Estimate Your Admission Chances Based on your GRE Score (4 Examples)

I’m responding to a reader’s question about Statement of Purpose (SOP) and its importance in getting admitted to graduate schools in the U.S.

Bindhu – I read your Happy Schools blog and it’s very great work and thank you for helping us. I have some doubts regarding the Statement of Purpose, whether the graduate school admission committee will give equal importance to Statement of Purpose and the scores from GRE or TOEFL or academic scores or it’s just part of everything.

That’s a good question and I’m sure many students will have the same question in mind.

I have discussed about the Graduate School application process in detail in here: after sending graduate school application to university.

Let’s now look into the details involved in an application review under an admission committee.

If your graduate school application has reached the department level, this implies that you have satisfied some of the minimum requirements set by that graduate school. However, the entire process is not yet over.

Case 1:

  • Minimum GRE for admission: 300
  • Applicant’s score: 290
  • Likely admission chances:  Low.

Case 2:

  • Minimum GRE for admission: 300
  • Applicant’s score: 298
  • Likely admission chances:  Medium.

Now, the SOP, recommendation letters, resume, and academic percentage will come into the picture. Suppose you have some 10 backlogs, then your admission chances are very slim (<10%).

Suppose you have a very good recommendation letter and a very good academic percentage (distinction, university rank, class topper, etc.), then you might get conditional admission.

Just to make sure, when you are on the bubble, tips and strategies from the post, double you admission chances with low GRE, will be very useful.

Case 3:

  • Minimum GRE for admission: 300
  • Applicant’s score: 305
  • Likely admission chances:  High.

Unless your academic performance is very poor, you shouldn’t have any problems in getting admission. There are situations when one’s admission is influenced by the profile of the other applicants vying for admission during the same semester.

Case 4:

  • Minimum GRE for admission: 300
  • Applicant’s score: 315
  • Likely admission chances:  Very High.

If the GRE, academic percentage, and recommendation letter are good and more than the expected minimum requirements, then there is very good chance to get admitted with Tuition Waiver or Scholarship.

To really increase your chances of getting scholarship, the simple tips discussed in the post, secret of getting admission with scholarship, will come in handy.

The above four cases must have given you an overall idea on how each and every document will be helpful to get admission. Overall, it is a balanced mix of all the requirements that contributes to the decision made by the graduate school admission committee.

Cases 1-4:

If your TOEFL score is below the minimum requirement set by the graduate school, then you might get conditional admission, and you will be asked to take the Test of Spoken English either offered by ETS or by the graduate schools itself.

If I have questions about the other different possible scenarios (not discussed here), please let me know. I will be more than happy to discuss them with you.


  1. tushar on April 1, 2018 at 4:00 AM

    tushar B
    10th std 91%
    12th std 59 %
    Aggregate 56% (9 backlogs)
    ielts 8.0
    gre 315
    could please tell me which all universities i can apply for .
    can i apply for trinity collage dublin for mme ,asu ,usc ?

  2. mansha on November 6, 2016 at 1:54 AM

    i have a gre score of 305 quant:160 and verbal:145 and no work experience , 2 projects and 75.4% aggregate. which universities would be safe to apply for for ms in cs for 2017 fall

  3. Neha on September 29, 2016 at 5:27 AM


    I have scored a total of 305 in GRE (137 in verbal and 168 in Quant).

    I want to go for MS in chemical.

    Request you to suggest some colleges at this score.

  4. charan on February 12, 2016 at 3:06 AM


    I got low gre score(289)…..But in Ielts i scored some descent score(7.0)…

    I got good LOR’s and Descent SOP….

    Wants to pursue masters in CS….

    So can i get some good universities or my Gre score will cause me any trouble…

    Thanks in advance….

  5. Ekta on January 5, 2016 at 12:47 AM


    I really liked your blog. I have recently appeared for GRE on Dec 31, 2015 & secured less than 280. I wanted to go for MS Finance for Fall 2016. I have 4 years of work exp in Financial company. I secured 77% aggre in my graduation. I have MCom (Mumbai university) & PGDFM (Welingkars institute of Management).

    How are my chances of getting the admission in top 50 US universities for MSFinance.

