies with a cold one from the refrigerator.
I'll save the self-castigation for later."

Check out the other posts on the blog and write one yourself. fun fun.


(This post was edited by Mae Fields on Nov 12, 2008, 12:16 PM)


BishopPeale


Nov 18, 2008, 9:02 PM

Post #245 of 357 (4418 views)
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stupid question here [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a stupid question. I got a 1300 3 years ago (split evenly). I didn't study, which was probably stupid. I'm not sure I'd score higher, and I'm not really motivated to take it again, but I can find the motivation, I think, if anyone here would advise me on this. Should I take it again? I am really reluctant to, but if it helps me get in...


(This post was edited by BishopPeale on Nov 18, 2008, 9:04 PM)


flobelle


Nov 18, 2008, 9:11 PM

Post #246 of 357 (4413 views)
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You're kidding, right?


unsaid78


Nov 18, 2008, 9:22 PM

Post #247 of 357 (4411 views)
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Great score. I wouldn't take it again. I'd just work on my writing sample since that's what matters.


www.mfachronicles.blogspot.com - Follow us as we begin our 1st years in MFA programs!


bighark


Nov 18, 2008, 10:05 PM

Post #248 of 357 (4402 views)
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Bishop, you're no more likely to be accepted to an MFA program with a perfect GRE score than you are with a 1300. Acceptances are based on the strength of the writing sample. Really, the GRE is about as important as whether you paid the application fee.

Generally, the only time an applicant should consider re-taking the GRE is if his or her score fails to meet the published threshold for a graduate school's admission (this figure is rarely published, but in my experience it's usually pretty low --- like 1000) or if there's a merit-based funding award that considers GRE scores.

Anyway, a 1300 is a competitive score.

Good luck


BishopPeale


Nov 20, 2008, 12:07 AM

Post #249 of 357 (4319 views)
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That's kind of what I thought. The problem was that I actually scored slightly higher on math than on verbal (60/40), not evenly as I originally posted (went back and checked last night). Thanks for the input.


(This post was edited by BishopPeale on Nov 20, 2008, 12:09 AM)


v1ctorya


Nov 20, 2008, 1:37 PM

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In Reply To
That's kind of what I thought. The problem was that I actually scored slightly higher on math than on verbal (60/40), not evenly as I originally posted (went back and checked last night). Thanks for the input.



Score higher numerically or by percentage?

If you look closely, you see the truth my friend :) The Math portion of the GREs by industry standards is considered easier than the SAT math, and WAY easier than the verbal. So, if you got a 650 on the math, that might put you somewhere in the 70th percentile, while a 650 on verbal is in the 90th percentile.

So, uhm, don't freak :) I also scored higher numerically on the math, but remember, random numbers are meaningless. Percentage-wise, in comparison to the others who took the GRE, I did way better on the verbal. I was, however, sad to see that 3 years working in finance lowered my score 50 points (last time I took it was over 5 years ago, but got around a 1400 then, made me feel more competitive.)


pernicus


Nov 20, 2008, 3:56 PM

Post #251 of 357 (5931 views)
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I am proud to admit that I scored in the 24th percentile on the Match section


v1ctorya


Nov 20, 2008, 4:11 PM

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In Reply To
I am proud to admit that I scored in the 24th percentile on the Match section



I heard e-harmony was harsh, but wow, 24th percentile?

Sorry, couldn't resist. :)


pernicus


Nov 20, 2008, 4:14 PM

Post #253 of 357 (5925 views)
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haha touche. Of course I meant the MATH section.


germericanqt


Nov 20, 2008, 9:48 PM

Post #254 of 357 (5893 views)
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I sucked bum on the Q and did awesome on the verbal. I hope my remedial math skills don't frighten any MFA committees.

Like, really. 37th percentile. Eek.


NickMcRae
Nick McRae

e-mail user

Nov 20, 2008, 9:50 PM

Post #255 of 357 (5891 views)
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37 here, too! HIGH FIVE!


"You got a song, man, sing it. / You got a bell, man, ring it." - Robert Creeley

Nick McRae
nmcrae1@gmail.com
http://nickmcrae.com/


germericanqt


Nov 20, 2008, 11:25 PM

Post #256 of 357 (5874 views)
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Yay! Remedial math skills buddies! *chest bump*

Oooh, pernicus, for some reason I didn't see that until just now. Welcome to the club!


(This post was edited by germericanqt on Nov 20, 2008, 11:28 PM)


pernicus


Nov 21, 2008, 12:21 PM

Post #257 of 357 (5831 views)
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It was a proud day for me


Katevey


Nov 23, 2008, 1:54 PM

Post #258 of 357 (5745 views)
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Thank you for the laughs!!! Same type scores; my excuse: it was the first full comptuer test I'd EVER taken & had never read so much text in a timed way on screen before. With only 2 weeks to study for the (#@!!&@!!) thing, I managed a 90% verbal, 27% math yet my over-all score is just above the minimum. It's ok, I can give correct change and do head math.


caitlineva


Nov 26, 2008, 5:08 PM

Post #259 of 357 (5660 views)
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So I took the GRE a few weeks ago and got a 700 (97%) in the Verbal and a 560 (40%) in the math. Ok so far. Better than ok with the verbal. I'm figuring I'm even going to try to submit my scores to a few schools that don't require the GRE on the chance that it will help me with funding, especially because I go to a college without letter grades (it's an honor's college with written evaluations).

But then, I get my analytical writing score and it's a 4! Which is in the 37th percentile! I'm pretty sure I know what happened; I'm pretty sure I did well on the "analyze an argument" section-- probably a 5. But then the essay question I chose was about the need for tradition and ritual in a society, and I just wrote about Carl Jung. He is, after all, the basis for the idea that a society needs ritual and tradition. I think, however, it probably came off like I was trying to pass off someone else's argument as an excuse for not coming up with my own. I, admittedly, did not prepare much for this section, and didn't really know what they wanted. I also didn't finish the essay, not even close. So I'm guessing, on that one, I got a 3. It's kind of embarrassing, as I'm currently writing a 90+ page literature thesis, and work at the Writing Center at my school, essentially teaching analytical writing strategies. Analytical writing is definitively not a problem for me, and my recommendations-- from literature professors and my boss at the Writing Center-- will definitely attest to this. But I just have this fear that a program is going to accept me and the graduate school is going to be like: "37th percentile writing score for a student in the writing program? Impossible! Muahahahaha."

I'm wishing I could send samples of my critical essays, now, or that my school had grades. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone has any ideas about how the analytical writing section affects applications because I mainly just hear about the cut-offs for the multiple choice portion. Anyone else score low on the analytical section? And get into an MFA? Do you think I shouldn't submit my scores to schools that don't require them, despite the stellar verbal score?

Thanks! I'm really pissed at these ETS "graders!" Who do they think they are?


jaywalke


Nov 26, 2008, 5:53 PM

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In Reply To
So I took the GRE a few weeks ago and got a 700 (97%) in the Verbal and a 560 (40%) in the math. Do you think I shouldn't submit my scores to schools that don't require them, despite the stellar verbal score?



Taking the GRE is just a low hurdle you have to clear for some schools, but it's only for the Grad School, not the writing program. It's just a checkmark on the to-do list. All you have to do is get over the minimum, and no one cares by how much. I got a 1500 and a 4.5, and no one cared.

I wouldn't send it to anyone who didn't ask for it, because it may make it seem like you can't follow directions. The MFA programs will be seeing your best work in your sample, and another aspect of your abilities in the SOP.

My $.02:
Have a celebratory drink, check the GRE off the list of hoops-through-which-to-jump, and then polish your sample some more.


v1ctorya


Nov 27, 2008, 8:29 PM

Post #261 of 357 (5596 views)
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I agree with what Jaywalk said. if the school likes your writing sample, they might ask for something to satisfy the graduate school (if there is a question regarding your critical writing score).

To bear in mind - a lot of people on the board seem to be getting verbal scores in the 90th percentile, it's kind of expected for people going into English programs.

but in the end, it's an extra 20$ per score report you'll be wasting.


bighark


Nov 27, 2008, 10:45 PM

Post #262 of 357 (5578 views)
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Don't send the GRE to schools that don't require it. It's a waste of money and won't help you in any way. The schools that award merit funds based on GRE scores will say so in their application materials.


grimson
Justin Bryant
e-mail user

Nov 30, 2008, 1:10 AM

Post #263 of 357 (5505 views)
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In Reply To
But then the essay question I chose was about the need for tradition and ritual in a society, and I just wrote about Carl Jung. He is, after all, the basis for the idea that a society needs ritual and tradition. I think, however, it probably came off like I was trying to pass off someone else's argument as an excuse for not coming up with my own.

