Most prospective US graduate school applicants from around the world take the GRE if they are interested in pursuing a master’s degree, MBA, or JD. GRE scores are used to supplement applicants’ undergraduate records, recommendation letters, and other qualifying materials for graduate admissions because they are a common way to measure applicants.
However, if you are wondering if there are schools that don’t require GRE scores, the good news is that many schools do NOT require applicants to take this exam. Although it is widely used and commonly required, there are still many schools offering GRE waivers. This article breaks down what the GRE is used for and lists schools that do not include GRE scores as an essential requirement for acceptance to their graduate programs.
Table of Contents
- What is the GRE?
- When Not to Submit GRE Scores?
- Factors Influencing Application to Schools Offering GRE Waivers
- Graduate Schools That Don’t Require a GRE
What is the GRE?
The Graduate Record Exam, or GRE, is a standardized test designed to determine the likelihood of a graduate school applicant’s successful completion in graduate education, at a master’s or doctorate degree level. The GRE test is a common requirement for graduate programs.
Today, the number of schools in the US offering GRE waivers is increasing–but to be specific, only in certain circumstances. Nonetheless, just because a school does not require that applicants take the GRE does not mean that it has low academic standards.
When NOT to Submit GRE Scores?
It may be a difficult decision to make whether or not to submit GRE test scores when applying to schools offering GRE waivers. The following may help you answer the question of when not to submit GRE score or any other standardized test scores:
- COVID-19 limits the opportunity for applicants to take the exam. Due to current global circumstances, many schools consider it acceptable for students to decide not to take the test out of an abundance of caution.
- Applicants may focus on essays, SOPs, and other requirements while the application deadline is fast approaching.
- Test results do not reflect achievements and potential of the applicants. Students can demonstrate their abilities and strengths through essays.
- The schools that waive GRE scores would not perceive the absence of scores negatively but they might consider moderate or low scores as a negative indicator.
However, acceptable conditions for omitting the GRE notwithstanding, the question still remains: “Should I take the GRE?” Here are a few facts that might help you make this decision:
- Submitting GRE scores when applying to graduate schools with GRE waivers may increase your chance of getting a scholarship.
- If you believe your GPA is not strong enough, you may consider appealing your quantitative qualities through test scores.
- If your professional experience does not meet the minimum requirement for the program you are applying for, your GRE score will allow the admissions committee to better understand your strengths.
- If you are not confident that your essays will strongly appeal to the admissions committee, submitting GRE scores may give you an opportunity to get through.
Factors Influencing Application to Schools Offering GRE Waivers
If you decide not to submit your GRE score, you can certainly focus on other factors that will help you stand out. The factors would include academic history, professional experience, SOP, Letters of Recommendation, CV/Resume, etc.
- Academic History: A student’s undergraduate GPA is likely to be the most important factor reviewed by the graduate admissions committee. Usually, grad school applicants are required to obtain at least a 3.0 on 4.0 scale in their undergraduate studies. If your GPA is lower than a 3.0, it could be a good idea to take the GRE.
- Professional Experience: Not every graduate program requires professional experiences or internships, but some MBA programs and clinical psychology degrees hold professional experience in higher regard than do other academic departments or programs.
- Graduate Statement of Purpose (SOP): Most graduate programs will require 1-2 pages of personal statement to better understand applicants’ academic potential and writing skills. The universities will provide instructions or questions for applicants’ to answer through their SOP and require explanation of academic background and professional goals.
- Letters of Recommendation: Applicants are required to submit 2 to 3 letters of recommendation from faculty and/or previous employers. An important tip is to find an appropriate person (usually a professor or professional manager) with a basic understanding of your achievements and academic records willing to write the letter of recommendation for you.
- Academic CV/Resume: Graduate schools requiring prior experience are likely to ask for a resume or academic CV. Applicants may add details such as awards, recognitions, community involvement, projects, etc. You could use these documents in lieu of a GRW if you choose not to take the exam.
Which Graduate Schools Don’t Require GRE Scores?
Applying for graduate schools that do not require GRE scores can be a great opportunity for non-traditional applicants to pursue a master’s or other higher-learning degree. Whether a GRE is required or not, the most important factors to consider when applying for graduate schools is what degree you want to pursue and which academic institution you want to attend to earn the degree.
It is important to do some extensive research using the admissions websites of prospective graduate schools and through consultation with the graduate admissions office(via email and/or phone).
Below is a list of 20 graduate schools and programs that do not require a GRE.
- Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)
- Western Governors University
- Purdue University Global
- Strayer University
- Capella University
- Walden University
- Colorado Technical University
- Northcentral University
- Liberty University
- University of Southern California
- Simmons University
- Nova Southeastern University
- University of Scranton
- Benedictine University
- American University
- NYU School of Social Work
- Boston University
- Antioch University
- Utica College
- Ashford University
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