    Can you suggest some moderate & safe US universities for MSFin

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 5, 2016 at 8:19 AM

      280 is not a score with which you can come to USA. DO you know what these students are getting deported? They are going to universities that accept such scores. Retake GRE. Aim for 300+

  6. Wahab on December 9, 2015 at 6:38 PM

    Hi Raghu,
    I have been a silent reader of your blog for about 2 years now. Your posts have helped me and a lot of people I have referred to your website.
    I am myself planning on applying for Masters now. Using the formula that you have given above almost all of the schools come under the safe category for me which of course is not possible. My profile is
    GRE: 322 (Q:165, V:155, AWA: 4.0)
    Undergrad GPA: 3.46/4.0
    TOEFL :110/120
    Most of the schools have their minimum GRE at 155-160. Does this mean that I should apply to the top schools and have a fair chance of getting in?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on December 10, 2015 at 8:22 AM

      Depends on other factors like – Other applicants, your SOP, LOR. Apply for some safe schools as well.

      You can even apply for more than 10 schools. But, schools like Gtech, UWisconsin, T&M College Station, or Vtech would be good Target Schools.

  7. P.D. on September 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    Dear HSB, 

    I am applying to schools in Canada and most schools in Canada do not require GRE. In that case, could you please let me know how my application would be reviewed, and how much importance would be given to my SOP and Resume and acads?

  8. Pratik on October 14, 2010 at 10:58 PM

    Hey it's a great great article. Can you help me in finding out minimum score requirements for each university?

  9. chandan on May 20, 2010 at 3:32 AM

    i got 820 score in gre..should i retake the test…

    • srinivas gumdelli on May 20, 2010 at 5:32 AM

      please do look at this article in HSB and decide it for your self
      the article states the average GRE scores that was calculated based on various applications so in case you want to get into a good university then retake the test and try scoring atleast 1150+

  10. nikky on September 22, 2009 at 3:53 AM

    Pl suggest best Univ. in US for MS. GRE Score 1080. Aggr. 65% upto 3 yr (no back logs) study B.Tech Comp Science

  11. balu on September 8, 2009 at 6:52 AM

    hi, i want to do ms in biomedical engineering

    can you suggest good universites i have gre score of 1050



    final year percentage 76

    i was thinking of san jose state university, will i get there with this score?

    waiting with anticipation

    thanks in advance



  12. Ratul on August 25, 2009 at 8:25 AM


    i have given gre and have got 1280.My quants :760 and verbal =520.

    i have done my Be comp engineering from mumbai university with overall aggr 59.8%.However,my final year aggr is 62% but i had a backlog in my 7thsem which i cleared along with my 8thsem.

    Also i have 1 year work ex till date.

    What are my chances of getting admission for fall 2010 in Arlington,texas;Denton,north texas;San Francisco State university and San Jose state university for MS in CS?

  13. Praveena on December 4, 2008 at 8:12 PM

    Hello sir,

    I have my GRE scores as 640(Q) and 440(V) at first attempt and 700(Q) and 360(V) in second attempt with Analytical score as 4. Also my TOEFL score is 96 and my academic score is 75 and above.



    I have won awards for my project and paper presentations at various national level symposiums including Anna Univ, Gujarat Univ etc..

    Pl let me know wat r the list of safe universitites for me to apply thro ma e-mail

    Thank you

  14. kshitij on October 16, 2008 at 10:33 PM

    my GRE score is 1080…do i have a good chance of getting in to a fair univ in electrical engineering majors

  15. carla on June 11, 2008 at 7:03 PM

    How about:

    Minimum GRE for admission : Not required

    Applicant’s score : N/A

    TOEFL iBT: 110

    Undergrad GPA: 3.1/4 – non US school

    MBA GPA: 3.8/4 (did not finish) – non US school

    Admission chances : ???

    Will wait for your reply. Thanks raghu!

  16. jyothsna on October 5, 2007 at 5:33 AM

    thanks for the infou said 1250 can get a good college(is uppose top 50)my score is 1250 my Quant score is 640,so everyopne says i don thav a chance of getting into top 50can u throw some light on thisengg 6.8 CGPA with no backlogs

  17. Hari on September 25, 2007 at 12:19 PM

    another superb post…thanx

  18. naziarahman on September 25, 2007 at 4:07 AM

    Thanks for helping out…. You write very well about what us students who’d want to apply to universitis in the US would want to know of…. Kepp up the good work. Thanks again!!!

  19. bindu on September 24, 2007 at 11:40 PM

    thank u very much.

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