Thanks! I'm really pissed at these ETS "graders!" Who do they think they are?

________________________

Hi. I'm a GRE essay grader. I can't divulge too much here, but, first, a 4 is not a bad score. Only about half the essays I grade score 4 or higher.

Second, your instinct is probably correct re: passing off Jung's argument as your own. The Issue task is testing your ability to analyze and respond to a very specific issue. Jung may be relevant to the issue, and referencing him may demonstrate your knowledge of the topic, but that's not what the task is asking you to do. Using his ideas in the limited space available would likely cost you a point or two. That's obviously just a guess, tho, not having seen your essay. Not 'finishing' an essay doesn't hurt your score, by the way. Any incomplete thoughts or sentences at the end of your essay are discounted.



(This post was edited by grimson on Nov 30, 2008, 1:13 AM)


caitlineva


Nov 30, 2008, 10:09 PM

Post #264 of 357 (5445 views)
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Hey-- Thanks for the response; I hope you didn't take my vitriol personally! I really appreciate hearing from you and finding out a little more about how the process works. One thing I'm wondering is how a score of 4 can be in the 37th percentile if half the essays you grade get a lower score? Or do some graders score harder than others? Is there some kind of general quota for how many good scores/bad scores you must give? I realize these may be questions you can't answer.

Thanks again for taking the time!


grimson
Justin Bryant
e-mail user

Dec 2, 2008, 7:41 PM

Post #265 of 357 (5355 views)
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Hey, no worries, nothing to take personally. I don't really know how scores shake down in the overall scheme of percentiles. My estimate of half the essays I grade scoring less than 4 may be off. Regardless, a score of 4 is considered satisfactory and isn't likely to hurt the chances of most applicants to graduate programs.

There is definitely no quota for scores. Essays are never compared or judged relative to other essays. They are scored only on their own merit, based on the ETS Scoring Guide. The people at the top of the scoring hierarchy, the Scoring Leaders, are almost spookily devoted to this. They have their own message board, like this one, they go to conferences and workshops, etc.

Ultimately, it's a subjective judgmental process, with all the inherent flaws and variance of any subjective judgmental process - like MFA applications!


kvandegraaf


Dec 8, 2008, 12:59 PM

Post #266 of 357 (5274 views)
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Copies of GRE score reports [In reply to] Can't Post

A number of the schools I am applying to ask for photocopies of my GRE score report. I have the paper in hand, but I'm a little dismayed to see that every single school I'm sending reports to is listed at the top of the form. Is anyone else worried about this? I'm really reluctant to block off that part of the form when photocopying it (even though it is nowhere near the score report area) because I don't want it to seem as though I would tamper with it. Is anyone else worrying about this?


Mae Fields



Dec 8, 2008, 3:58 PM

Post #267 of 357 (5244 views)
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I don't think it matters because many of the schools already ask which other schools you are applying to directly on the application. Besides, I think schools expect and know that you're applying to more than just their program. So you know, I'm a 2009 applicant as well. My opinion isn't based on any factual information.

In short, I wouldn't cover the school names up on the photocopies. It will only draw attention to itself.

Best of luck!

M.


jaywalke


Dec 11, 2008, 2:00 AM

Post #268 of 357 (5160 views)
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In Reply To
I got a 1500 and a 4.5, and no one cared.


Wait, it's a 6-point scale? Then I must have gotten a 5.5. I missed half a point, whatever the max was. Who the hell uses a 6-point scale?

Regardless, no one cared. I did get a non-facetious offer for a Math Ph.D. program with a free ride, but I have no desire to study math.

I should point out, though, that this only elucidates how low creative writing is on the pecking order. No ones cares if we're smart. I work in a research facility at a R-1. Writers get all moony over the Michener deal, but in my building that would be sneered at. The lowest paid GRA here is performing their dream research on equipment they could never afford, under one-on-one tutelage with world-class scientists, and they all make more than any Michener baby. No comp teaching (or any teaching) required, and your first publication is ushered in by the huge name at co-author.

The kicker is that it is all funded by government $$, because this work is considered to be more important than art.

Just a little perspective from the outside world . . . (but there are at least three fiction writers also in my building, taking that salary from the Man and turning it into . . . contributor's copies.) Sigh.


kbritten

e-mail user

Sep 6, 2009, 11:32 AM

Post #269 of 357 (4971 views)
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I read this entire thread, but I still need more help. I don't know how this happened, but when I took the GRE last year I received a 510 verbal, 540 quantitative, and a 5 on the analytical writing. I bought three test prep books and worked on them for an entire summer + three months. I memorized every single vocab word I could think of, I took several practice tests, and I didn't improve that much after a retake. I've already had to scratch Ohio State off my list because I don't meet the minimum, but I'm worried that I need to get rid of some other schools. Should I cut my list down to schools that don't require the GRE, or those that specifically say they don't care (like Syracuse)? I would hate to waste money and time on schools that aren't going to accept me because of low test scores. My GPA is all right, but not spectacular, by the way.

I would like to think that my writing sample will blow them all away and they'll do whatever they can to get me in the program with funding, but come on... I'm getting really disheartened by this whole process (I was disheartened enough last year when trying to get a non-arts Master's degree). I'm a smart person, but it really sucks realizing that my application screams average :( Wow, I just sounded like Fredo from the Godfather...


WanderingTree


Sep 6, 2009, 11:54 AM

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I wouldn't worry about it so much. I have a 620 V/ 420 Q/ 5.5 A. Programs and grad schools for that matter won't care at all about your math score. Even straight up academic MA programs often only specify a requirement for the verbal score. Programs won't reject you based on numbers. If you're worried about what the grad office might think, the best thing to do is call the MFA program and see what kind of hurdles (if any) are ahead of you. I'm applying to 15 programs (many of them top flight) and most of them require the GRE. I also have a mediocre overall GPA (but I also went to a school that has a reputation for being incredibly difficult and have a strong GPA in my major). I wouldn't be applying to some these schools if I didn't know first hand that scores mean squat and that people with lower scores than me have been admitted in recent years. I also wouldn't limit yourself to programs that don't require the GRE because you'd be limiting yourself by quite a bit and all for an aspect of the application that is one of the least important.

(This post was edited by WanderingTree on Sep 6, 2009, 11:58 AM)


OldScribe2000


Sep 6, 2009, 5:36 PM

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Forget about that crap. No one on this forum has GRE scores and a GPA lower than mine, and I'm applying to the best programs in the country. If your writing sample really shines, they'll find a way to get you into the program.

Put Ohio State back on your list, quit worrying, and start back on that writing sample, today.


kbritten

e-mail user

Sep 6, 2009, 5:47 PM

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lol, that's the kind of pep talk I need!


symmetrical


Sep 14, 2009, 12:20 PM

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I had a 2.89 undergrad GPA, a 510 Q and 590 V on the GRE ,and a 4.5 on the writing section. I was worried initially, too, but I got into three schools. The other stuff really doesn't matter.


kbritten

e-mail user

Sep 14, 2009, 12:36 PM

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That makes me feel much better, thank you for your post (although you outscored me on the verbal :( ) I'm curious about the schools that accepted you. Did they require a GRE? Did they state outright that they didn't care much about them? Did the Graduate School set a minimum GRE/GPA? Where did you get accepted and where are going now? Thank you so much for your help!


symmetrical


Sep 14, 2009, 1:13 PM

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2 of the 3 schools that accepted me required the GRE. None of the school's websites stated the actual weight of the GRE or GPA, but many people on this and other blogs reassured me that the writing sample was 99% of the application, with the personal statement being the other 1%. All of the schools I applied to stated that the minimum GPA was 3.0, except Southern Illinois (2.7), but obviously I got in without having that.

I'm at Alabama, which I picked over Maryland and UMASS-Boston.

Good luck.


(This post was edited by symmetrical on Sep 14, 2009, 1:15 PM)


rosiekins


Sep 15, 2009, 4:40 PM

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Well...I took the GREs last year. DISCLAIMER: When I was sick and emotionally distressed. And I did horrible. I got a 400 on the math and a 490 on the verbal. The night before, I'd scored a 590 on a verbal practice set, so WTF. Anyway, I've been studying much harder this time around, but I'm still nervous. Not a great test taker. However, only two of the schools I'm applying for (San Diego State University and University of Texas) require it. SDSU says they want a minimum COMBINED score of 1050. That means that even if hades freezes over and I score a 600 on the verbal, I'll STILL have to score at least 450 on the math. That 400 was a fluke last time. I usually got 300-something on the practice sets. Hopefully it's different this time around, but...I'm scared.


