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Plan to apply to Graduate School but GRE will be a problem.


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Joined: Sep 12, 2006
Posts: 31
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Posted Sep 18, 2006 at 2:02:40 AM
Subject: Plan to apply to Graduate School but GRE will be a problem.

How many out there are currently in graduate school or have completed graduate school? I plan to apply for Fall 2007 and I am primarily concerned with the GRE. My learning disability is primarily in mathematics and I knew taking the GRE that I would have a horrible score in the mathematics portion of it. I took it during Spring 2006 and during the test I was screaming in my head "Oh my God these words were not in any of my text books." Needless to say I achieved a horrible score in both the Verbal and Quantitative sections. I did get a good score on the Analytical Writing portion.

I did get extended time and the use of a four function calculator (which was worthless on a test that requires more than a four function calculator). I did request for the use of a scientific calculator but was denied.

I know that there are some programs out there that do not require GRE scores. I know that I will need to apply to multiple schools and hope that one of them lets me in. One program that I am interested in wants the GRE even though its graduate college does not require it.

I was told by some one at my undergraduate university's disabled student services office that a graduate degree is not considered necessary in order to succeed in life (having a career etc) so graduate programs/schools are not as welcoming with regards to students with LDs.

How difficult was it for some of you to get admitted into a graduate program?

Thanks.

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MadMac
Joined Sep 23, 2006
Posts: 2

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Hello LDintheOC,

I want to encourage you to apply to graduate school. The GRE is important to some schools, but they look at a lot of things. The GRE was hard for me and I found the more I took it the worse my score got.

I have an LD in writing and I have a Master's degree in History. The program I got into was small and I found a professor that was willing to work with me. In many ways that is the most important thing. If you can go to the schools you are applying to and meet with the teachers you will have that can help. The professors have a lot of say in who is accepted once the application gets to the department. If the professor knows you want to study in an area that they are interested in or they see passion they will be more inclined to accept your lowere GRE scores.

I found that offically I got very little help from the school for my LD. The LD student services are not really set up to help writing a 30+ page paper for a graduate history class. I was able to get off campus help for papers, but I had to pay for it. Depending on your major you could get off campus help. Although I did not avail myself of this, I do know I could have gotten help for more time on tests and things like that.

I would suggest that you contact the LD department of the schools you want to apply to and they can tell you what they can provide.

Good luck

MadMac

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LDintheOC
Joined Sep 12, 2006
Posts: 31

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Graduate school is very competitive. I called several universities last year including many of their disabled student services.

The vast majority of the departments stated that they only let in between 5-20 students per semester and that they receive well over 1000 applications for those slots. The disabled student services stated that they have nothing to do with the admissions process and that they can only provide help (extended time, etc.) once you are admitted into their university.

I know that I have to write the brown nosing essay about why I want to be in their department and that I want to study in their program because of professor X’s studies in a certain particular subject that I also want to study.

I know that applying to graduate school is not like undergraduate and that I will not have the same support that in the application process that I once had.

I read the GRE/ETS site and according to it, they plan to rely less on the vocabulary portion of the test in a revised addition for fall 2007. Well if I do not get into a program, I will have to retake it next year.
http://www.ets.org/portal/site/ets/menuitem.c988ba0e5dd572bada20bc47c3921509/?vgnextoid=6793cb8a55e76010VgnVCM10000022f95190RCRD&vgnextchannel=53e65da22af66010VgnVCM10000022f95190RCRD

How many programs did you apply for MadMac and how many of them accepted you?

Thanks for your reply MadMac.

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MadMac
Joined Sep 23, 2006
Posts: 2

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Hi LDintheOC,

Graduate school is very competitive and people with LDs don't get a lot of help. I think it is one reason it is best to find a smaller school. I actually attended one of California's smaller state universities instead of a UC or private school.I applied to 3 schools for my Masters and one accepted me. The one that I did go to was a good fit once I got there, but it was not my first choice.

I found also most professors do not really want to hear about the LD when you apply. They just want to know if you can do the work. One thing I think happens to people with LDs is that we do not have a lot of confidence because it has been eroded by failure or at least problems. Professors and graduate committees feel most people who go to graduate school are kids that like school and do not have problems with learning. To get into graduate school, therefore, you have to show that you are confident you can do it. Even if you do not have all the answers exuding that confidence is important.

