(submitted Mar. 1, 2004)
I have a Masters in Economics from India. I want to pursue a PhD in
Economics in the US. I have a very low GRE score (650-quant and 700
verbal, 5.0 essay). Which range of universities should I try given this
score? I would get good recommendation letters as well as have a years
experience in research.
Who have told you that your GRE scores are very low? If you check
average scores at universities, you'll see that this is not the case. In
theory you can get into any university (your GRE scores are ok for
that), everything depends on LORs, SOP, publications, research
(submitted Feb. 22, 2004)
I'm an Indian applying for MS in EE. My GRE scores are 800-Q,760-V and
3.5 AWA .My GPA translates to 3.6. Would AWA play a crucial role? Please
suggest a range of universities to apply.
Most universities don't pay a lot of attention to AWA scores, your other
scores are fine, so don't worry. Range of universities would depend on
many factors (research experience, undergrad university and GPA, LORs,
SOP) and test scores are never enough to determine it.
(submitted Feb. 21, 2004)
I completed my MBA in Finance in the Oklahoma City University in 2002. I
have since returned to my country Sri Lanka but would like to do my PHD
in Finance in the USA. How should I get about it, and do you think I
would get financial aid to do this doctorate?
Most PhD programs have financial assistance, to find out how competitive
getting it is, you need to check with particular universities you are
interested in. To get into PhD program you would need to follow the
usual root: tests, LORs, SOP. I am sure you work experience will be a
big plus when applying.
(submitted Jan. 16, 2004)
I am in a great dilemma of choosing universities. I am from India,
completed my bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering with 62%, I also
have GRE scores of 730V,380Q, TOEFL 237. Can you suggest me any
universities which suit my academics.
The best bet probably would be schools in 20-40th range. Make sure that
your TOEFL score in the acceptable range for the particular schools. You
can check ratings
(submitted Dec. 20, 2003)
I am an Indian doing my undergraduate with Electronics as a major. I have
a GRE score of 1380 with quant 690 and verbal 690. My quant is low. Can
you suggest some good universities, not in the top block though, which I
can get admitted to? TOEFL is not a consideration and I have GPA between
3 and 3.5 out of 4.
universities rating. I would recommend universities in the 20-30th
(submitted Dec. 18, 2003)
I got 227 on TOEFL and 4.0 on TWE and my GRE scores are 780(Q),300(V).
Do you think I have any chance to be admitted to the University of
Southern California or UCSD? My GPA is 3.2. Also, I study in a
recognized university and I think that I have good recommendations and
If I were on the admission committee I would question your English
proficiency, because of quite low TOEFL and Verbal. If you can retake
one of these tests or show your English proficiency in some other way, I
think that would increase your chances of getting admitted.
(submitted Dec. 17, 2003)
I am applying for a masters in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech,
Michigan State (Ann Arbor), Illinois (Urbana) and McGill in
Canada. I am Mexican and I was the best student of my class at college
(BS Mechanical Eng.) with a general qualification of 98/100. I am
currently working at GE in Mexico. But I just took the GRE and I got 350
in verbal and 770 in math. Do you think I should take the test again?.
Can I be considered to get a financial aid in any of these institutes?.
In the last TOEFL I took I got a score of 620 (paper based).
Your GRE is ok (not great, but in the acceptable range), TOEFL is fine.
Yes, you will be considered for financial aid at all of these schools, I
don't see anything in the info you provided that would contradict this.
(submitted Dec. 14, 2003)
Hi Natalia, I am an international senior student at Management
Information Systems field. I want to study in USA for MS in MIS degree.
My GRE Scores 420 Verbal, 780 Quantitave, 5 Analytical. I have also 230
TOEFL. What range do you recommend me to apply? Thanx.
First, I would recommend retaking TOEFL, because according to your
Verbal and AWA you can do better on TOEFL (getting 250 or better is
quite important). If your TOEFL >250 your choice of university would
depend on your research experience, etc. in terms of tests you'd be fine
with any university.