Woon


Sep 15, 2009, 4:46 PM

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In Reply To
That 400 was a fluke last time. I usually got 300-something on the practice sets.


I found this passage hilarious.


rosiekins


Sep 15, 2009, 4:52 PM

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OMG, you meanie! LOL


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

Sep 15, 2009, 5:19 PM

Post #279 of 357 (5438 views)
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Rosiekins,

I would be tempted to take those GRE guidelines for SDSU with a grain of salt. My daughter applied to them as an undergrad a couple of years ago, and SDSU had similar qualifications for the SATs for undergrad applicants. Her SAT scores were terrible. She was accepted anyway. (She decided to attend a different school, though.)

For most of these schools, it's really about the writing sample. Don't forget that. Just do your best on the GRE and don't stress out about it. Good luck.

Jeanne
http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


Woon


Sep 15, 2009, 6:05 PM

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Funny thing about my GRE prep...

When I took practice exams using a variety of the GRE prep books -- Kaplan, Princeton Review, REA, McGraw Hill, Peterson's, Nova, Cliffsnotes -- my scores fluctuate from 560-720 on the Verbal and 580-760 on the Quantitative. But some of the questions in these private prep books are bad, and often, I cringe at how bad the wording of the questions are. However, when I took the sample test in ETS's official 10th Edition booklet, my scores have been fairly steady -- around 660 on Verbal and 740 on Quantitative.

I am probably overprepared for the exam. And yet, I'm still nervous.


WanderingTree


Sep 17, 2009, 7:42 PM

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I'd say Kaplan is one of the best. Questions for both verbal and quantitative in their practice tests are much, much harder than the real deal and how they lay things out is pretty intuitive.


Peaquah

e-mail user

Sep 19, 2009, 12:37 AM

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transcripts [In reply to] Can't Post

Not sure if this is the right place to ask this--I spent a semester studying abroad in college, and those grades and classes have been recorded on my undergrad transcript. Do I need to contact this other university in France to get a transcript copy from their school? I had trouble doing this once before, and I'm not currently in the States--making this more difficult. Advice?


jessaheath


Sep 21, 2009, 7:36 PM

Post #283 of 357 (5234 views)
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GRE v. Wings [In reply to] Can't Post

I studied for the PSATs and became a Nat'l Merit kid, studied for the SATs and did really well. No one has or ever will care, so I took the GREs with a no nonsense approach: no studying, no apologies, no one cares...

Verbal 550 (75th) Math 550 (37th) and Analytical WR 4.0 (41st) I have no problem sending these scores out to schools as a means of jumping through a grad school hoop, if the dept. cares- it's not the right school for me anyway.

Here's the catch though: Iowa... GREs are optional and official scores must be sent to both dept. and grad school. It's recommended, and an extra $40 cost. With scores this smelly, does anyone think it's worth it, or should I go buy the girls a round of beer and wings at The Hangar? (Best wings in Western MA btw) Vote GRE v. Wings.


bighark


Sep 21, 2009, 9:26 PM

Post #284 of 357 (5218 views)
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Go for the wings.

That score isn't going to harm you, but it's not going to get you fellowship money, either.


kbritten

e-mail user

Sep 21, 2009, 9:43 PM

Post #285 of 357 (5210 views)
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Jessaheath - your post made me feel so much better. I did very well on my SATs, especially my verbal (and without studying at all). Not that I was a Merit Scholar, but I certainly did better than my GRE! I was shocked to see my scores on the GRE, especially after working very hard on memorizing vocab words, studying strategy, etc... I have chosen to stop worrying about my GRE scores completely, and I have no problem not applying to a school that I don't qualify for. That's life! The one good thing about your score is that it does meet the minimum of most schools that I've looked into (Ohio State is the notable exception, requiring a min score of 1200, with at least a 600 verbal). I wouldn't get the wings, I would go home and work on your writing sample! :)


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Sep 22, 2009, 8:33 AM

Post #286 of 357 (5179 views)
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jessaheath: I can tell you what I did -- I didn't bother with the rigamarole of having scores sent anywhere that they were optional.


Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work. -- Flaubert

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


februarystar27


Sep 23, 2009, 10:57 AM

Post #287 of 357 (5127 views)
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Re: [jessaheath] GRE v. Wings [In reply to] Can't Post

jessaheath, I had to reply because you mentioned the Hangar. I spent the past year out in Amherst and I have to agree that they have great wings. I went through the app process last year for playwriting (didn't apply to Iowa; stuck to the Northeast), and the only school that required GRE scores was BU, which is where I ended up. I was like you, a National Merit commended student, really strong SAT score, but just did not want to overstudy for the GRE. I got a math workbook since I hadn't taken a math course since AP Calc in high school (which was eight years ago at the time), and I worked my way through that, but I didn't do much verbal prep aside from looking over all the "word families" in the back of my book for maybe a day or two. I ended up being sick the day I took my GRE. I had a horrible cold and couldn't have tissues in the exam room, plus it had snowed the day before so it was wet and chilly out. I sat there in my comfy jeans and big baggy college sweatshirt with my head feeling foggy and stuffed up for three hours. I ended up with 5.5 writing, I think 640 math, and 610 verbal. The writing section was first, when I was at my most alert and functional. But I was shocked to have done better on the math, and I honestly wanted to break 700 on the verbal. I think my verbal section that counted (one was that "experimental" section) was the one that came at the very end of the test, and I was so out of it by then that I probably just made stupid mistakes. But I submitted the scores anyway. I probably wouldn't have for an English PhD program, but for a writing MFA I just wanted to take it once and be done.

Since starting the program, I've heard that they basically don't even look at the GRE scores (at BU anyway). It's pretty much just a formality that the grad school requires to prove you're not a complete screw-up who can't handle graduate-level work. So yes, go with the wings. And enjoy the Hangar for me. I'm back in my native Boston for school now, and it's one of the things about Western Mass that I miss (also Antonio's... I want a slice of their avacado quesidilla pizza so much right now).


jessaheath


Sep 23, 2009, 1:13 PM

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Re: [februarystar27] GRE v. Wings [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the thoughtful advice. I sent scores to only the schools that require them, and I think I will pass on the Iowa optionals. I really believe (since I've heard it so often) that it's all in the writing, so wings are on.

@februarystar27: I lived in So. Hadley for a few years (MHC alum) I'm back in my native NH now, but the two hour drive feels like nothing at all if I'm headed toward The Hangar's wings. Planning a celebration dinner once all my apps are in!

ps. Since you're in boston: I worked for an Americorps program and lived in Brighton after high school- back then nothing beat a late night run to Wing It in Allston.


(This post was edited by jessaheath on Sep 23, 2009, 1:21 PM)


februarystar27


Sep 23, 2009, 1:21 PM

Post #289 of 357 (5107 views)
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Re: [jessaheath] GRE v. Wings [In reply to] Can't Post

And apparently I can't spell avocado or quesadilla before I have at least two cups of coffee in my system. :)

I probably would have loved MHC... when I was applying to colleges I wanted the "small liberal arts college" thing but the all-girls-ness of it scared me away from applying. I ended up at Holy Cross in Worcester instead. But after spending time out in the five-college area last year (took a graduate lit course at UMass), I see how beautiful it is, especially compared to Worcester, and I think I would've really enjoyed it. Are you applying to UMass's MFA at all? I had a couple MFA people in my 16th Century Lit class last year.


jessaheath


Sep 23, 2009, 1:38 PM

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Re: [februarystar27] GRE v. Wings [In reply to] Can't Post

MHC is a beautiful place, and I transferred in so only 2 of my undergrad years were all women. Working at a camp for girls in the summers made it seem like an eternity. It's a great place to study, good people are easy to find there.

I applied to UMASS last year without thinking about more than how much I loved the location and proximity to my family in NH. Tight funds meant only 4 apps: Umass, UNH, Oregon, and Colorado State. I was waitlisted high at Oregon, and rejected from the others. I figure if my work didn't speak to them last time, they are probably not the right programs for me, so I'm only reapplying to Oregon and added 13 new programs this year. I still think those were great programs, but after more research, probably not a good match for me.

