What’s up with the GRE?

The GRE (GMAT) is probably one of the most annoying parts about applying to grad school. We know that, and we are sorry about making you go through with it, but is it an important part of your application. Definitely not the most important one, but it is another way for us to better evaluate your quantitative and verbal proficiencies. So as with most things in life, work hard and try and do the best you can, but rest assured that you will not be judged solely on it.

We evaluate all candidates based on the following criteria: the personal statement, resume/curriculum vitae (work experience), transcripts of undergraduate, post graduate and/or graduate studies, letters of recommendation, and, lastly, the GRE (or GMAT).

Some of the most common questions regarding the GRE (GMAT) that we receive…

What is SIPA’s cut-off for the GRE?

The Admissions Committee seeks to admit applicants with a combination of the proven academic ability to master SIPA’s rigorous curriculum and two to three years of relevant professional-level work experience. Due to the diversity of our applicant pool, we do not set “cut-offs” for GPAs or GRE scores. Each applicant’s personal, professional, and academic history is thoroughly reviewed to determine if SIPA is the right fit for the applicant.

What is the average GRE score of incoming students?

For the same reason described above, we currently do not keep average scores for successful applicants.

I will be taking the exam before the deadline but I’m afraid your office will not receive the official scores from ETS before the deadline.

To be considered for admission to SIPA we do not require that official test score reports be on file; this includes the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, and IELTS. We only require official test scores reports if an admitted applicant chooses to enroll. This means that you can take the test any time prior to the deadline (January 5th) and self-report your scores.  At the end of the GRE, you will have the option to view your Verbal and Quantitative scores. Please make note of them to self-report them in your application. You just need to insert these numbers in the spaces provided in the application.  Your application is not complete without your GRE scores so please be sure to provide them by the application deadline.   If you self report your verbal and quantitative scores but do not have your writing scores, it is fine that ETS sends us your Writing score at a later date.

What happens if I take the exam after the deadline?

If you plan to take the GRE or GMAT after you submit your application, you may self-report these scores to us via email.   In the email, please indicate your full name, program you are applying to and the score results.  Please be aware that any score submitted after the application deadline will be considered at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.  An application is not considered complete if the GRE or GMAT score section has been left blank, so please update us as soon as your scores are available, at which point your application will be processed.

Can I waive the GRE?

GRE (GMAT) waivers are typically only considered in extreme circumstances such as military service or travel restrictions. If your situation prohibits you from getting to a test center and you have significant previous academic and/or professional quantitative experience, you may submit a GRE/GMAT request waiver.  Just send us an email (sipa_admission@columbia.edu) and we’ll send you a waiver request form to complete.  But be aware that waivers are rarely approved and all actions should be taken to sit for an exam prior to the application deadline.