(submitted Dec. 12, 2003)
I am doing undergraduate(4th yr), mechanical engineering in India. I got
verbal score of 360 and 750 in quantitative. I have an aggregate of 75% in
engineering. Kindly suggest me my chances in getting admitted to top 50
universities. My TOEFL score is 240. If possible which universities
overlook the low verbal scores and stress more on research and
Many universities can "forgive" low verbal score. I also had 360 in
verbal which did not prevent MIT, Princeton and Caltech from admitting
me. I am somewhat concerned about your Quantitative and TOEFL. Some
universities require minimum TOEFL of 250 and most of them are very
strict about it.
(submitted Dec. 3, 2003)
I am French and I am applying for a mid career masters in public
policy. My undergraduate average is 11,5/20 which is adequate for a
masters program since the top of the class get maximum 13 or 14. The
application reviewer told me that my application might be rejected since
11,5/20 is a C average. How can I make a case to have my average
properly converted in GPA?
It would be nice if you can ask your school in France to give you a
transcript using American system of grades (A is usually >90%, B >80%,
etc.). Otherwise you need to ask your school in France to submit letter
explaining the grading system along with the transcript. Convert you GPA
according to percentage system used in US.
(submitted Dec. 3, 2003)
Hello Natalia, I would ike to get the idea to what school can I apply for
Ph.D. in Computer Engineerng. My GRE are Q 760, V 280 and A is to be
determined. My GPA is 3.85 from SUNY at Stony Brook. I'm Polish by the
way. What are my chances to get to top schools.
According to your test scores you have some chances (but not much) of
getting to top schools, although I would definitely consider retaking
GRE, since both your Q and V need to be improved.
(submitted Dec. 2, 2003)
I just retook my GRE test two days ago. My GRE score is verbal(650) and
quantitative(800). Would you kindly tell me if graduate schools average
your GRE scores or take the highest instead?
Graduate schools usually consider only the last score. They might
mention that you've previously taken GRE but this is of minor
(submitted Nov. 22, 2003)
I am a senior International student studying CS and Information Systems
in the National University of Singapore. My GPA is 3.74/4 and I have one
year research experience in the field of entrepreneurship during my
study in Stanford. I just took my GRE test a few days ago, and my scores
are Verbal(700, 96%), Quantitative (730, 80%), AWA (6). I understand
that my quantitative score is pretty weak compared to the rest, do you
think I stand a chance to get admitted into top 30 US schools in the
field of Engineering management/Industrial Engineering/Management
Science/CS? For example, if the admission statistics of one university
states that average quantitative is 780 and verbal 580, do I ever get a
chance of being considered for admission if my quantitative falls below
average? Would you recommend me to retake my GRE if I can significantly
raise my quantitative score?
You Quantitative is not that low for any university to disqualify you
right away. There are many other aspects that members of admission
committees are considering besides test scores. You Quantitative should
be within acceptable range for most universities in top 20. If you feel
that you can significantly improve your Quantitative score you can
retake GRE, but I don't think it's the first priority in your case.
(submitted Nov. 24, 2003)
Thanks for all you are doing Natalia. My question is that how often do
recommendations get verified? Can there be problems?
I would say that recommendations rarely get verified but if
recommendation is verified and it is found to be a falsification the
applicant is going to be in a very big trouble, because not only this
university would never admit this student, but it would also inform all
other universities about such an incident. I have heard few such
stories, one student had to change his name in order to apply next year.
(submitted Nov. 22, 2003)
I have got a GRE score of 330 in verbal and 790 in quantitative(Essay -
3.5)have got a TOEFL score of 250/300(essay - 5). I want to do my
master's in electrical engineering. My academic overall % is 87 and i
get a GPA of 4/4. What are my chances and to what univ could i apply?
Your GPA and test scores are ok to get admitted to any university. TOEFL
is fine, GRE verbal should be acceptable since you're applying to EE,
although it would be nice if your recommenders also mention your English
proficiency. To which universities you should apply depends on your
research experience, your recommendations and SOP. As a general
recommendation choose both top universities and some from 20-30th range
to be safe.
(submitted Nov. 19, 2003)
I have GPA 3.0/4.0 My GRE scores are 330(verbal) and 760(quant). My
TOEFL scores is 270/300. I am doing EE and want to apply for Computer
Engineering. Even though my GPA is comparatively bad, I am an excellent
researcher. How do I convey this successfully with my Personal
What range of universities should I apply to?? I am planning to aply to
Purdue, Austin- Texas, U of South California, Virginia Tech, Georgia
Tech, UTexas - Dallas..
