The University of Pennsylvania’s philosophy program announced it will not consider the GRE in its admissions process. Even if an applicant includes a GRE score, the department will not look at it. The department explained it doesn’t believe the GRE is an accurate predictor of graduate school success and that women and minorities don’t perform as well on the exam.
We expect this will produce an increase in applications, particularly among women and minorities, and we wonder if this could be the start of a trend with other programs worried about not looking progressive enough if they consider the GRE. We also politely disagree with the notion that the GRE has no predictive value. When lots of undergraduate institutions are rife with grade inflation, most applicants use their self selected recommenders to write glowing reviews and writing samples can, and usually are, edited, the GRE can be a useful measure. While we would never suggest that an applicant with a GRE in the 90 percentile is superior to an applicant with a GRE in the 80 percentile, a very low GRE score is often correlated with an applicant who isn’t ready for the rigors of graduate studies.