Grad Schools That Accept Low GRE Scores (And Why You Should Apply!)

low gre scores - Graduate Schools That Accept Low GRE Scores If your GRE scores were less than amazing, applying to top universities and graduate schools that accept low GRE scores — or waive GRE requirements altogether — might be the best way to go.

We’ve put together a list of U.S. universities that may have low GRE score requirements (or no score required at all!).

Click to learn more about what programs each graduate school has to offer. Or, scroll down for more info on what to do if your scores are not up to par.

10 Grad Schools to Consider If Your GRE Scores Aren't Ideal

1. Georgia State University

Georgia State University is a public research university with seven campuses throughout the Atlanta area. They serve over 51,000 students from diverse backgrounds. And, they offer a variety of graduate programs with varying GRE requirements, including programs that do not require the GRE.

About the GRE: The College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State recently removed the GRE requirement for 22 master’s degree programs. Instead, the university evaluates students based on measures that may include undergraduate GPA, previous experience, and the goals statement or writing sample.

2. Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago is a Jesuit university with several campuses throughout the Chicago area. They serve roughly 16,673 students from a variety of faiths, backgrounds, and goals. And while the GREs are generally required for graduate admissions, some programs may waive these scores.

About the GRE: Loyola looks for a combined score of 310 on the revised GRE. However, they advise students not to be discouraged if their GRE scores are not high, since Loyola considers many criteria for admissions, besides test scores. Pursuing a business degree? Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business considers potential GMAT/GRE waiver requests for students meeting certain conditions. For example, MBA applicants with at least 7 years of full-time, relevant professional experience may be considered for a waiver.

3. Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University is an open enrollment private university offering career-focused education, including programs at the master’s and doctorate levels. Students can study online, or at campuses in Colorado Springs and Aurora, Colorado.

About the GRE: CTU does not require GRE scores or other standardized tests for admissions. (An exception is for non-native speakers of English, who have to submit proof of English proficiency such as TOEFL scores.) Admissions requirements include an application, transcripts, interview, and in some cases, an essay.

4. Walden University

Walden University is a higher education institution dedicated to serving adult learners. In addition to undergraduate and certificate programs, they offer a variety of master’s and doctoral degree programs in an online format.

About the GRE: GRE requirements at Walden may vary by program. For example, Walden’s PhD completion program requires GRE or GMAT scores, but there is no minimum score. However, many programs at Walden do not require test scores.

5. The University of Scranton

The University of Scranton is a private Catholic, Jesuit university founded in 1888. The university offers 29 master’s programs and several doctorate programs, serving over 1500 graduate learners. Students can study on campus in Scranton, Pennsylvania, or pursue some programs online.

About the GRE: Most or all graduate programs at the University of Scranton do not require the GRE. However, it’s important to check the specifics for the program you are interested in, as requirements can vary or change.

6. California Southern University

California Southern University is a regionally accredited university with programs that take place completely online. They offer a variety of degree paths, including master’s and doctoral programs, aimed at busy, working adults in need of flexibility.

About the GRE: CalSouthern does not require entrance exams, like the GRE or GMAT, for any of its graduate programs. Instead, the admissions process requires your transcripts, a personal statement, and other materials.

7. Johns Hopkins University

America’s first research university, Johns Hopkins has been a leader in higher education for over 140 years. They are based in Baltimore, Maryland, but have multiple campus locations as well as online programs across many areas of study.

About the GRE: Johns Hopkins is home to multiple graduate schools and programs, each with slightly different requirements. For example, part-time programs at Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals do not require GRE scores. Some, but not all, of the graduate programs offered by the School of Education require GRE scores. Case in point: The Master of Arts in Teaching programs require a minimum combined score of 297. Other programs require the GRE but do not list a minimum score. Confused yet? Your best bet is to check the specifics for the program you’re interested in.

8. Capella University

Capella is an online university offering flexible, professionally-aligned degree paths. They offer graduate programs in a variety of fields. And, no GRE scores are required in the admissions process.

About the GRE: Test scores are not required at Capella, which may be good news if you aren’t happy with the results of your GRE. Instead, Capella evaluates students based on criteria that may include your GPA, CV, goal statement, letters of recommendation, etc.