Which universities for my scores should be a backup, where I can get
What are my chances of getting an Assistantship?
Your recommenders should convey that you are an excellent researcher,
SOP would help, but it's mostly a task for recommenders. For your test
scores your choice of universities seems appropriate. Out of my personal
preference I might also suggest SUNY-Stony Brook and Boston University.
(submitted Nov. 17, 2003)
Hi Natalia! I am in my 3rd year Mechanical Engineering in India and am
going to take my GRE shortly. As there are no GRE subject tests for
Mechanical Engineering I wanted to ask you if taking the Math subject
test would help my application in any way? Thanks for answering my
If you can get a high score on Math subject test that would be a plus to
your application. I would say, it you can get >900 definitely take it.
If you can get >800 it's questionable whether you should take (it won't
hurt, but I'm not sure whether it will be a big bonus).
(submitted Nov. 13, 2003)
Dear Natalia, I am a French student and plan to apply for a PhD in
political science, top 10 universities (all of them). I have a master
from a good European university, Toefl above 290 and GRE as follows: Q
770 and V 660. The verbal is quite low, so do you think it will still be
enough for the very best programs (top 10 or even 5). Thanks in advance.
I think your verbal should be fine since you are an international
student and your TOEFL is very high. Concentrate on SOP and helping your
professors write good recommendation letters. Good luck!
(submitted Nov. 11, 2003)
Hello Natalia! I'm applying to the following schools for the fall 2004
session : MIT, Stanford, UIUC, Noth Carolina State Univ, Rensellear, UC
San Deiago, UC Santa Barbra, U Southern Cal, Texas Austin, Univ of
I want to know more about what you said about the 4th recommendation.
How do I time the sending of this 4th recommendation? When should I send
it, if my deadline for application to Stanford is 15th of January?
4th recommendation is not required, so I would not send it with initial
application package since admission committee might choose only three
recommendations out of 4, and they might do it randomly. Send it, if you
wish, about 1-1.5 month after your initial application package as some
type of extra support.
(submitted Nov. 9, 2003)
I am interested in a PhD in Economics in top 20 universities in the
States. I'm an international student and took my GRE last month. I know
that for Economics they are mostly concerned with the quantitative part
and I just scored 770 on that. I have a very good undergraduate record,
one year research experience and very strong LOR's. I am a bit afraid my
application could go straight to the "reject" pile because of that
result. Do you think I should consider retaking the test? Have you got
any idea of what would be my chances of getting admitted to a top 10
I am almost sure that your application won't go straight into reject
because of 770 on quantitative, there are many more important criteria
that admission committee are concerned with and 770 is not very low,
it's actually pretty good. I cannot evaluate your chances since I have
very little information.
(submitted Nov. 7, 2003)
Dear Natalia, I have completed my Master's in Computer Science from
India in June 2003 and am interested in pursuing a PhD in Business
Administration (Finance &/or Marketing). I have 2 questions
1. How do I convert my marks to the GPA considering that 75/100 is
usually the highest that a student is awarded, unlike the GPA where a
4.0 is actually awarded to students?
2.Would I be considered for a PhD in Finance given that I have not
studied Finance earlier but am interested in it now? Would I need to do
an MBA or MSc. with a specialization in Finance, before applying for the
1. I would suggest you get a letter from one of your university
officials explaining the grading system and include it together with
your transcripts. Also, you might want to consult universities directly,
because I am sure the programs you are applying to had similar
applicants in the past.
2. It depends on whether you have any research experience in Finance.
Also, you need to check whether programs you are interested in have
course prerequisites and whether you can satisfy them. In general, if
you had no experience with Finance at all in the past, it might be
difficult to get into the program and would be wise to get some
(submitted Nov. 3, 2003)
I have done my engineering in computer science in India and now I am
preparing for GRE, to get scholarship or financial assistantship among
top 30 graduate school how much my GRE score would matter and if yes how
Most universities provide financial assistantship to all students they
admit to CS program. To get admitted to (and get financial aid at) top
30 universities you would need quantitative >700 and verbal >350 (on
average). You can often find such statistics on department's websited or
by asking the program coordinator.
