Look Beyond Numbers
in Gauging Your Admissions Chances
Senior admissions consultant Tom Steffen cautions applicants to be careful when using
graduate program directories to assess their chances of
gaining admission to various graduate schools.
The problem with most of these guides
and directories, Tom says, is that they rely too
much on numerical data to describe graduate programs.
That can give applicants the misleading impression that
they're all but guaranteed admission to a particular
school if their undergrad GPAs, GRE scores, etc. match
those of previous admits.
"I would caution you to rely too much on
statistics when making decisions regarding graduate
study," Tom says. "Keep in mind that averages are
just that – averages. Many students admitted to a
program have numbers falling above or below that
"Also keep in mind that your GPA and
test scores are just part of the application," says
Tom. Although these are important data, chances are
slim that any school will make an admissions decision
based on them alone.
"Your letters of recommendation and your
essays are the true way to differentiate yourself from
the rest of the applicant pool," says Tom. "That's
to your advantage, since these are the elements of your
application over which you have the most control."
– Senior Consultant Tom Steffen
gained extensive graduate admissions experience during
his tenure as Director of Graduate Admissions at Duke
What Picture of You Will Admissions
Committees Get from Your Application? That question
can be harder to answer than you might think – and a
wrong answer might make the difference between getting
into your target schools and being dinged. Our
consultants can help you avoid making that mistake. Call
us at 1.800.809.0800 (+1 703.242.5885 outside the US and
us to learn more about our graduate school admissions