I have lots of love for Worcester too- seems like we have a lot of places in common... Not sure how this serious New Englander is going to fare if she lands in the midwest.


(This post was edited by jessaheath on Sep 23, 2009, 1:43 PM)


februarystar27


Sep 23, 2009, 2:12 PM

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Re: [jessaheath] GRE v. Wings [In reply to] Can't Post

Waitlisted at Oregon is great. I only applied to five my year, again because of financial limitations, two of which were complete shots in the dark (Brown and the Yale School of Drama). I was rejected from four and waitlisted at BU, and I got off the waitlist, got some funding about a week later, and here I am now. I got really lucky with that. BU notifies really late, especially with playwriting, so my process dragged on until June. I hope yours is much smoother and that you will have some acceptances in hand in March.

And it might be really interesting to get out of New England for a couple years and experience something totally different. (And ignore my little jab at Worcester... I do have some nostalgic love for it... HC is just in a particularly bad area of Worcester and you can't really walk to anything other than a Wendy's from campus. Amherst in comparison was beautiful and very walking friendly, and their bus system was better than Worcester's.)


jessaheath


Sep 23, 2009, 3:32 PM

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Re: [februarystar27] GRE v. Wings [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the encouragement, I was still tethered to Oregon in early summer, so I'm hoping for a clean "We think you're the tops!" from at least one program in early April :)

How is BU is working out? I'm a poetry applicant, I get the sense there is a lot of overlap between fiction and poetry in many programs, but I'm curious, is there a lot of interaction across genres at BU?

I'm looking forward to a big move. Other than Cornell and Syracuse, my list includes schools a good distance from home. I had every intention of heading to U of Hawaii when my acceptance came in undergrad until that incredible $cholarship letter arrived from Mount Holyoke.

Feel free to PM me if you want to reply, we seem to be getting away from the thread here...


Woon


Sep 24, 2009, 7:37 PM

Post #293 of 357 (5030 views)
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Re: GRE [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, it's finally over. A culmination of two months of solid studying. All I will say is: my GRE scores won't hold me back from admissions.


gg.scholastica
Gena Goodman


Sep 26, 2009, 12:01 PM

Post #294 of 357 (4977 views)
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AUGH! [In reply to] Can't Post

Just came back from the slaughter that was my GRE. A full 230 points below my SAT score, I might do what I never thought I'd do... waste the time and money to retake a standardized exam. I was so disappointed when I saw my GRE scores, I didn't even send them to the free four I could designate (stupid, I know). The thing is, my Verbal isn't low enough to keep me out of schools with minimums, but I'm at the minimum.

It's well-known on this board that GRE scores have next to nothing to do with admissions, but how about aid packages? Am I losing the chance at a fellowship? Getting shafted at schools who only fund so many students? will schools give me the "left over" TA positions at, say, the Writing Center? Which is to say: Is there a reason other than my hurting pride to retake this test if I met a minimum requirement by the skin of my teeth?


Woon


Sep 26, 2009, 2:08 PM

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Re: [gg.scholastica] AUGH! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been told repeatedly that low GRE scores will hurt your chances of landing cushy funding opportunities at SOME schools. In other schools, it won't matter.

The best advice I received on the GRE is to take enough practice exams on a regular basis until you learn to LOVE the exam. I took sample tests and drills every single day until, yes, the day came when I looked forward to the sample tests and drills. And then, I couldn't get enough. During the exam, I was calm and looked forward to going through what was, to me, a pleasant experience.


gg.scholastica
Gena Goodman


Sep 26, 2009, 2:29 PM

Post #296 of 357 (4948 views)
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Re: [Woon] AUGH! [In reply to] Can't Post

That's actually very reasonable advice. I think I'll take it. One other thing-- wait until the score report comes, maybe order one of their diagnostic (which ones did you miss?) packets, or do it again without?


Woon


Sep 26, 2009, 3:03 PM

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Re: [gg.scholastica] AUGH! [In reply to] Can't Post

I overdid the preparations. I borrowed some of the recent GRE prep books from the local library. If they were not available, I put them on Hold and picked them up when they were ready. All other times, I just went to Borders bookstore, took a GRE book from the shelves and studied and took sample exams at the cafe in there. I did this every day. All the commercial books I could find, I studied...for free. I know I'm cheap for not buying those books, but I don't have a lot of money. I did buy two books though -- 1,014 GRE Questions by Princeton Review and REA's GRE sample test book (6 sample tests). I bought them because I had two coupons and these were two of the cheapest books with the MOST sample questions/tests.

During the prep, I didn't really care HOW I was performing (i.e., raw scores) so long as I understood why I got certain questions wrong and why I got them right.


Woon


Sep 26, 2009, 3:06 PM

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Re: [Woon] AUGH! [In reply to] Can't Post

I forgot to add...I did not write in (or mark in any way) those GRE books at Borders.


Woon


Sep 26, 2009, 4:22 PM

Post #299 of 357 (4925 views)
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Re: [Woon] AUGH! [In reply to] Can't Post

I forgot to mention the absolute importance of vocabulary flash cards! I got all the GRE, SAT, and other vocabulary books and made hundreds (if not thousands) of flash cards, with primary and secondary definitions. This includes making sure that I know the exact definitions of words I think I know. In addition, I made sure I knew all the (numerous) definitions of "affect" (including its relations affected, disaffected, affectation) and "precipitate." Also, knowing the difference between "propitious" and "propiteous." Things like that.

It seems intimidating, but as Annie Lamott advised, "bird by bird." One step at a time...


Woon


Oct 10, 2009, 11:08 PM

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Re: GRE and free score reports [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's something weird...

I'm sure some of you noticed this but just in case. When I took the GRE, at the beginning of the session, the computer asked me to list my undergrad institution who should receive a score report. I thought it was strange because Why would my undergrad need to see my score? So, I just listed an MFA program that was not my undergrad. By doing this, I was able to get five (5) free score reports than the four (4) they advertised.

Is it possible the MFA program didn't get it? That some other dept received it?


bighark


Oct 11, 2009, 12:09 AM

Post #301 of 357 (5777 views)
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Re: [Woon] GRE and free score reports [In reply to] Can't Post

Sure. That kind of thing happens all the time.

If you're worried about your scores making their way to a particular school, call to confirm receipt.


WanderingTree


Oct 11, 2009, 12:15 PM

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Re: [bighark] GRE and free score reports [In reply to] Can't Post

ETS will send you a confirmation that the scores have been sent to each school. You'll get this confirmation about a month or so after the request. Most schools also have an online system where you can check on materials.


kbritten

e-mail user

Oct 14, 2009, 8:59 PM

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Re: [WanderingTree] GRE and free score reports [In reply to] Can't Post

Just to let everyone know, I contacted Ohio State about their minimum GRE requirements and the director told me that they look at the "whole application" and will work with the graduate school to get a student admitted into the program. So, I will certainly be applying there, because it seems like a wonderful program. Yay!


rosiekins


Oct 31, 2009, 11:11 PM

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AGH [In reply to] Can't Post

I took the GREs today and got a 590 on the verbal and a 420 on the math (LOL hush). I was thrilled with these results until about five minutes ago, when I did a google search and read a bunch of rants from other people who got a 590 and were crushed, devastated, OMG. Really? REALLY? I nearly had a nervous breakdown during the test, and it was my second time doing it. The fact that I was able to stay calm enough to finish that well made me extremely happy. Also I did three practice tests and my highest verbal score was a 650; my lowest, a 510. 590 is in the 86th percentile and seems just fine to me. I studied the 600 vocab words, which saved my butt, too. I felt good; I STILL do, darn it.

Anyway, I wish people on the interwebs would quit whining about getting a 500-something score, OH NOES. It's making my feelings hurt. And it's freaking me out. Four of the nine schools I'm applying to require the GREEE, and I also need financial aid. I thought my scores would be good enough to satiate the admission gods and goddesses. Well, whatever, I'm not going through that again!


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Nov 1, 2009, 1:36 AM

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Re: [rosiekins] AGH [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Rosie,

Two things:

1.) Most MFA (and by "most" I mean "nearly all") programs don't give a rat's ass about your GRE scores. The ones that require them generally do so because the graduate schools that house them do, and even if you don't meet their requirements, the MFA program may still go to bat for you if they like your writing sample enough (the writing sample being all that really matters). Yes, some of the schools to which you're applying won't care about the score EXCEPT in terms of funding, but to be fair, that's kind of a secondary concern in relation to the question of whether you're accepted or not.

