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Planning for the Admissions Process

Thoughtful engagement and reflection about graduate admissions practices is essential to meeting the goals of your program and ultimately supporting your institution's mission. To facilitate that, the GRE® Program provides information and resources to faculty, administrators and others involved in graduate admissions decision making and policy setting as you work toward evaluation and enrichment of your programs' practices. We welcome you to contact us at gretests@ets.org to share your feedback, ideas and suggestions for additional ways we can support your efforts.

Materials to Support Holistic Admissions Practices

As part of an effort to learn more about graduate admissions practices and holistic file review, ETS and the GRE Program, with the support of the GRE Board, interviewed faculty and staff involved in admissions at 58 programs across the United States. Soon after, ETS introduced HolisticAdmissions.org, where programs can find resources to help them strengthen their graduate programs, including:

Predicting Success in Graduate-level Programs

The GRE® General Test measures skills that graduate and professional schools, including business and law, have identified as necessary for academic success, including verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing. GRE test scores are only one measure and should be considered in the context of an applicant's entire application package.

The GRE General Test cannot measure everything that an admissions committee would like to know about that applicant. For example, the test cannot predict the likelihood of desired outcomes such as how well prospective students will perform in specific courses, how much or how often they will publish research, whether they will complete the program and graduate, or how long it will take them to do so. Logically, it makes sense that a test designed to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills would not be the best indicator of how long it will take a student to graduate or how often that prospective student will publish new research.

A better part of the application to find indicators of those types of outcomes might be in personal statements and letters of recommendation, which give applicants a platform for showing attributes like creativity, conscientiousness and perseverance. Since attributes such as these may be just as important to a student's likelihood of success as the skills measured by the GRE tests, it is important that programs not over-rely on GRE scores, and never use GRE scores as the sole criteria for minimum or cut scores, an effort to quickly reduce the number of applications that a faculty committee needs to review. Rather, faculty reviewers might consider adopting practices that put GRE scores into the appropriate context in relation to the other elements that applicants submit as part of their application package.

For Further Information

If you would like more information about using and interpreting scores, or to discuss training for your graduate admissions committee, contact us:

Phone:
1-609-683-2002
Email:
gretests@ets.org