This post has been updated to reflect the latest information from 2016.
Been California dreamin’? Hoping to make it into that shining pearl on the great West Coast known as Stanford University? Well, I’m guessing you know that you’ve got your work cut out for you. Getting into Stanford, no matter what the program is you’re looking at is no walk in the park. You’re going to need the right experience, the right essays, the right recs, and of course, a pretty strong GRE score. But what GRE score do you need to get into Stanford?
At Stanford, average GRE scores won’t cut it
If you’re aiming for an elite university like Stanford or Harvard, you can bet an average GRE score isn’t going to cut it. That means a 151 in Math and a 151 in Verbal isn’t going to do very much to help your application. For example, according US News & World Report, here’s a chart of the average admit scores we know for certain:
|Program||Average Verbal||Average Quantitative|
|Engineering - Masters||159||167|
|Engineering - PhD||161||167|
|Education - Masters||160||157|
|Education - PhD||164||162|
Estimating Stanford GRE scores in other disciplines
Unfortunately, like most of the top universities, they never explicitly state the GRE scores they’re looking for with their applicants. Luckily for you, I’ve come up with up with a handy way to estimate the average GRE scores for Stanford’s top ranked programs, beyond engineering and education.
|Program||US News Rank||Estimated Verbal Range||Estimated Quantitative Range|
For information on how I derived these numbers see Methodology below. 🙂
Dealing with the requisite high scores
So, you’re here because either you’re freaking out that your scores aren’t good enough or you’re freaking out that you’ll need some astronomical score (okay, maybe you’re just curious). I know, I know. Tough cookies. But hopefully the above chart helps offer you some guidance on what you should be aiming for!
Just keep in mind, folks, that even a 170 in math isn’t a free ticket to the School of Engineering. It’s all just a piece of the great and confounding admissions puzzle. Get into the mind of the admissions council. They want to see that you really have the brainpower to get deal with the tough level of coursework and research at Stanford. Will an average score cut it? Definitely not. But will a 159 in Verbal keep you out of the Graduate School of Education in spite of being below average? Probably not.
Resources to get the GRE scores you’ll need
Check out the following links for more help preparing for the GRE:
Using the limited score data in the US News & World Report’s release on graduate schools (for engineering and education), I created a block scale that assumes a standard difference between the ETS’s average of intended applicants of a specific major and the rank block (ie Ranks 1-10, 11-50, 51-100). Next I added the expected difference to the average score of the intended major and spread 2 points on either side of that to create a nice range. It would look like this:
|Program||Rank||Rank block||Intended Score||Exp Difference||Range|
Of course, you could argue that this isn’t perfect, and I’d have to agree. This is just intended to give you a general idea of what you should be aiming for. 🙂
Notes about “What are my chances?” comments
While I’d love to give everyone some kind of hard and fast number for your chances (it’s a nerve wracking, opaque experience, I know), I unfortunately can’t. This is because there are numerous factors involved in the admissions decisions and most of those factors aren’t the GRE. The best I can do is tell you below/at/above the score range, but that information you can see for yourself above. My universal recommendation is that you check where you stand compared to the tables above. Then have a look at the forums to see student experiences. Of course if you have questions about methodology or how to achieve certain scores, or pretty much anything outside of “what are my chances?” or “where should I apply?”, then I’ll be happy to answer them, otherwise, I unfortunately won’t be. 🙂