(submitted Nov. 3, 2003)
Hi Natalia, thx for the great site. Just gave my GRE today. Scored 610
in verbal and 730 in quantitative. Am expecting at lest a 4 in the
analytical portion. I am from India, and am interested in PhD in
information security. I have done my masters from Singapore with
excellent academic records, and have now worked for 3 and half years in
the field of information security for Ernst & Young. I was wondering as
to what do you think about my prospects for getting into a PhD program
with one of the top universities, that is if I have any prospect at all.
Also any strategies you want to recommend to me in particular
considering that I might not be able to get good recommendations from my
profs at school as the prof under whom I did research has quit and left
Singapore. I can get good recommendations from my bosses in office
In general, it sounds that you have a good prospective of getting
admitted (your quantitative is somewhat low for your major, but should
be acceptable). Try to get one recommendation from your university profs
and, yes, it's fine if you will have two strong recommendations from
your bosses. Erns&Young is a very well know company and it will be much
to your advantage that you have worked there and have good
(submitted Nov. 2, 2003)
Hi. I am an Indian undergrad student, doing my final year Mechanical Engineering in one of the top 5 colleges in the country.GRE-1340
(q-800,v-540,awa-4) and TOEFL-270. CGPA-7.2 out of 10. I am planning to
apply to Iowa St. University, Auburn, SUNY-Buffalo and Wayne St.
University. It would be of great help if you can indicate my chances in
these 4 universities.
You have excellent chances getting admitted to these universities, in my
opinion. If I were you (I assume you'll have good SOP and LORs) I would
consider some better universities (and most likely none of the ones
you've mentioned, but it's just my personal preference). Anyways, do
choose some universities of the level you indicated but also choose some
better universities - it's worth a try :-)
(submitted Oct. 18, 2003)
I have my GRE score (400 verbal and 750 quant AWA 4)and TOEFL score of
253 (essay 5). I am interested in pursuing a masters degree in computer
science from US , presently I am doing engineering from India (4th year). Do
you think I stand a chance applying to universities ranked 40-70?
Yes, you do. But as I like to write, I don't think it is worth studying
at 40-70th universities. Your test scores are fine. You need good
research experience, good SOP, good LORs (hopefully you also have good
GPA) and then go ahead and apply to top 10-30. If you lack good research
experience I would advise getting it, even if that would mean postponing
your application for a year. Believe me, in the long run, it's worth it.
(submitted Oct. 14, 2003)
Hi Natalia! I would like to ask you about MIT specifically. Can you tell
me what exactly are they looking for? I'm not the top in my class
overall (though I've topped a couple of semesters) and my GRE score is
not very high (790/630/4.5)but I have research experience of nearly 1
year at the undergrad (I'm in my 7th sem) our work will be published
soon. I also feel I have very strong recommendations. Do you think I
You definitely should. Application process is a lottery (the more I
learn about it, the more I think so :-) What you mentioned of your
credential sounds fine. 1 year of research is not very long but if it
was serious than that's good, publication in a respected journal is
definitely a plus. Make sure your recommendations and statement are very
(!) strong and show you as an outstanding person with a high potential
to be successful in your chosen field (that's what all schools are
looking for, they're all the same in this respect, they choose the best
from what they get).
(submitted Sept. 28, 2003)
I got 257 in TOEFL, 4.5 in TWE and I got 780 in gre quantitative, 580 in
verbal (87 percentile in quantitative , 80 percentile in verbal), but I
got 3.5 in GRE analytical writing. I am a chemical engineer applying for
PhD in bioengineering. How much important is the analytical writing
score for an engineering student I want to know.
And what is my chance to get in one of the top 20 universities?
Your test scores are fine for the top 20 schools (AW should be ok, since
you're an international student and engineering is a scientific field).
Make sure that your recommenders address your high English proficiency
and that your statement of purpose is impeccably written (no grammar or
spelling mistakes). If your recommendations and statement are strong you
have excellent chances of getting to top 20 universities. Consider test
scores as pass/fail criteria. You passed for most schools, now they are
interested in knowing your personality and your scientific potential.
