Are the top US Universities waiving off the GRE next year?

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Are the top US Universities waiving off the GRE next year?

Are the top US Universities waiving off the GRE next year?

International students are having doubts about the validity of GRE exams in the US recently. Many US universities are considering waiving off the Graduate Record Examination or GRE for assessing students for admission to graduate schools in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

James Guillochon, a well-known astrophysicist in the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has stated that a dozen departments ignore the GRE exams these days. Some universities have waived off this exam temporarily, while few others have decided to ignore the exam permanently. The reasons cited by the Universities are mainly because of COVID and equity. Here you will find the current status of GRE to help you plan accordingly.

Why is the GRE Exam getting waived off by Universities across the USA?

Along with the COVID pandemic, coinciding with the Black Lives Matter and the Trump Government’s legal immigration, there is a question mark on the fate of GRE exams. It is a matter of shock that Physics, which has always been a part of the STEM fields, now has the least diversity of students. The stream had only 20% representation and 5% representation of underrepresented minorities prior to PhDs in 2019.

It is found that exams have not attracted applicants and resulted in a lack of a diversified pool. In some countries like India, the Graduate Record Examinations also happens to be conducted just once. This resulted in aspirants like Sanjana Sekhar to drop her Ph.D. dreams at John Hopkins University this year.

It is also noted that the combined fees of GRE and the PGRE are similar to the stipends paid to a Ph.D. student in India, which makes students not take the exam. Universities are now looking towards other alternatives to assess the student’s skills for Graduate Admissions. The initiative to scrap the exam will now be implemented from the academic session next year.

Why is the University of California waiving off GRE?

According to the media relations department of California University, GRE seems to penalize students hailing from less advantaged backgrounds. The University officials opine that there is minimal correlation between the success of Graduate students and the scores of this exam.


The University of California also stated that it is an expensive exam where students need to spend at least 200 USD. Also, they must have a stable connection along with a webcam. Students with an excellent financial background may enjoy the advantage of taking the GRE multiple times.

Caltech scarps GRE

With the social distancing rules implemented, the opportunities to take the exam is reduced to a large extent. Hence, the academic leaders of Caltech decided to discontinue the exam for admission to various graduate programs.

According to the exam authorities, all of the 31 graduate Caltech programs will not use the GRE scores to take admissions for the academic year 2021-2022. Out of these 31 programs, twenty-nine of them will not consider this exam score while the remaining courses have made the exam optional.

More Universities waiving off GRE

Similarly, the University of Michigan (School for Environment and Sustainability) has waived off GRE’s requirement for admissions to graduate programs. The University took to Twitter to announce their decision. According to the authorities, it is done to eliminate any financial barriers and access issues that may not encourage deserving applicants.

Florida State University has also scrapped the requirement for GRE from most of the master’s and specialist programs in the next academic year.

Programs that don’t require GRE any more

Universities are waiving off the Graduate Record Examinations for admission to the below-mentioned programs:

UniversitiesPrograms
Albert Einstein College of MedicineBiomedical Sciences
Auburn UniversityBiological Sciences
Baylor College of MedicineGraduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Boston UniversityMolecular Biology, Cell Biology, & Biochemistry
Boston UniversityProgram in Biomedical Science
Brown UniversityComputational Biology
Brown UniversityBiomedical Engineering

What the GRE Director opines?

The Director of Graduate Record Examinations, Mr. David Payne, has said that the exam should be maintained (especially during the outbreak) to enable the universities to deal with a diversified pool of quality and skillful candidates.

The exam authorities have stated in their guidelines that they have not specified any cutoffs for the GRE score to shortlist candidates. But most universities implement cutoffs for this exam to admit students.

Temporarily waiving of the GRE Exam

While some universities are completely scrapping the GRE exam, others are waiving it off only temporarily in the wake of the COVID pandemic. The media relations department of Georgia Tech said that – “A small number of graduate programs have requested to temporarily waive the GRE requirement for the next academic year in light of the challenges students face from the Covid-19 pandemic.” The authorities further stated that the waiver would be effective for the next year and there is no waive off throughout all the courses offered by the college.

Similarly, the authorities at the University of Florida School of Geosciences told that they have decided to scrap the exam for only fall 2021 admissions because of the impact of Coronavirus on the lives of meritorious students. They further stated that the decision to make this waive off permanent would be taken later in the current year.

GRE, without any doubt, is an international exam which is taken by students all over the world. But various sources in the USA reveals that the exam has lost its relevance to a certain extent recently. The COVID-19 pandemic has also made matters worse. So, we request aspirants planning to study in the USA to check properly whether their college of choice is accepting the GRE scores before planning for this exam.

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