I'm a prospective graduate student in political science with a strong GPA and research interest in climate change and environmental conflict. My challenge is that I have been finding it difficult to get into a PhD programme. I have been applying since 2018. This year I hoped I would get into my desired choice but I was rejected due to my low GRE score. I don't want to take the exam again but political science departments seem to strongly value high GRE scores. What can I do to improve my chances of acceptance?

  • 8
    I'm not sure what you want us to tell you. If the schools you want require a good GRE score, you have to deliver that or lower your sights.
    – Bob Brown
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 2:28
  • 4
    Concurrent here doesn't sound the right word to me: do you mean recurrent? Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 5:30
  • Why don't you want to take the GRE again, especially since you know that that's the obstruction to a competitive application? Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 18:42
  • Fear of failing and cost is why am not willing or should i say confident of taking it again.
    – Abolly
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 6:43

1 Answer 1


I know that you want us to say "It will all be ok", but it may just be true that either (i) you have to take the GRE test again and get a better score, or (ii) change your approach to applying. The fact is that apparently things haven't worked out with your current approach, and so to keep trying isn't likely going to yield different results.

So take the test again, with more studying, and get a better grade. And/or, broaden your scope. Of course everyone wants to get into their favorite graduate program, but not everyone can. So apply to other programs at other universities and see how that goes. You don't have to go to Harvard to get a good education, nor do you have to go to Harvard to have a productive career and a job you're happy in. There are plenty of places that will give you a shot at all of these, and that are less selective.

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