GRE Newsletter

Holistic Admissions Strategies for a Stronger Program


Visit this new destination for resources to support holistic admissions practices, based on the ETS and GRE® Program research effort that included interviews with faculty and staff involved in admissions at 58 programs across the United States.

Visit the New Site

Attending NAGAP? Stop by the ETS exhibit to learn more and exchange ideas with us. Also, join Research Director Rochelle Michel for an engaging Special Interest Forum "Let's Talk! Facilitating Conversations about Connecting Graduate Admissions Processes with Goals" on Thursday, April 12, 2:45–3:45pm.

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A Look at 2016–17 GRE® Test Takers

Be sure to download the new edition of A Snapshot of the Individuals Who Took the GRE® General Test. The annual publication is fresh with new data about test takers from the 2016–17 testing year and now includes five years of test-taker volume trends. The report offers GRE score users the most comprehensive GRE data released to date to help with recruitment and admission plans.

View Snapshot Report

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Recruitment Q&A with Andrew Sleeth – GRE® Search Service Power User

As Graduate Admissions Manager for North Carolina State University's Department of Computer Science, Andrew Sleeth finds that experimenting with different strategies in his use of the GRE® Search Service (GRESS) has always brought him solid results. Sleeth and his department first began using the Search Service back in September 2011 for the Fall 2012 admission cycle, and he's been a big believer ever since. Here's what he has to say about his experience with the GRE Search Service.

Q: How large is the program you're recruiting for?

A: The computer science graduate program is NC State's single largest graduate program. We have around 200 doctoral and 450 master's students, with about another 45 to 50 in the department's only specialty master's program, Computer Networking. Supplying those enrollment numbers is an annual application intake of about 2,300.

Q: How does the GRE Search Service help you in your recruitment efforts?

A: The Search Service forms the backbone of our recruiting outreach. By allowing the Computer Science department to target specific individuals, it circumvents the pitfalls common to display ads or recruiting fairs, which, frankly, are little better than scattergun approaches to reaching people of interest. Graduate fairs, especially, are a ridiculously random recruiting method — what computer scientists would call "stochastic"— and have little value compared to GRESS.

Q: Is there a certain feature or search criteria that you prize above others?

A: That's an easy one! There are two [features I prize above others]: First, it's advanced outreach. It gives me the opportunity to reach out and engage prospects as soon as they register for the GRE test. As an admissions manager, my ideal vision is to get inside the head of rising college seniors majoring in computer science, or to be a fly on the wall at dinnertime when an IT professional is talking about going back to school to get an advanced degree. In a very real sense, the GRE Search Service is the realization of that level of insight into what viable prospects around the globe are thinking about and planning for in the near future.

The second is a relatively recent enhancement: de-duping. GRESS now gives me a convenient mechanism to repeatedly search the database throughout the admission season and check for newly added GRE registrants. And by selecting the de-duping feature with each order, I pay only for the newly added prospects. You wouldn't believe how much time and money that saves us now. You can bet my program director appreciates that!

Q: What is your best tip for getting the most out of the service?

A: Experiment. The fantastic thing about the GRE Search Service is that the user interface lets you test all kinds of search configurations without forcing you to commit to an order, unless you're satisfied with the number and quality of contacts you're getting. And once you do order, it's not as if you're locked in to a costly prospect profile that you can't control and tweak. I couldn't tell you the number of times I've changed direction and strategy using GRESS in my recruiting. And the cost per order is always so modest, I never regret what I've spent trying new approaches.

Q: What are your admission goals, and does the GRE Search Service help when it comes to meeting those goals and acting as a cost-effective recruitment tool?

A: My department's faculty are deeply involved in research, which means they're necessarily interested in attracting doctoral students to join in that quest for knowledge. Inquisitive, skilled students are able to help them answer research questions, while the students themselves receive guidance from those faculty in the pursuit of their own related investigations. Every one of these Ph.D. students — save for the occasional one who doesn't ask for it — receives the promise of four years of financial support. This represents a considerable investment by the department. When you think of it like that, then a few hundred dollars spent securing even just one such student (and our success rate is actually much better) renders the service's cost virtually negligible by comparison.

Q: How does student recruitment differ for graduate admissions?

A: Graduate admissions is a wholly different beast from undergraduate; it's almost entirely program specific — it's the individual program's faculty and research that draws interest, as opposed to broad, institutional reputation. The latter certainly plays a part, but it's not how you ultimately attract the right graduate student talent. Which is yet another reason I like the GRE Search Service, namely, its incredibly granular search parameters that allow one to focus rather precisely on what a program is seeking in education, professional background … all kinds of factors.

Q: Do you use data segmentation in your recruitment strategy?

A: Yes, absolutely. I currently use six distinctly different searches from which I order, and I'm always adjusting the criteria from season to season.

Q: What would you tell a colleague is the reason they should use the GRE Search Service?

A: At the risk of sounding smug, I'd probably ask them what they could possibly be doing that's more effective than GRESS for locating actual, viable, self-identified prospective applicants for their graduate program.

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New Comparison Tool for Law Schools

To assist law schools that now welcome GRE® scores for admission, ETS has introduced a comparison tool to conveniently compare GRE score results to a LSAT® score. The comparison tool provides users with the ability to produce a comparable LSAT score based on GRE Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores.

View Comparison Tool

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Did You Know?

New How-to Videos for GRE® Test Registration

Advisors: The GRE® Program has released two new "how-to" videos to help guide future GRE test takers who are ready to set up an ETS Account and register for a GRE test. The videos were recently added to the official GRE Advisor Kit, a collection of resources designed to support the information needs of those who advise prospective graduate and professional school students about GRE tests and services.

View Advisor Kit

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