No GRE Required: New Wave of Master’s Programs
Back in the day, the prerequisite for grad school was to take the Graduate Record Exam, commonly known as the GRE. While this exam and similar exams (like the MAT) help college admissions boards better understand an individual student’s chances of academic success, for prospective students, they were often a deterrent to furthering their education given the time and money required on test preparation, as well as to sit for the exam.
Fortunately, the tide is changing. Many, if not most, accredited online master’s programs no longer include this exam as part of their admittance requirements. For students, the removal of an admissions test can make getting their degrees easier. Let’s consider some of the advantages and what you might look at when applying for these programs:
- No GRE Means Getting Into a Program Faster: Let’s say you decide that you want to return to school to get your master’s degree. With a GRE requirement, you’ll need to delay your exam by several months as you study, complete mock tests, and perhaps take a course or two intended to teach you how to take the exam. Keep in mind, the GRE is a three to four-hour exam with a $160 fee to sit, so you want to be as prepared as possible. Without the GRE, you can apply and begin a program when the next semester is scheduled to start.
- No Worries About Expired Test Results: Another issue with GREs is the test results are only good for five years. Therefore, if you took the test in your senior year of college, but it’s 10 years past, you can’t go back and apply those results again. Instead, your admission would be based on your real-world knowledge as well as your undergraduate degree, some of which might even be applied toward your credits, depending on the program.
- Online Degrees Are Valid: Yes, there are many online programs from accredited universities, some of which have distance learning options in addition to on-campus studies. A master’s degree earned from an online program is just as valid as one earned through traditional classes, even without a GRE requirement. In fact, the makeup of most online students falls within the non-traditional range (those who have been out in the workforce and are more mature), for whom the GRE exam is not considered the best predictor. The key to look for when applying for a master’s degree program with online classes is the school’s accreditation.
- Other Methods or Exams: Some schools still require an admissions exam, albeit one that is not as comprehensive as the GRE. For example, the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) measures reasoning via analogy, and tends to be a shorter exam, involving less preparation and expensive. The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is one that some schools require for MBA programs.
If taking a standardized test is the deciding factor that’s holding you back from exploring your opportunities to attain a master’s degree, look to online programs that don’t require an admissions test. You can still get a great education, without this added stress.