2.) Most GRE results are averaged against PhD students, the majority of which are looking for graduate degrees in the sciences. Do you want a PhD in biology or math? Yes? Then you'll need an 800 GRE math and a decent GRE verbal. Otherwise, you're fine.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


rosiekins


Nov 1, 2009, 1:43 AM

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Re: [ericweinstein] AGH [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, Eric...I needed that!


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Nov 1, 2009, 1:51 AM

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Re: [rosiekins] AGH [In reply to] Can't Post

No worries! I just try to tell it like it is.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


Pedro Eler


Nov 25, 2009, 10:53 AM

Post #308 of 357 (5077 views)
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Re: [ericweinstein] AGH [In reply to] Can't Post

Eric, when you say they won`t care about your GRE and GPA except when it comes to funding, what do you mean? Do they care about that when it comes to TA?

I guess having good GRE scores and a solid GPA is important if you are considering being funded, because the competition is high and it can work as a sort of tie-breaker? Is that correct?


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Nov 25, 2009, 12:17 PM

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Re: [Pedro Eler] AGH [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Pedro,

Some MFA programs have tiered funding systems, meaning some students are funded and some aren't. Oftentimes funding in the form of merit scholarships/fellowships, teaching positions, &c at these programs take students' undergraduate/graduate GPA(s) and/or GRE scores into account. Every school figures it out differently, however, so you'd have to check your schools' websites or call them to find out. Best of luck!


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


Judith3910


Dec 2, 2009, 4:43 PM

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Re: [Mikaeltb] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Do I need GRE's for MFA program? I'm post school, post lawyer career, have always wanted MFA. Never did GRE. Judith


(This post was edited by Judith3910 on Dec 2, 2009, 4:46 PM)


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Dec 2, 2009, 5:35 PM

Post #311 of 357 (4906 views)
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Re: [Judith3910] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Judith,

Some MFA programs require the GRE and some don'tyour best bet is to check out the websites of the programs in which you're interested and see if they list the GRE as an application requirement. Even if the programs you want to attend require the test, howeverand many don'tI wouldn't stress too much about it, since GRE scores are pretty far down the list in terms of criteria admissions committees consider when evaluating applicants. It's all about the writing sample.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


Forum Apps


Dec 2, 2009, 5:57 PM

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Re: [Judith3910] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

You're likely going to want to take it. Most people recommend applying to quite a few schools--if you end up applying to enough you're going to need the GRE for some of them. It will also open up where you can apply. Study and take the test.


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Dec 2, 2009, 6:12 PM

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Re: [Forum Apps] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with Aarontaking the GRE will allow you to apply to more programs, and if you review ahead of time there's no reason you can't do a decent job. It's largely a formality that many MFA selection committees are required to engage in by the graduate schools that host them, so while you often do have to take it, you don't have to do spectacularly, or even all that well.

The test is a bit expensive ($150), but under certain circumstances you can get a fee reduction, which cuts the cost in half.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


(This post was edited by ericweinstein on Dec 2, 2009, 6:17 PM)


Forum Apps


Dec 2, 2009, 7:30 PM

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Re: [ericweinstein] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I just thought Id give some general notes on preparing for the GRE:


(I didnt do much of this since I took the test in a bit of a rush I still did fine.. but it definitely helps based on the scores people I know have received)

I didnt get a chance to apply all of these when I took it three years ago (and you could go above and beyond this but start with the basics I know one friend of mine who tried to conquer one of those 3500 word long word lists and didnt do as well as someone who did the high frequency word lists).


Buy one test book and go through it. Need not be one of the over the top ones. Princeton Review is all I did (I didn't even make it through the whole thing but it really isn't that long and they do have some helpful strategies/tricks). Look through a couple of books for the high frequency word lists. I didnt do this but if I end up taking the test again I will (say, if I apply for a PhD after a 3 year MFA program and my scores are no longer valid). You dont have to buy all of the booksjust go the bookstore and write down the words you dont know on the list of 300 or so they deem high frequency on each list. Study these till you know them really, there arent that many since you will likely know a decent number of the words on the list. Im sure if you do this and study some of the strategies for questions youll raise your score quite a bit. I know someone who just studied the Princeton review list and went from a 530 to a 620. Some good schools require a 600 to apply, so it is worth it.


!!!Get the GRE powerprep software!!! on the ets website. It is put out by ets who makes the gre. It is exactly the same as the test aside from the specific questions (and I think they added a few new varieties of questions recently, so, youll want to be on top of that). It is the same software and the same format as the actual test. Many of the questions are very similar. Take it right away to see where you stand... each section is only 30 min, so it isnt a big deal. Dont bother with the essays in the downloaded test lol maybe read the directions, but, yeah, kind of pointless. Not that it really matters for an MFA but it is worth going through the math section to learn the questions you dont know how to do. It is only a half hour test so it isnt that many questions and these are the type of questions that WILL be on the test. This is even more helpful than the prep books for the math section in my opinion. But it isnt a bad idea to go through one test prep book.


Make sure you familiarize yourself on the essay questions and look through that section in the test prep book so you have an idea of what kind of essay to write when you go into the test. It will give you more time to actually write good essays.


It SOUNDS like a lot but it really isnt more than a week or two of studying even if you have a full time job.


(This post was edited by Forum Apps on Dec 2, 2009, 7:33 PM)


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Dec 2, 2009, 8:01 PM

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Re: [Forum Apps] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, this is more or less what I did and I did just fine. Regarding the verbal: I found it particularly helpful to cross-list the "high frequency" words from the Princeton Review, Kaplan, and Barron's test prep books & just memorize the ones I didn't already know. (There's a lot of overlap, so it's not as daunting as it sounds.) It took about an hour to type up in a local bookstore and then another few hours to memorize. For the record, I did see a few of these words on the actual GRE and at least one of them was one I hadn't known before studying, so even if it only helps a little, it still helps.

As for the math (which is by no means make-or-break for the MFA), I just reviewed the basics with the Princeton Review book and that was that. It wasn't bad at all.

One more thing: because the GRE is an adaptive test, it will ask you a harder question each time you get an answer right, and an easier question each time you get an answer wrong. Because of this, 1.) the earlier questions are more heavily weighted than the later ones, meaning it's especially important to be careful on the first dozen or so, and 2.) after several questions, the GRE will (theoretically) be testing you on material that's at the limit of your ability, so it's going to seem hard no matter what. Just try not to freak out and do your best.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


(This post was edited by ericweinstein on Dec 2, 2009, 8:02 PM)


Zuleika Dobson


e-mail user

Dec 9, 2009, 4:57 PM

Post #316 of 357 (4703 views)
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Re: [Forum Apps] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Just took my GREs today--drastically lower than my SATs, confirming my suspicion that I became stupid sometime during college.

I still made the cut off but am not too pleased with myself nor my attempt to 'wing it.'

Study hard, comrades, study hard.


"Every spectator is a coward or a traitor."


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Dec 9, 2009, 6:16 PM

Post #317 of 357 (4685 views)
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Re: [Zuleika Dobson] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Did either of the two sections give you more trouble than the other?


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


Zuleika Dobson


e-mail user

Dec 9, 2009, 8:02 PM

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Re: [ericweinstein] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Some of the questions that came up in the quant section surprised me, and I spent a bit too much time in the beginning checking my work. I ran out of time towards the end--there were two I didn't even get to. I definitely should have prepared more in advance and maybe gone through a practice test or two. I took the whole "GREs don't matter" mantra to heart--a mistake considering I might apply for other graduate degrees in the future. Some schools average your scores over 5 years, apparently.

The verbal section was no cakewalk either. There was an antonym question with a one-syllable word I straight up had never seen in my life. I think I did pretty well on the analytical writing sections, but it seems no schools care about this.

Devastating. But thank God we found out our scores instantly, right? Otherwise, I would definitely be sifting through a dictionary right now and checking back on all those special triangles.


"Every spectator is a coward or a traitor."


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Dec 9, 2009, 9:09 PM

Post #319 of 357 (4644 views)
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Re: [Zuleika Dobson] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I decided not to wing the GRE just in case I decide I want a Ph.D. As for the questionsthere were definitely a couple of words on the test I'd never seen before, as well as a couple of words that I'd seen but were evidently being used in novel ways, since the possible antonym and analogy answers I was seeing didn't make a ton of sense.

And yeah, I was definitely glad to get my verbal and quantitative scores immediatelyI'm not really what you'd call "patient."


