I am looking at applying to a couple of schools abroad (for math grad school), and outside of the fact that they are fairly well known, I have little idea about how competitive they are to get into. Internet searches haven't really helped me out, so I am wondering if it is it acceptable to email a school about what the school's expected/average GRE general and subject tests scores are for a given Ph.D. or Master's program are and how the school feels about a student coming from my background.

2 Answers 2


It may not feel like it when you're in the midst of applying to a school and hoping to be admitted that you are also their customer and they are merely one of any number of schools you could choose.

Of course it is fair game for you to ask pointed questions about why you should go there including questions like, what are your typical incoming GRE scores and GPAs, what's your accept/show ratio, what's your typical class size, how does the student population break down by gender or as full-time versus part-time, can I visit and meet your faculty, are you primarily research/teaching. If the first person you ask can't answer your question, ask if there's someone else who might.

You are allowed to ask anything you think would help you make an informed decision about whether that school is the right place for you. I'm not promising you'll get answers to everything (they may not know) much less, that you'll like the answers you get. But you're entitled to be an informed consumer and to conduct some due diligence on any school where you're about to spend thousands of dollars and years of your life.

But bear in mind, since you may end up talking to some of them, you may get remembered by the admissions committee when they vote and that could be good or bad. If the impression you left was you're selective and smart, they'll like you. If the impression you left was something different, then maybe not so much.


American grad schools generally run admissions through departments rather than the central administration. Ask the graduate student advisor (usually listed in the faculty web site) -- or your cognizant POI. They may not have a data about averages, though, as GREs tend to be deprecated except as a first-round screening mechanism.

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