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I'm currently applying to Grad school- mechanical engineering-and have a full academic scholarship to continue my education from the government.

Does this make it easier for me to gain acceptance to top schools like Stanford and Carnegie for masters? I'm doing the GRE in 3 weeks, but will I still need a 165+ in the math section to be admitted just like everyone else? My GPA isn't stellar either. I guess the only stellar thing about my application is that I already secured funding.

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Having your own funding may help, e.g. if you are a good match for a faculty member who has an interest in supervising a PhD student, but does not have enough funding to support one at the moment. But no department wants to waste time and resources (e.g. supervision resources, for example) on a student that is not capable of meeting standards in the department. And given that a department's PhD students represent its "brand," no department wants to admit a student whose work will reflect negatively on the department.

So yes, even if you have your own funding, you still need to show the department you're applying to that you're capable of meeting their standards.

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Generally speaking, in the calibre of institutions you're identifying, the admissions process does not include financial considerations in its decision. However, It certainly doesn't hurt to have a full scholarship, and it would be great to mention if the scholarship was a merit-based prize.

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  • Do you have any evidence (e.g. links) to support this assertion for graduate admissions, for the institutions the OP mentioned? Most official need-blind admission policies only apply to undergraduate students. (And even institutions that are need-blind for undergraduate admissions are usually need-aware for international students, with very few exceptions.) – ff524 Nov 2 '15 at 0:49
  • I was dining with a friend who just completed a PhD from Carnegie, she said that money had zero to do with her acceptance. By all means, mention that you have the scholarship, there's no way it can HURT your chances. – dwoz Nov 2 '15 at 0:54
  • OTOH word on the street is that winning a fellowship like the NSF GRFP can get you off a waiting list at some schools. So I guess YMMV – ff524 Nov 2 '15 at 1:00
  • And as I said in my answer: a merit-based scholarship award is a GREAT mention. – dwoz Nov 2 '15 at 1:02

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