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


Zuleika Dobson


e-mail user

Dec 9, 2009, 9:50 PM

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Re: [ericweinstein] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

With that said, I would definitely have preferred a paper version. I can't think as well when I'm not holding the test in my hands, and all the scrolling was a bit distracting. If I do take it again, I might schedule it when I'm overseas.

Regardless, I'm having some interesting residual effects. I told a friend this afternoon to stop being so obsequious, but will try to slip into 'obvi tots omg nach' mode before the weekend commences.

Eee, Ph. D. How very audacious/plucky of you.


"Every spectator is a coward or a traitor."


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Dec 9, 2009, 10:00 PM

Post #321 of 357 (4628 views)
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Re: [Zuleika Dobson] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Definitely was not a fan of the inability to make notes or go back. Haha and yeah, maybe a Ph.D. down the line, but right now I'm just focused on the MFA.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


Forum Apps


Dec 9, 2009, 10:21 PM

Post #322 of 357 (4622 views)
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Re: [Zuleika Dobson] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't worry too much.

I know someone who took it like 10 times (while working for a test prep company) over a year. He then applied to grad school... and they took his highest scores as his scores.

I'm sure there are some places that average scores and some places that ignore them completely or just use them as a cut of. If you apply to enough places and retake the test to get higher scores all will be well.


Forum Apps


Dec 9, 2009, 10:28 PM

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Re: [Forum Apps] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I was going to say that they took his highest scores as his scores at the place he got into. He got called in for an interview and they read them off like the top scores were his scores... period. Probably not true for everywhere. But, it is good to know.


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Dec 9, 2009, 10:33 PM

Post #324 of 357 (4614 views)
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Re: [Forum Apps] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I was under the impression that you couldn't take the GRE more than once a month or more than five times in a twelve month period, but it's possible your acquaintance did this before that rule was in effect. Regardless, didn't schools question his taking the test ten times? I worked a brief stint in undergraduate admissions at an elite liberal arts university and I recall admissions officers being concerned about applicants who took the SAT more than three times.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


Forum Apps


Dec 9, 2009, 11:31 PM

Post #325 of 357 (4601 views)
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Re: [ericweinstein] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

It might have been over a couple of years. And I think it was more like "almost ten times." But still, I don't think it degrades the point. He also already has his PhD (just got it a year ago). So you could be right about it being a rule put into effect later. I don't know.

He did get into a top 10 PhD program in English funded.

I think research oriented grad programs are a lot different than undergraduate programs. It is not about application packets and numbers and extracurricular. It is about people the faculty want to work with and sufficient enough gre/gpa to prove that you're capable of working there. I don't think it really matters how many times you take the test. They aren't looking for cute personal statements and shit. They want people with good scores and good essays who will work well with the faculty they have. It is also harder to get in if you're applying in a popular sub-discipline... if a lot of people apply as Shakespeare specialists to a certain top school, they are only going to take so many people that say they want to study that and will distribute other positions to students who want to focus in other areas.

A student might be taking the test again simply to make a funding cut or something like that... for example, I know some top schools (well, at least 2 I contacted) required around a 1300+ on the GRE for funding. It would be worth taking it several times to get over that score if you were set on a school (or at least the prospect of a particular school). The way it seemed in those e-mail exchanges was... get the score we need... we don't even care about that part of the application that much but you have to have a certain score to even get funding. One of those two schools also added that most of the students have scores much higher than the required score.


Zuleika Dobson


e-mail user

Dec 10, 2009, 12:02 AM

Post #326 of 357 (5759 views)
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Re: [Forum Apps] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Wait, 1300+ puts candidates in the funding-possible pool!?

One of your earlier posts mentioned 1500+, which was why I was bummed out today.


"Every spectator is a coward or a traitor."


Forum Apps


Dec 10, 2009, 12:56 AM

Post #327 of 357 (5748 views)
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Re: [Zuleika Dobson] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not talking fellowships. I'm talking if you don't get that we can't take you because that is what we need for funding period... they fund all of their PhD students at both of those schools I contacted so you won't get an offer unless you're funded (but that is almost always the case with top programs... all of the PhDs are usually funded). Basically... get a 1300 or don't bother applying. This isn't true for everywhere.

I don't know in what context or whatnot I said "1500+" ...It may have been a typo. I dunno. I'd have to see the post. I guess it doesn't matter.


Zuleika Dobson


e-mail user

Dec 10, 2009, 1:10 AM

Post #328 of 357 (5745 views)
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Re: [Forum Apps] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay got it, seems like you're only talking about PhDs here. Before, we were discussing GRE scores for MFA apps and what would a high enough score to get some funding from the grad school.

I haven't really looked into this much--I've kind of assumed I'd just get loans or something...


"Every spectator is a coward or a traitor."


Forum Apps


Dec 10, 2009, 2:31 AM

Post #329 of 357 (5732 views)
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Re: [Zuleika Dobson] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah. People were talking about getting high enough scores so that they would be applicable to PhD applications down the road. That's why I was talking about that.

There is probably more funding out there for strait English students than those applying for creative writing. This is mostly in TAs. Which is also the case for most MFA funding opportunities (with some notable exceptions, obviously). No need to take out loans for a PhD, either.


rubythief


Dec 10, 2009, 3:39 AM

Post #330 of 357 (5727 views)
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Re: [Forum Apps] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I managed a 770 verbal and 740 quantitative, which I'm really happy about - I thought the math would be much harder, and I'd never taken a standardized test before. Is that in the realm of ok for most places? I hear some schools are full of kids who got 800s on verbal, but I suspect (and pray) that some of those stories might be a little exaggerated.... right?... please?


Forum Apps


Dec 10, 2009, 4:36 AM

Post #331 of 357 (5726 views)
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Re: [rubythief] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

That 800 crap is rubbish. Most top schools average out around 700 from the statistics I have seen. Some just below that. You're substantially higher.

What it WILL come down to is your essays and recommendations. And your statement of purpose. They want to know that you're someone worth doing research with... They expect you to have that stuff (GRE/GPA) to some degree but you have to stand out too, especially if you're in a competitive sub-field.

Again... this is for PhDs. For MFA programs (aside from a very few...) this doesn't really matter much. GRE scores are used as cut offs at some schools... (for which a 600 verbal seems to be about all you need in most cases... which means you're in good shape).

A lot of top schools have stuff on they're website saying they have turned down people with perfect GRE scores and accepted people with scores substantially lower because they thought them a better fit for the program. Keep that in mind. But there are cut offs and scores do help with funding. You should be perfectly fine though.


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Dec 10, 2009, 10:28 AM

Post #332 of 357 (5701 views)
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Re: [rubythief] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi rubythief,

770V/740M is excellent and will be competetive at pretty much any MFA program to which you apply. Keep in mind, however, that GRE scores are pretty far down the list in terms of criteria selection committees use to determine admissions. As has been repeated here ad nauseam: it's all about the writing sample.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


Tabby


e-mail user

Dec 10, 2009, 12:39 PM

Post #333 of 357 (5678 views)
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Re: [ericweinstein] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I just have to repeat, so that people freaking out about GREs can relax.

"Ad nauseum .... writing sample."

I have never, ever heard ONE writer prof ever mention GRE scores. Ever. Ever. Ever. They DO talk about how all they look at is the writing sample.

Find that writer prof who cares about GRE scores and I will eat my pulchritudinous leviathan.


http://www.kellykathleenferguson.com


Zuleika Dobson


e-mail user

Dec 10, 2009, 4:18 PM

Post #334 of 357 (5648 views)
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Re: [Tabby] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I think a lot of the concern is not about whether GREs will affect admissions, but whether or not it will improve chances at fellowships/financial aid.


"Every spectator is a coward or a traitor."


Tabby


e-mail user

Dec 10, 2009, 4:53 PM

Post #335 of 357 (5635 views)
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Re: [Zuleika Dobson] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe at some places the GRE does effect aid. I can't say for sure. But so far as I have ever seen, and ever heard, aid is dispensed by the creative writing selection committee, which has nothing to do with the graduate school. The profs decide the writers they want and give them the money. The graduate school is a formality.

I admit it. I have issues with the GRE. It bugs me. Tom Kealy, as usual, has the sanest advice: Prepare, do your best, and let it go.

Okay...letting go now...

Mercy. I never even have to take the GRE again and I'm still irritable about it.


http://www.kellykathleenferguson.com


Zuleika Dobson


e-mail user

Dec 10, 2009, 4:59 PM

Post #336 of 357 (5634 views)
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Re: [Tabby] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Information like this (from Iowa's site) makes me think that a strong GRE score does indeed influence the fin. aid package. Either way, the rumor mill seems to point in this direction. I think they suck, but I'm considering taking them again just in case.