(submitted Sept. 18, 2003)
What is the minimum GRE score (percentile basis) that one may need to get
an admission in PhD in management in universities like HBS and MIT? How
much importance is given to Analytical Writing (the new section that
was introduced in GRE last year)?
On average to get accepted for PhD in management at the top 10
universities you need verbal: 90th percentile or greater (> 60-70th for
international students) and quantitative: 95th to the 99th percentile on
your tests (btw, you can take either GRE or GMAT, there are usually
considered equivalent and GMAT's verbal is so much easier). I am not
sure how important is Analytical Writing for admission in management,
you can ask programs directly for statistics from previous year.
(submitted Jul. 8, 2003)
I am from Poland and some concepts concerned with 'american education
system' are less or more problematic for me. I have one small problem
with 'semestral hours', 'quarter hours'. I am not quite sure what they
really mean and especially how to convert them to normal (clock) hours
because I don't have others in my credit book. Please help me.
I could not find direct guidelines for converting clock hours to
semester/quarter hours, but according to some guidelines I found and to
my experience with clock and semester/quarter hours the following simple
rule should be quite accurate. Assume that 1 lecture/semester/lab hour a
week equals 1 credit, if your school is on semester system that would be
semester hours (sometimes also called credits), if your school is on
quarter system that would be quarter hours. When submitting your
transcript to US universities I recommend using semester hours since
most likely university officials won't know hour to convert our clock
hours into their system (that's what I've always done anyways).
(submitted Apr. 4, 2003)
I am from Romania and I'm in California (Los Angeles).I want to get a
scholarship to a university here. Can you give me some useful
Do you want to study in undergrad or in grad school? If you want to
study in undergrad, getting scholarship will be hard and you must be
VERY smart, since most scholarships here are intended
for US citizens. If you are interested in graduate school and your
specialty is some type of science of economics, funding should not be a
problem. Most universities cover 100% of tuition and pay stipend to all
grad students in scientific fields, check with the particular university
and department for more details. For social sciences, history,
languages, and such majors getting funding is much harder and depends a
lot on the university. Still most departments do provide funding but
only to 20-50% of students.
(submitted Apr. 1, 2003)
I applied to graduate schools and was accepted to one of my top choices
with the offer of a teaching assistantship. However my life/work
situation has changed, and I'm no longer prepared to drop everything and
go to graduate school. I think it will be another 3 years until I'm
ready. My question is this: on most applications there is a box that
says "have you applied to this institution before, yes/no? If yes, were
you accepted, yes/no?" Would being accepted and turning down their offer
now hurt my chances of getting accepted again in three years?
Most schools allow to postpone your enrollment for
one year (I know people who have done this), I am not sure about three
years. I think you should contact the head of the admission committee at
your department and discuss situation with this person. Depending on the
school they might let you postpone the enrollment and even if they don't
they will know the reasons (they must be strong) for your decision so
that this decision won't harm you in the future. Building good
relationship is the key, you can be 90% sure that this person still will
be on the admission committee in three years.
(submitted Mar. 1, 2003)
I have applied to a half dozen
schools for a Phd in Bioengineering/Biophysics. I had contacted Profs in
my field earlier and only applied to those schools where I got
encouraging replies. My question is - in most of the bio programs, the
first year, as you know, is for lab rotations. Most of the profs who
replied to my letters had invited me to their labs for rotations. I am
an engineering major where there is no concept of rotations. So does a
rotation invariably lead on to a dissertation under the prof? What is
the typical output of a semester of rotation in a lab?
The major purpose of rotations is for the student to
learn more about the field and particular labs before he makes a
decision in which lab to pursue his PhD, also during rotations one can
learn skills and techniques which will be useful during his work on PhD
thesis (even if it is done in the different lab).
The output of your semester rotation in the lab highly depends on you
and the department requirements. In many universities there is very
little pressure, so it is largely up to you how much you will do and
learn. If you work hard it is possible to publish a paper as a result of
rotation (I did it after one of my rotations at Caltech). After you
finish your rotation it's perfectly fine to move to the next one saying
that you really liked what you did but you would like to get a broader
understanding of the field before making a decision of where to work on
(submitted Feb. 25, 2003)
I am an Indian graduate student aspirant for GRE. What score should I
get in verbal and quantitative to really get admitted into top 50
schools? My cGPA is 8.0 and I have two projects in my field of interest.
