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2017 Application Countdown, Part 4 – Evaluation of Transcripts & GRE Scores

Dec 5, 2016

The Evaluation of Transcripts & GRE Scores

The beauty of the admission process to schools of public and international affairs is that the applicant pool is relatively small in comparison to other professional graduate schools of law, business, engineering and medicine. We do not use a matrix or formula for GPAs and GRE scores because the content behind those points of data is what we value most. We focus mostly on your performance in courses that demonstrate your preparation for our core curriculum in statistics, economics, politics and psychology. In any entering class, there are more than 30 different majors from throughout the humanities, social sciences, engineering, fine arts and sciences. However, we are evaluating each transcript on the basis of whether the applicant can learn what we teach. Strong performance in quantitative courses is usually the evidence we seek. If that evidence is not apparent then the evaluation defaults to the quantitative GRE score, which is a good indication of mathematical intuition and your ability to choose correct answers on a standardized test, but tells us very little about your motivation or preparation for our curriculum.

Approximately 70 percent of the applicants can learn what we teach, yet the overall admit rate is 12 to 15 percent. It is easy to look at the data in our viewbook for GPAs and GRE scores and determine that the higher your GPAs and GRE scores are, the better your chance for admission. However, even among applicants with the best GPAs and GRE scores, admission is not more than 23 percent. As an individual applicant, your chance of admission is either 0 percent or 100 percent. Once we are confident of your academic skills, stamina and motivation, our evaluation of your application shifts significantly toward the strength of your commitment to public service.

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