Quote
The University of Iowa Writers Workshop does not require GRE scores for admission. However, student applications that include GRE scores may be more competitive for a greater range of financial assistance.



"Every spectator is a coward or a traitor."


FreakingOutInBd


Dec 10, 2009, 8:56 PM

Post #337 of 357 (5595 views)
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Re: [Judith3910] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Judith3910,

Since I'm applying this year without GREs, thought I'd respond.

If you can, do it. It does open up funding opps like crazy and the ad comms aren't really interested in your score. While there are stated minimum scores, most are actually grad school requirements and the program can offer some flexibility if they really like your manuscript.

I, however, decided not to do it. I still came up with a decent list of schools, one that didn't leave me unhappy. I think the only school I wanted to apply to but couldn't was U of Virginia. I ended up with 13/14 schools and am in the process of applying to 9.

So it's a choice you make but it's not impossible to go ahead and have a decent shot without a GRE. At least that's my take on things.

Best,
N


rubythief


Dec 11, 2009, 2:18 AM

Post #338 of 357 (5554 views)
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Re: [FreakingOutInBd] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, everyone. I was thrilled to get the score I did, but an MFA friend told me it was pretty average. I'm just happy that I can finally put away the Princeton Review!


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Dec 11, 2009, 9:12 AM

Post #339 of 357 (5517 views)
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Re: [rubythief] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Someone told you 770 is pretty average?? Isn't that 99th percentile?


Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work. -- Flaubert

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


kbritten

e-mail user

Dec 11, 2009, 9:19 AM

Post #340 of 357 (5513 views)
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Re: [alamana] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, those scores are definitely not average. MY scores were almost exactly average (when looking at a bell curve of GRE test-takers), and I received a 510 V, a 540 Q, and a 5 on the writing (only score not average). I'm at the tippy top of the curve.

I have a feeling that people are posting their amazing scores and saying that they have "average" scores to get attention. Like the skinny girl who told everyone she was fat.


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Dec 11, 2009, 9:37 AM

Post #341 of 357 (5510 views)
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Re: [kbritten] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I had the same "feeling" about that post.


Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work. -- Flaubert

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


Zuleika Dobson


e-mail user

Dec 11, 2009, 12:29 PM

Post #342 of 357 (5474 views)
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Re: [alamana] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, no consolation is needed for this sort of thing. I had a similar score on another test. Even amidst people with higher scores or standards, I was never told it was 'average.' Anything above a 1500 is clearly significantly above average. Whoever disagrees is deluded in pretension.

This concern is not really justified unless you're applying to top Ph.D programs.

(This is not meant to be insulting, just kind of opinionated.)


"Every spectator is a coward or a traitor."

(This post was edited by Zuleika Dobson on Dec 11, 2009, 12:31 PM)


WanderingTree


Dec 11, 2009, 3:48 PM

Post #343 of 357 (5440 views)
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Re: [Zuleika Dobson] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

It should also be noted that the GRE score scale gives an unrealistic portrayal of test performance (i.e. a single correct answer after a certain point has a lot of power). As such, ETS is changing the GRE significantly starting next year.


kbritten

e-mail user

Dec 11, 2009, 4:11 PM

Post #344 of 357 (5429 views)
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Re: [WanderingTree] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Gah! That's so unfair... stupid ETS...

I did realize that the paper-based test holds some advantages to the computer-based test. It changes the "level" of questioning based on your previous answer, not to mention the fact that you can't go back and change an answer. Honestly, part of me thinks that's why there is such a discrepany between my SAT and GRE scores. I get that the GRE is more difficult, but you'd think I'd be able to adjust given the fact that I spent four years in COLLEGE! I mean, high school was a joke, how did I do well on the SATs with a mediocre high school education and suck on the GREs with a challenging college education?

I don't know, I will admit that I'm irritated with my scores, mainly because they hold me back from doing what I want to do, and a little unjustly if you ask me.


rubythief


Dec 11, 2009, 4:47 PM

Post #345 of 357 (5412 views)
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Re: [kbritten] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Obviously I know it's way above average in the general GRE pool - I'm not fishing for compliments! But it does make sense to me that the top MFA programs would attract a lot of candidates with strong verbal skills, and hence it could well be "average" in that context. I'd think that the average for MFA candidates, English lit majors and the like would (and should!) be much, much higher than the average of the whole pool.

I'm going to stop stressing about it. I worry about the "other 10%" a great deal because I know in my heart that my writing sample isn't genius enough to go in the "instant yes" category - I'm just not there yet (that's why I want to do an MFA.) I do hope I have a real chance of landing in the "let's consider this" pile, in which case I'm told the SOP, letters of recommendation, and GRE make all the difference. And I want all of them to say "pick me! pick me!"


jamie_mu


Dec 11, 2009, 6:37 PM

Post #346 of 357 (5384 views)
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Re: [rubythief] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

To answer rubythief's question about the average amongst your cohort, it's true, the average is really high. I know this because on the first day of orientation we had to introduce ourselves by stating our name, genre, hometown, and verbal GRE score. All of this is true except for that last part.

I don't think I'd want to be in a program where students sit around and compare scores that have no relevance to their lives.

Regarding GRE and funding: If your program is fully funded, that is everyone gets full funding (not tiered) then the GRE doesn't matter. If you have to find funding outside your department, like with the grad school itself, and you are competing with students from other departments, GRE scores may be considered.

I hope this will ease your minds (and I hope it doesn't sound like bragging): my verbal was 600, my analytical (essay) was 3. I was accepted into four programs, three of which are fully funded, of which two required the GRE.

I don't know why this thread has been so popular. GREs are so unimportant. If you all think taking the GRE is stressful, wait unitl Jan/Feb time. All this time you're fretting over scores you could be working on your writing sample, or even just writing.


kbritten

e-mail user

Dec 11, 2009, 10:48 PM

Post #347 of 357 (5354 views)
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Re: [jamie_mu] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Jamie_Mu is being humble about this too; she got accepted into some VERY good programs. And I agree completely with you, I don't know why this topic is so popular, you make a good a point. I just think we all need to realize how unimportant the whole thing is, so I feel the need to explain it.

To illustrate, let's use a baseball analogy: most scouts want the perfect pitcher - tall, muscular, fit, varied pitches, high velocity, lots of movement on pitches, gets lots of outs. That's great if you can find a pitcher who fits that mold, but most prospects don't meet all of those requirements. You have a lot of tall, muscular, fit guys who throw straight fastballs at 95 miles an hour, but can't seem to get a lot of outs because while their pitches are fast, they're also flat and predictable. You also have a lot of short, less fit, less muscular people who have a lot of movement on pitches, but lack velocity. But, because of the movement on their pitches, they get a lot of people out. The question that you have to answer as a manager or GM is what's most important to you, having a tall, muscular guy on your team who looks good, or a short guy who gets people out? I would venture to say that you want the person who gets outs. That's all that matters.

An MFA program director would obviously want the person with a fabulous, interesting, fresh writing sample, stellar recs, GPA, and GRE scores. I would venture to say that not all people fit that mold. I certainly do not. Would you really rather the person with the stellar GPA and GRE scores, who has a dull, run of the mill writing sample over the person with the less than stellar GPA/GRE who has a fresh, interesting sample? The short guy who can get outs is more valuable to the team than the tall guy with a straight fastball. And I am fully aware that I could be the worst prospect - average GPA/GRE AND writing sample. In that case, it obviously doesn't matter. But, that's beside the point.

I also don't buy into this idea that GPA/GRE = good writing sample. It certainly doesn't in baseball, look at Tim Hudson, Pedro Martinez, Scott Shields, Mariano Rivera, and a slew of others. Hell, look at C.C. Sabathia, he's tall, but he's horribly out of shape! This idea that GRE scores/GPA = good writer is simply not true. It might be for scientific research, but it's not for art. Art is about perspective, experience, dedication, creativity, uniqueness of style, etc...

Whew... I told Forum Apps that I wouldn't argue about this anymore, and I feel really selfish for talking about this still. At least I'm not responding one of his posts, since I told him I wouldn't. My intention is not to get in an argument, it's to make people realize that none of this talk about GREs is really important. 1500 or 1000, all that truly matters is the sample. It's all about getting people out (last baseball analogy, I promise :)


Zuleika Dobson


e-mail user

Dec 12, 2009, 12:28 AM

Post #348 of 357 (5346 views)
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Re: [kbritten] GREs and GPAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I applaud your analogy! I actually feel like there is often an inverse relationship between GPA and writing. Many of the best creative writers out there now were academic underachievers who did not have stellar grades in college.