I am a mechanical engineering student.
GRE score is only a small part of an application packet, you should
strive to get as high score as possible, but don't be very disappointed
if you don't get top score. Personal statement and recommendations can
overweigh the GRE score. General advice: try to get at least 350 on
verbal (the more the better :-) and at least 650 on quantitative (if you
are a science major less than 700 is considered bad).
(submitted Feb. 5, 2003)
My major is Applied Mathematics, GPA 4.92 out of 5. TOEFL - 207, GRE
General: 300 - Verbal, 3.0 - Essays, 800 - Quantitative. What are my
chances of getting admitted to American graduate schools?
In terms of your GPA, and GRE you are fine and you probably can get high
score in GRE Subject in Mathematics (right?). You should be concerned
about your TOEFL (verbal score is also low and without good TOEFL that
would also count). I highly recommend you to spend extra time preparing
for TOEFL and taking it again. You might get admitted to some
universities with this TOEFL score but your chances are quite low and if
I were you I would definitely retake the exam before applying.
(submitted Jan. 26, 2003)
I am a Thai undergrad student. I have spotted that many universities
provide their own recommendation form. They have some checkbox, etc.
Should I use those forms instead of the general recommendation letters
(not the form with all the required questions answered) similar to what
I have seen on your website? Is it going to lessen the admission
opportunities if I don't use their forms? To me, it is quite hard to ask
my faculties to complete those 15 forms for 15 universities.
I have once asked my recommender to fill out 12 forms while I was
sitting nearby and translating questions for him, he got really tired of
all this at the end :( so I decided not to ask others to fill that many
since it's quite a pain for them. These forms, I think, are somewhat
important if all the marks are in top 2-10% (otherwise it's definitely
better not to include them). If you know that your recommender has a
high opinion of you, you might want to ask him to fill out 2-3 such
forms for your top choice universities. Many international students do
not include these forms so you should not worry too much.
(submitted Jan. 25, 2003)
Наташа, проясни мне пожалуйста некоторые вопросы,
связанные с перепиской с универами. Прочел у тебя
на сайте, что можно написать Head of the
admission committee. Это то же самое что и Graduate
Dean или нет? А то я немного боюсь не тех людей дергать :)
И еще. У меня есть очень близкий друг в одном из универов, куда я
аппликаюсь. Как ты думаешь,
попросить его лично узнать пришел ли мой пакет и
все ли там есть бумаги или не надо, а лучше самому написать и
узнать по мылу?
Кроме того я немного теряюсь кому же все таки писать: в Graduate School
или в Department ?
Head of admission committee i Graduate Dean - это
часто разные люди, узнать
кто является head of admission committee может
быть нетривиально, можно
написать нынешним русским студентам
в этом университете и спросить.
Если тебя интересует research кого-то из
(Head of adm. com ili gr. dean или ещо кто-н с должностью,
обязателно напиши им, лишний раз напомнить
о себе - это хорошо).
Я думаю, можешь попросить
своего друга спросить, т.к.
тогда точно все проверят, ну и потом личный
контакт лучше чем email.
Писать надо в department и толко в department,
Graduate school - это большая
контора, кот. занимается всеми грэдами
и до отделных студентов им довольно мало дела, да
и потом ты же у department хочешь узнать
начали они рассматриват твои бумаги или нет.
(submitted Jan. 22, 2003)
I am a native speaker of English who took the General GRE and got a 420
on the Verbal GRE and a 760 on the Quantitative GRE. Should I be
concerned about the low verbal for Statistics or Geography Schools?
It depends on which universities you are applying to. If you are looking
at the top 30 universities, yes I think you should be concerned.
Although, if you feel that you can significantly improve your score (at
least 100 points) it might be a good idea to retake the test. On the
other hand, you know that GRE is only part of your application packet
and if your other credentials are good admission committee would
"forgive" low Verbal. (Non-native speakers don't worry, this doesn't
relate to you, read Quest. #6)
(submitted Jan. 5, 2003)
I am currently studying in Moscow and I have a question about the
application fee. How much will asking for a waiver diminish my chances
of getting admitted?