This is something I have learned. When I first applied I wanted to tell people about my LD. It seemed important to show how hard I have worked. I also wanted to get help if I could. As I went through graduate school, though, I saw things differently.


I hope this helps.

Madmac

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Joe Tag
Joined Aug 20, 2014
Posts: 102

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Posted:Oct 16, 2006 9:47:53 PM

What field do you intend to enter? Can't the GRE be waived in your case? /signed/ Joe.

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LDintheOC
Joined Sep 12, 2006
Posts: 31

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Hello Joe.Tag,

No, they will not waive the GRE. If the GRE is required I have to submit scores and hope that they will have mercy upon me because I am LD. Most programs require the GRE and if they decide that my grades, recommendations etc are good enough then they might take pity on me and say OK. I will be pretty much at their mercy.

Grad school is not like getting into undergrad.

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maryk
Joined Oct 23, 2006
Posts: 7

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OP, can you hold off on the GRE for a little bit?

The GRE is to change quite a bit right around the fall of next year. They are going to provide an on screen calculator with a square root function and everything. The whole blessed basic GRE test is soon to be totally different. You can go on there web site and check it out.

Please try to wait a little and take it later on. And, please do not fret over it a ton. Depending on your major, a grad school addy committee might not even look at the math portion of the GRE at all.

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LDintheOC
Joined Sep 12, 2006
Posts: 31

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FOLLOWUP

I was planning to take the revised GRE this fall but I found out that the College Board nixed the new GRE because they apparently received too much negative feedback regarding its implementation.
http://www.ets.org/portal/site/ets/menuitem.c988ba0e5dd572bada20bc47c3921509/?vgnextoid=e9e8b524b40b1110VgnVCM10000022f95190RCRD&vgnextchannel=bf8146f1674f4010VgnVCM10000022f95190RCRD

I contacted one department at a University of California school recently and told them about my learning disability etc. They seemed receptive to my LD and the fact that I had a low score on the GRE. BUT as soon as I MENTIONED MY LOW, LOW SCORE, I was told “that’s a problem.”

I definitely want to attend a well known public institution because I feel that my undergraduate degree is not as valuable as one from a UC or other well known public university.

Once again ETS will ONLY give me extended time for the test, and the use of a basic four function calculator, even though they allow scientific ones on the SAT.

Needless to say I have to study up again for the GRE and take the current version. I can't afford a $1,000 prep course, which basically teaches you the test and all of its tricks such how half way through you get a bunch of easy questions, which throws you off because you start to think crap am I doing that bad.

I was planning to apply for fall 2008 but I will now have to wait for fall 2009.

Any thoughts???

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Username
Joined Dec 10, 2007
Posts: 1

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Hi,

I am a grad student with an LD. I actually took the GRE and the GMAT because I changed my mind about programs. I actually spent most of my admission process building a relationship with the people involved in the decision. I had face to face informational meetings with several professors I wanted to work with and really sold myself. Meanwhile I kept on getting letters that my file would not be complete until I took the test. I took the test very close to when the admission committee was meeting to decide, and scored poorly. Debating whether or not I should call attention to it, I ultimately wrote a very brief letter to the admission staff saying that I would be happy to take the test again if they believed it was neccessary. In my case, they did not make me take it again. Every school handles things differently, but downplaying the score...and letting it be the very last thing they find out about you (after they have pretty much made the choice to accept you) worked well for me. I did not disclose my LD until I was accepted and had matriculated--again to be handled on a case by case basis, I guess. There are also plenty of great schools in many fields that do not require GRE scores. GOOD LUCK!

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Anna_22
Joined Jul 01, 2007
Posts: 5

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Posted:Jul 14, 2009 8:39:57 PM


Hi,

I’m a student with learning disabilities who had an absolutely horrific experience with trying to write the GREs (seriously- it was like something out of the 50’s). I’ve since decided to take some action, and am asking for other students with disabilities who had bad experiences with ETS to forward me their personal stories. I’ll be putting them together and then sending them to ETS, the APA, CPA, and any other professional organization I can get (we may also consult with a lawyer).

I will also be circulating a petition for disabled and non-disabled persons to sign, demanding an inquiry into the testing situation and reforms to how they provide/facilitate accommodations.

