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Mikaeltb


Oct 24, 2005, 5:11 PM

Post #1 of 357 (17163 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 (17646 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 (17634 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 (17599 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 (17576 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 (17574 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 (17566 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 (17520 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 (17512 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 (17501 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 (17490 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 (17323 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 (17321 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 (17301 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 (17281 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 (17436 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 (17211 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 (17194 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 (17552 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 (17542 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 (17536 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 (17533 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 (17525 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 (17516 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 (17450 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.

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