Well, as long as you send your application materials to the department
(and not to the Graduate School as it's often being asked) asking
for a fee waiver should not make much difference if you follow up and
ask whether your application materials has been received and are being
considered. If they say that application fee is missing, you can explain
them your financial hardship one more time (see Other Documents and
Issues for more info). If the department is under no circumstances is
willing to waive the fee, you would still have an option to pay it. So
the only drawback of asking for a waiver is a possible delay in
considering your application materials, which can be minimized by
promptly contacting the department. But if you send your documents to
Graduate School without the application fee, the chances are very
high that it will get stuck there until you pay the fee.
(submitted Dec. 18, 2002)
I am an Indian undergard student. I have finished my undergrad(4 year
degree) in 2002 with 80% marks in Computer
I have 270/300 in TOEFL but did not do well in
GRE, I got 330/800 in Verbal and 770/800 in Quant.
Can you tell me what are my chances of
getting admission in an American university
that is among top 50.
You are ok on GRE as long as your Subject test score will be good. Pay
close attention to writing good SOP and letters of recommendation (this
is VERY important).
I had 360 on verbal and got admitted to top schools, so don't worry
about this. You definitely have a chance to be admitted to top 50 even
20 universities if your other materials will be strong.
(submitted Dec. 11, 2002)
Я живу в Омске, тут про обучение за рубежом знают считанные единицы,
узнать про оформление документов для поступления практически не у кого.
Поэтому у меня скопился ряд вопросов, в которых я не могу толком
1. Какие подписи и печати должны быть на копии диплома, на переводе
копии диплома, на транскрипте и на переводе транскипта?
2. Кто пишет рекомендательные письма и на каком языке? Я боюсь, что
преподаватели нашего университета просто не смогут написать рекомендацию
на английском. Как быть в этом случае? Переводить их письмо на
английский и просить их подписать перевод?
1. Диплом можно перевести либо
самому и заверить в деканате (печать, подпись) или в наториальной
конторе. Второй вариант, я думаю, лучше.
2. Рекомендательные письма должны быть написаны на английском языке.
Если преподаватели плохо владеют английским (что имеет место в
большинстве случаев), сделайте перевод и попросите преподавателей его
подписать. Более детальную информацию по поводу формата и требований к
рекомендациям вы можете найти в разделе
(submitted Nov. 12, 2002)
I am applying to ten universities this year. Most of them have deadlines
in Jan - Feb. The deadline at Princeton University is December, 2.
Should I try really hard to send all my application materials to
Princeton before deadline?
Some universities are very strict
with respect to the deadlines. I had a problem with UCSF when they
refused to consider my application because it was couple days past the
deadline. Luckily, most universities are not that strict and they will
consider your application even if has been received after the deadline.
The drawback of sending your application late is that the admission
committee already started looking over the applications and they might
not look at your application until they are finished with the ones
received on time. On the other hand, at some universities it won't be a
problem at all and they will consider your application together with all
the rest received on time. So it depends... and it's very hard to
predict what each particular university does. So in order to make a
decision consider and compare two things: how much you can improve your
application if you send it later and whether you are willing to take a
risk with this university.
(submitted Nov. 11, 2002)
My brother is applying for a masters in Mechanical Engineering at MIT,
Berkeley, Stanford and Notre Dame, he is Peruvian, he was the best
student of his class at college (BS Mechanical Eng.),he is currently
working for an American Company in Peru. But he just took the Gre and he
got 360 in verbal and 800 in math. Do you think he should take the test
I think your brother should not worry much about his low
verbal score as long as his TOEFL score is high (>270), most professors
would consider this with understanding. I also had 360 on verbal and
most schools did not pay any attention to that. Only at Caltech during
the interview I remember that one professor mentioned "How come you
speak English so well and have such a low verbal score?" I think it
takes very long to improve verbal score and it requires a lot of effort.
It would most likely pay off better if your
brother spends this time preparing for GRE Subject (high test score on
Subject test is important) and especially writing his statement.
(submitted Nov. 2, 2002)
My question is about choosing to which Bio Department it's better to
send an application. Many universities have more than one Life Sciences
departments (such as Biology, Bioengineering, Biophysics). To which
departments have you applied and what was your reasoning for choosing
these departments? What do you know about the difference between Life
Sciences departments now?
