I am a student with both Master's and Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology with a good aggregate. But, i have a low GRE score of 295. My TOEFL score is 107 along with a research project going on.

What do you think are my chances of getting in in a PhD program for Biological sciences?

I have had a good academic as well as extracurricular career.

Apart from GRE what factors should i be concerned about which might affect my admission?

  • 1
    Are you in the USA and you are interested in doing a PHD in USA? Are you MSc and BSC degrees also from USA? – Alexandros Jan 21 '15 at 11:20
  • Do you have any research achievements (e.g. publications)? – Bitwise Jan 21 '15 at 13:38

At least in the US, graduate admissions committees tend to look at many factors. The three "big" areas tend to be your recommendation letters, personal statement, and standardized scores. They probably will look at your CV as well. You might be able to make up for a deficit in one area with strengths in other areas. For example, admissions committees might favor an applicant with at least one published paper prior to his/her application, even if he/she does not have the best GPA or GRE scores out of the entire applicant pool. I am less familiar with admissions outside of the US.Unfortunately, there isn't any one magic formula to guarantee admission to any program.

That being said, I think you are correct in wondering how your GRE score will impact your chances of admission. Assuming that you took the most updated form of the GRE (where the range is 130-170 instead of 200-800 for each section), your score is low since you scored 35 points above the absolute minimum score. Most competitive graduate programs claim that successful applicants have GRE scores in at least the 50th percentile. As such, your low GRE score would likely be a major red flag for these programs, unless you indeed scored above the median. However, other programs tend to overlook GRE scores entirely (they will say you don't need to submit them) or weight them fairly low.

Is there a way that you can postpone your applications and retake the GRE? If not, you need to put together the best application possible, which means putting extra effort and attention into the other parts of your application, like your personal statement. You might also consider applying to programs that explicitly do not require standardized scores or weigh them low, which means that if the GRE is the only weak point of your application, you're likely fine. A third option might be to talk to people at your university to see if you can turn your Master's degree into a PhD. Even if it's not in the same department (you seem to be going from Biotechnology to Biological Sciences), sometimes internal candidates can gain a slight edge over external candidates, particularly if they are doing good work and can carry their momentum over from the Master's degree to the PhD.

Again, there is no way of any of us knowing what you can do to guarantee admission, but in your situation, I would suggest that you make the things still within your control the best they can be.

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