Should the GRE Be Mandatory for Grad School Admissions?

Very few people – possibly other than Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory – would claim that the GRE, which is needed to get into many graduate programs, is a piece of cake. There are now many for profit and even some non profit universities that do not require that you take the GRE, so why should you take it. The concern of some is that employers may view some online universities as ‘diploma mills’ that churn out poorly educated graduates with a lot of student debt.

However, many students from online programs that do not require the GRE are showing now that they are earning a quality education and showing good job skills, so the thinking about the GRE requirement is beginning to shift.

One example of the changing mindset is McGill University, which is ranked #18 last year by QS World University Rankings, does not make the LSAT exam a requirement, which is mandatory for most law school programs. The university states that requiring the LSAT is a disadvantage to French speaking students.

The GMAT is another test that is required for many MBA programs. This test is one that scares many students who studied something in college other than business or mathematics. The thought of taking these tests and not doing well on them is a worry for many aspiring graduate students. The feelings are so strong for some of them that many want to just skip the MBA or to apply to a school that does not require an entrance examination.

Universities Where GRE Not Required for Some Graduate Programs*

*Check your specific graduate program to see if the GRE is required.

According to the director of student services at the University of Washington Information School, people who assume the quality of a program is lower that does not require the GRE could be making an error.

She noted recently that there is a trend in many graduate programs to no longer require the GRE. According to analyses of test scores of applicants, the GRE is not a strong indicator of how likely a student is to succeed in graduate school. She said that the University of Washington currently has several graduate programs that are ranked nationally that are dropping the GRE as a requirement for admission.

GRE-Requirement-Graduate-SchoolMany traditional non-profit universities no longer require the GRE for admission

One of the programs at the University of Washington that does not require the GRE is the EMBA program, and the GMAT is waived as well for some candidates.

At the University of Dayton, the school allows some students to skip taking the GRE, and it is optional for some programs, such as the MA in English and the MS in Chemistry. The engineering programs do not mandate that you take the GRE. However, the GMAT currently is mandatory to enter their MBA program.

Many students who attend for profit schools online and do not have to take the GRE say that the quality of their education did not suffer. John Ward, who is a grad student at Capella University in mental health counseling, noted that his instructor quality and education quality were high. He said recently that he will finish in May 2015, and his total time in the program was 18 months and also a one year internship.

He selected Capella University because it has a high quality master’s degree program that is fully accredited by the APA. Also, the program includes residencies and internships that most programs do not have. And, of course, the master’s program is offered entirely online.

If you are thinking about graduate school and a program that does not require the GRE, GMAT or LSAT, it would be wise for you to think about the coursework you will have to take. Students who do not have a strong mathematics background should not consider taking a program that has a lot of math. However, those who do not do well on standardized tests but have strong academic records should look at the program quality to decide if the program is right for them.

Many feel that as long as the school is fully accredited, it is likely that the school is providing a solid education. A lot of it also comes down to how much effort you put into your graduate program.

It also comes down to how well you learn the skills that the program teaches you. There are many examples of students who have gone to online schools with no standardized tests required and learned very valuable skills that they used to obtain excellent employment. So, not taking the GRE or GMAT can in the end work out very well for you, depending on the program and how much effort you put into your education.