(will be translated soon)
Da v bolshinstve universitetov est po neskolku
fakultetov, moy opyt pokazyvaet, chto nado
postupat tolko na dostatochno bolshie programmy. Naprimer, odnoy
iz prichin, chto menya ne vzyali v Berkeley bylo to chto
ya postupala na Biophysics program, togda kak
nado bylo postupat na Department of Molecular Biology. Ya
dumala tipa kakoy ya molekulyarnyi biolog, u menya
obrazovanie po fizike, no vse eto nepravda,
biologi lubyat fizicheskoe obrazovanie, a Department of
Mol. Biol. namnogo bolshe programmy po Biophysics,
poetomu shansov tuda postupit namnogo bolshe.
Tak, eto po povodu Berkeley. V Princeton i Caltech bylo bez variantov:
Department of Biology. V Stanforde tozhe tolko odna programma,
no mnogo napravlenii i nado ukazyvat na kakoe postupaesh
(potom, kak i vezde mozhno peredumat :-)
V Harvarde Department of Biophysics, no vozmozhno stoilo postupat na
Department of Biology. V UC San Fransicso ne pomnu kuda
postupala. V MIT Department of Bioengineering and
Environmental Health - vzyli ochen bystro :-)
Resultaty byli sleduyuschimi: vsyali v MIT, Princeton i Caltech i ne
vzyli vo vse ostalnye. Vyvody: 1. Chem bolshe praktikueshsya prohodit
interview, tem legche, pervoe bylo v Berkeley, a potom v
Stanford i bez osnovnogo potoka studentov - tak
delat ne nado!
2. Malenkie programmy luchshe ne vybirat, u nih
chasto byvayut problemy s finansirovaniem i oni
ochen ogranichenny v kollichestve inostrannyh studentov, kotoryh oni
(submitted Oct. 9, 2002)
Прекрасная пора обучения в университете США рано или
поздно заканчивается. Приходит время возвращаться обратно. Конечно
специалистов по фундаментальным исследованиям здесь никто не ждет. Но
ведь срок визы ограничен. Как решается эта проблема?
Как можно остаться в США на легальных основаниях и после
окончания обучения. Как ситуация разрешилась в Вашем случае?
Знаешь, опыт показывает, что практически никто обратно
не возвращается. Когда я после года учебы в Миннесоте сказала, что
уезжаю обртно, мои друзья и знакомые были ооочень удивлены. (Я
вернулась, чему была ужасно рада и говорила, что больше в Америку не
поеду, а потом.... потом поступила на биологию в Калтех). Так вот к
вопросу об окончании учебы. Обычно у людей два пути, либо идти в
постдоки (те заниматься наукой), тогда они получают J визу, и подают на
green card по статье выдающиеся люди (все люди с PhD подходят под эту
категорию). Второй путь, пойти работать, тогда работодатель делает
рабочию визу и опять таки можно подать на green card. Я неслышала, чтобы
у тех кто хотел остаться возникали проблемы, так что по этому поводу
Question #1 (submitted Sept. 24, 2002)
Я сейчас учусь на 3-м курсе в МФТИ. Когда вы посоветуете
мне поступать в американскую аспирантуру: в этом году, после получения
Бакалавра или после окончания института?
Если задать этот вопрос уже уехавшим, то одназначного
ответа не будет. Некоторые считают, что уезжать надо как можно раньше,
т.к. в МФТИ они учились жизни, а для изучения науки условия были не
очень подходящие (переполненные общежития, неудобная читалка, халявные
сдачи экзаменов и пр.). Большинство, я думаю, согласятся с мнением, что
надо получить Бакалавра, т.к. первые четыре года идет серьезная
теоретическая подготовка и если не халявить, то можно многому научиться.
По поводу жизни в общежитии: неудобства неудобствами, но такой
сплоченной дружеской атмосферы вы уехав определенно не найдете. Главным
аргументом целесообразности уезжать после окончания института является
наличие хорошей базы и толкового шефа. Важное замечание (!) чем позже вы
уезжаете, тем больше у вас шансов поступить в топ 5 университет. Без
наличия Бакалавра шанс поступить в лучшие университеты существенно
Submit your question here and I will answer it within
next few days.