This goes for dead writers as well. Fitzgerald was an awful student at Princeton. The greatest writer to ever step foot on this planet (my very insignificant opinion) was perhaps the most mediocre student Oxford ever had. I'd like to think they'd be given a shot at a top MFA program if they were here today.


"Every spectator is a coward or a traitor."


Modica


Dec 18, 2009, 6:02 AM

Post #349 of 357 (5186 views)
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I think I'm screwed [In reply to] Can't Post

New poster here, thought I'd say hello first and foremost!

Alright, I'm in my final year of college. I've been in for almost six years now, and while I've had some (one or two) good semesters, the rest have been crippled by both my own severe depression and a drinking problem, but also family disasters had to drop out one semester because of family issues alongside a myriad of medical problems and on and on. As a result, my overall GPA is a whopping 2.3. And the way this semester went, it might sink a little bit lower. My English GPA is, currently, a 3.4 which is okay and will probably get higher by the time I graduate but for the most part, my college career has been a disaster.

I have yet to take the GREs, though I have been taking several practice tests, and I'm doing well. I do well on standardized tests. Got a 35 on the ACT back in the day, 1440/1600 on the SAT before they added the writing section. So I feel I'm capable, and I hope that will show, but I'm still really worried that I'm going to get turned out because of my extremely low GPA and the numerous Fs and Ds on my transcripts. I want to apply to several places (Arizona is my top choice) but as my graduation approaches, I'm getting more and more nervous. Am I in fact pretty screwed?

Note: I'm not going into grad school directly after I graduate. I plan to take two to three years off. In that time, I plan to do a lot of writing and reading I hadn't had time for and polish up myself and my work. Suggestions for things that might influence admissions or offset my GPA would be more than welcome.

Note II: I should also mention that, here at Iowa where I'm doing undergrad, I run a reading series and a small publication, and I am also close friends with a lot of the MFA students and graduates, all of whom know my work and are willing to write references. So that should help, right? Also, to anyone curious about Iowa or Iowa City, drop me a line. I know this town very, very well.


(This post was edited by Modica on Dec 18, 2009, 6:04 AM)


karinr
Karin Rosman


Dec 18, 2009, 1:32 PM

Post #350 of 357 (5149 views)
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Re: [Modica] I think I'm screwed [In reply to] Can't Post

I read your post and I feel like I'm looking at myself ten years ago. I decided last November to take the plunge and I applied to the University of Washington MFA program just today (though the process was ongoing).

I can't respond to getting in or not, but I want to encourage you to take the GRE. Don't wait until you're more than ten years out of school, out of practice, etc. They're good for a few years and even if you wait ten years to go to school, you took the test once and you will know what to expect.

It was really interesting for me to look at my transcripts. At first it depressed me, and then I remembered some of the stuff that was going on. I was able to respond to that in my statement of purpose, and also mentioned that I have worked in the book industry, taught as a substitute teacher, published regionally and continued to write.

Here's another thing about taking time off. I want to get into this program, it would help but if I don't get in it's not going to kill my writing. I put my all into that application (even had to write a critical essay, which I have not even considered in ten years) but now that it's done, I'm looking forward to writing fiction rather than waiting for a response. And paying more attention to off season baseball.


Modica


Dec 20, 2009, 7:22 PM

Post #351 of 357 (7665 views)
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Re: [karinr] I think I'm screwed [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the encouragement. I do plan to take the GREsI'm going to start studying this upcoming semester, if I can get my life in order enough to concentrate on something like that. But I definitely need to take a few years off. One of my good friends and mentors thinks that three years out of Iowa City would do wonders for me. Decompression, finding out what I'm really interested in, etc. So that's the minimum I'm gonna take off. I guess I'll see where to go from there.


rubythief


Dec 21, 2009, 7:14 PM

Post #352 of 357 (7601 views)
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Re: [Modica] I think I'm screwed [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that you should do the GRE sooner rather than later - the scores are good for five years, and it's amazing how much math you can forget just a few years out of school! Revising was pretty stressful, but the testing process itself was not that scary - I'd never taken a standardized test before, and I was pleasantly surprised by my results.

I also wonder how much grades matter. My transcript looks crazy - I did first year, then took a whole year off due to illness, then crammed second and third year into one. My grades were good-but-not-great until final year. I've addressed it in my statement of purpose, but I still think it's the weakest part of my application... I hope they see my strong final year and give me the benefit of the doubt.

And another question... I know in general everything before college is ancient history, but what if you had very significant achievements in high school? I won some major national awards for high-school aged kids, and I've thought about tacking them on to my resume. Could it hurt? We're talking this decade. The ones I'd include were writing/English related; I didn't take any English or writing classes in college, so I almost want to mention them just to show that I was always interested in writing. But I don't want to do it if it's going to make me look sad and desperate... although at this point I know I am :)


Forum Apps


Dec 21, 2009, 7:43 PM

Post #353 of 357 (7594 views)
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Re: [rubythief] I think I'm screwed [In reply to] Can't Post

You might be able to work them into your SOP in some way that creates an interesting narrative. I don't think high school stuff qualifies as CV material.

In relation to the GRE... download the powerprep software on the ETS website. That is just like the test (minus a couple new question types they added). It will give you a good idea of where you stand (it takes an hour to take the whole test if you skip over the essay section). Decide when you want to take it based off of that. You might want to put it off and work on your vocabulary on your time off or something (if you're taking three years off and actually plan on reading a lot and the like over those three years...)

The math is easy to forget (and I forgot most of it by the time I took the test) but as long as you're willing to pick up a prep book and refresh yourself on the math for a couple of days to a week it is no big deal.


kbritten

e-mail user

Jun 4, 2010, 9:00 PM

Post #354 of 357 (5994 views)
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GRE retake? [In reply to] Can't Post

I posted this on the MFA blog, but I thought I'd double-post to get the awesome advice from all you wonderful lads and lasses:

I was wondering what everyone thought about me retaking the GRE. I took the test in 2008 (twice) and received a 510v 540q and 5 analytical. I'd really like to apply to Ohio State, which has a 600 minimum score. I'm happy to retake it, but I just read that score reporting is done cumulatively, so even if I did score a 600v, the score reported with be a 550. I contacted Ohio State about their minimum and they told me that they read the whole application and to apply anyway. I don't know. It's not a money thing, because honestly, it's a difference of $50 (because they include the "cost" of sending the report to five schools in the $150 fee). Should I retake it? I think I could get up there to the 600 range, but would it matter anyway?


bighark


Jun 4, 2010, 11:10 PM

Post #355 of 357 (5977 views)
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Re: [kbritten] GRE retake? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you retook the test, scored a perfect 800 V, and still got rejected from Ohio State, would you regret not having used the flashcard drilling time to writer stronger stories?

Don't repeat the GRE.


gcsumfa


Jun 5, 2010, 12:00 AM

Post #356 of 357 (5971 views)
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Re: [kbritten] GRE retake? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I posted this on the MFA blog, but I thought I'd double-post to get the awesome advice from all you wonderful lads and lasses:

I was wondering what everyone thought about me retaking the GRE. I took the test in 2008 (twice) and received a 510v 540q and 5 analytical. I'd really like to apply to Ohio State, which has a 600 minimum score. I'm happy to retake it, but I just read that score reporting is done cumulatively, so even if I did score a 600v, the score reported with be a 550. I contacted Ohio State about their minimum and they told me that they read the whole application and to apply anyway. I don't know. It's not a money thing, because honestly, it's a difference of $50 (because they include the "cost" of sending the report to five schools in the $150 fee). Should I retake it? I think I could get up there to the 600 range, but would it matter anyway?


I wouldn't retake the test just to apply to one MFA program. You'd be better off using that time to work on your writing sample. No program is going to say, "We love this applicant's writing sample, but he/she only scored a 510 on the GRE V."


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Jun 5, 2010, 12:10 PM

Post #357 of 357 (5928 views)
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Re: [kbritten] GRE retake? [In reply to] Can't Post

If Ohio State said you don't need to worry about their minimum, you don't need to worry about their minimum.

In 99.9% of cases, MFA programs don't give a rat's ass about GRE scores. They only require them because the universities that house them do.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.

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