9. Northcentral University

Northcentral University is a regionally-accredited online university that serves students from around the world. Northcentral focuses on graduate programs in a variety of areas, from Business Administration to Cybersecurity. GRE scores are not required.

About the GRE: Northcentral does not require GRE scores for admission. However, each graduate program may have slightly different admissions requirements.

10. Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology is a technological institution home to over 100 master’s, doctoral, and advanced certificate programs. R.I.T. also offers online education, including graduate programs.

About the GRE: Some programs at R.I.T. require GRE scores, but many don’t. For example, the Film and Animation MFA program evaluates students based on materials such as a portfolio of work and a two-to-three-minute self-portrait video. And, test scores are completely optional for the Master of Science in Applied Statistics program. Check your program of interest for more specifics!

What Is a Good GRE Score?

The good news is, “good” may vary widely from school to school. The GRE score that gets you rejected from one grad school or program may lead to an acceptance from another, meaning the quality of your score could be in the eye of the beholder. You’ll need to find out the minimum GRE score for admission to the school and program you are considering, so you can compare your personal results against that lower limit.

That said, the average Verbal and Quantitative scores for the GRE are both roughly 150-152, while the average Analytical Writing score is about 3.5. And, pay attention to your percentile for each section of the test, which tells you the percentage of examinees who received a lower score than you. For example, if your Verbal Reasoning score was in the 60th percentile, that means you got a better score than 60% of test-takers.

You may also find it useful to check mean scores based on your graduate major. Educational Testing Services (ETS), the company that develops, administers, and scores the GRE, provides data on scores by subject area. Humanities and Arts graduate students, for example, had a higher mean score (156) on Verbal Reasoning. And, relatively unsurprisingly, Engineering students had a higher mean score (159) in Quantitative Reasoning.

How Important Is the GRE?

Again, that depends on the school and the program you’re interested in. Some graduate schools do not require GRE scores at all, whereas for others, a low score can be a deal-breaker.  However, don't despair, there do exist Graduate Schools That Accept Low GRE Scores. In addition to examining the range of scores accepted by the grad schools and programs you are interested in, try chatting with a program representative about what they are looking for beyond test scores. You may learn that other aspects of your application – like your past education, your writing sample, or your letters of recommendation – matter more than the GRE.

I Got a Low GRE Score. Now What? Can I Find Graduate Schools That Accept Low GRE Scores?

Yes, getting a low GRE score can be disappointing. But it doesn’t necessarily mean your plans to attend graduate school are over. Here’s how you might be able to bounce back:

1. Retake the Test. According to ETS, you can take the GRE once every 21 days, up to five times within a continuous rolling 12-month period. So, one potential option is to study harder and try again.

2. Focus on Other Areas of Your Application. If your test falls on the low end of what your prospective graduate school is willing to accept, you might still be able to wow admissions with other components of your application, like your Statement of Purpose or your interview.

3. Find Graduate Schools with No GRE Requirement. Yes, they’re out there: grad schools that don’t need your GRE scores. Remember that GRE requirements may vary by program, though. Just because the Computer Science program at a particular university waives GRE scores doesn’t mean the Engineering program has the same policy. And applying to low GRE universities doesn’t mean other admissions requirements won’t be stringent.

In the table below are a few ideas from partner universities to get you started.

List of Grad Schools that Accept LOW GRE Scores

Grad Schools That Accepts Low GREGRE Requirements
1. Georgia State UniversityNo GRE Required for 22 Master's Degree Programs
2. Loyola University Chicago310 Combined Score on Revised GRE (but other factors considered)
3. Colorado Technical UniversityNo GRE or other admissions tests required
4. Walden UniversityVary by program - many do not require GRE or do require GRE but no minimum needed
5. The University of ScrantonMost programs do not require GRE
6. California Southern UniversityNo programs require GRE
7. Johns Hopkins UniversityMA in Teaching requires 297 score, many ther programs do not list a minimum score
8. Capella UniversityGRE Not Required
9. Northcentral UniversityGRE Not Required
10. Rochester Institute of TechnologyVaries - GRE Optional for many programs

Find Universities That May Accept Low GRE Scores

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