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The land of liberty isn’t just about fried food and American football. The USA is consistently the most popular study abroad destination for students from all over the world. Wondering why? Take a look at any world university ranking list, the USA is sure to dominate it, and this is a direct reflection of the effort and investment the country puts into developing its education standards. With institutes that have a history spanning centuries, mixed with a modernized global culture, the USA is among the top in the world for technology, innovation and world-class programs!

The US takes the crown when it comes to a PhD education, they are one of the first countries in the world to adopt a new and improved PhD model. While most countries focus mainly on the research aspect, universities here take a rigorous route and emphasize on developing a professional mindset along with regular research, through continuous training. Another bonus point is that a PhD from the USA often takes longer than that from countries like the UK, meaning that you’ll have enough time to adjust as a student and develop a stronger base in your subject before you start off on your thesis. Apart from this, the international student community, scope for innovation, guaranteed TA-ships & scholarships, and the option to choose among almost 1500 universities are some of the other reasons to pick America as your PhD destination. Convinced? Now how do you go about it?

The first step to studying abroad, whether master’s or PhD, is the GRE. This is the test of choice for almost 9 out of 10 universities in the US because it accurately assesses the potential of a student for advanced study, and a good GRE score exponentially increases your chance of admission.

This computer-based test is developed in such a way that no two students get the same questions, and it evaluates students in three sections; quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and analytical writing. However, the components that show up on your final GRE score are the verbal and quantitative sections. These are each scored from 130 to 170 points, so your total GRE score ranges from 260 to 340. The writing section is scored from 0-6, and while it doesn’t show up in your final score, it is often separately analyzed by the admissions committee, a decent score is 5+. Now, what is a good GRE score for PhD in USA?

Most universities set the score requirement based on the program, and individual scores matter more than the overall total. For example, if you are looking to do a PhD in mathematical models or analytics, you will need to have a higher quant score, and a PhD in sociology requires a higher verbal score. The mean GRE score lies between 302-310. However, since PhD fundamentally takes the academic route, minimum GRE score for PhD in USA is slightly higher than the average, in the high 150s for each section

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While the test is an important part of your application, it isn’t all of it. Universities in the US look at your profile with just as much attention. The rest of your application includes essays, letters of recommendation and statements of purpose. Apart from these, as a potential PhD candidate your academic record, projects, published research papers and work experience are often the final deciding factors.

Universities spend a lot of time and money into developing top-class research infrastructure, and they are quite cautious about who they are letting in. While you do your due diligence, make it a point to spend time on finding the right program and university for your end goal. Also, learn more about the department you’re applying to and the professors you might be working under.

At the end of the day, as a PhD student your research problem matters most, so talk about it in your SOP and essays. Specifically, try to answer the question ‘How will the PhD program from this particular department under X professor help me solve my research problem?’

Now, as a bonus section, here are 10 of the top universities in the US and their average GRE scores.

S.No University Quant Average Verbal Average
1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 162 157
2 Stanford University 163 158
3 Georgia Technological University 161 155
4 University of Michigan Ann Arbor 161 154
5 Texas A&M University 160 154
6 Columbia University 163 164
7 University of Maryland College 160 154
8 Northwestern University 161 154
9 University of Texas Austin 160 155
10 University of California Berkeley 161 155

Remember, the first step is to do your best and get a decent GRE score. Next, spend enough time researching to make sure you pick the right universities and the right professors. Finally, draft outstanding SOPs and essays to compliment your previous research, work-ex and your dream PhD program. At Jamboree, we help you through every step of the way, right from GRE prep with our unique programs to admissions counselling that provides professional support in university selection and profile development.

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