If you’re interested in taking part in any way (to sign the petition when it’s officially up and running or to share your story), feel free to e-mail me at anna_webster80@hotmail.com

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LDintheOC
Joined Sep 12, 2006
Posts: 31

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UPDATE
Well, I wound up applying to three different University of California campuses for their particular PhD programs. I knew that they would be long shots, and they were. Needless to say, I didn’t get into any of those campuses, even though I met and spoke with professors in the various programs.

I do believe that my GRE score (and yes I did take it with accommodations, but my scores still remained low) was an issue but I also believe that not having a BA from what they perceived to be a “prestigious” university was also a problem.

After being shot down, I was going to wait a year and then apply to other graduate programs, but after having an accident at work, at a job that is menial, I decided to find a program with a late deadline. I found a graduate program, at a private university that did not require the GRE to be taken. I applied and got in. Now I am trying to figure out funding for it, so that I can actually attend.

The part that sucks is that I as a taxpayer cannot take advantage of my state’s UC system but they let in grads from snobby universities in every year or international students.

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LDintheOC
Joined Sep 12, 2006
Posts: 31

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Hello Anna,
Um, the GRE, Educational Testing Service (ETS) knows about students with learning disabilities and to be blunt sending them sob stories isn’t going to do jack. Maybe starting some sort of campaign with members of congress, who actually care about disabled students would be better.

What lawyer are you planning to hire? ETS is following the law, regardless if we like their bare minimum accommodations. Contact some disabled rights groups, and they won’t touch this with a ten feet pole unless some kind of freakish and totally discriminating incident happened.

Good luck on your quest!

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Larissa
Joined Oct 24, 2009
Posts: 5

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I have had trouble with the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the company that makes the PSAT,GRE, SAT,ect. They demanded more educational testing even though my testing was less than a year old and then took months to get back to me about my accommodations. The problem of most concern; however, is that they refuse to give me an assessable copy of study materials. Below I wrote a more detailed account of my experience. I would like to know if anyone else has shared my experience. Also, I welcome any ideas or suggestions that you may have for getting assistive technology compatible study guides.

ETS Disabilities Services refused to provide or create accessible study materials or practice tests for test takers with disabilities. They provide Braille and large print study guides, but not practice exams, and Braille and large print are only accommodations for certain types of visual or processing impairment. I tried repeatedly to explain my situation and the reason why study guides they provide are inadequate for many people with disabilities.
I am a student with a traumatic brain injury, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, a non-verbal learning disability and ADD. Because of these conditions, I require assistance to read and write. Working with assistive technology and the Academic Services office at my college, I have been a successful college student and have a 3.72 GPA. Based on my academic record, I expect to continue to do well on the Graduate level, however, ETS impedes my ability to progress by not providing adequate accommodations for students like me.


ETS was unwilling to answer my e-mails or give me a direct answer to any of my questions by phone. When the Director of Academic Services e-mailed them about attaining a screen reader compatible version they e-mailed back saying “she [meaning me] can have someone read the study guide to her [me]”

I would like to know if anyone else is having any problems with ETS. If yes, please contact me by e-mail at: larissa.mccormick@gmail.com or just respond to this post.

I am putting together a binder with interviews I have conducted about the lack of accessible information and the problems that it causes for students and test takers with disabilities. I am also collecting statistics and information about the rights of people with disabilities. I will send my finished product to government agencies and any other organization that may be able to help. Again, if you or anyone that you know wants to answer some questions about their experiences with ETS and accessibility please respond to this post or e-mail me.

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LDintheOC
Joined Sep 12, 2006
Posts: 31

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Hello Larissa,

Unfortunately for people like us, we are basically screwed. ETS has a monopoly and apparently all they have to do is provide the bare minimum with regards to services required by law. I had prior testing but I had to get new testing because my results were more than three years old. I requested the use of a scientific calculator for the GRE, and I was denied. They did give me extend time, but that was about it.

ETS is a lot like graduate programs, they don’t have to lower their requirements, you have to meet them. It really sucks but unless a higher educational system such as the University of California system threatens to stop using their tests, ETS will only do the bare minimum.

;(

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Larissa
Joined Oct 24, 2009
Posts: 5

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Posted:Nov 06, 2009 3:46:37 PM

I know but I might as well try. The fact tat they are a monopoly is just another part of my argument. Can you e-mail me about your experience

larissa.mccormick@gmail.com

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