Dear Mentor:

When should I take the GRE for a PhD in the US?

I am an MTech Design student from IIT Madras. I want to apply for PhD in the US in the fall, where I guess most of the scholarships are awarded. But I don't know when to appear for exam. Should we have the score six months in advance or little more in advance? I have done my bachelors from Pune Univ. and I got 70% in my masters. I have got 9.35 CGPA. I am interested in pursuing my PhD in fracture mechanics. So, will you please guide me as to which univ. should I concentrate on and what is the score needed in GRE to get admission?

Money & PhD, Madras, India

Dear Money & PhD:

The admissions process in the US begins in the fall, for the session starting in the following fall. The process continues through the spring. You are too late for admission in the fall of 2001. The process is already complete and admissions and financial aid have already been offered to prospective students.

You do not necessarily need the final scores 6 months in advance of applying for admission or 6 months before the start of the academic session. You can submit the final scores when they are available. You can begin the process using the scores that are already available. Universities understand that the admission process begins early and, in many instances, prospective students do not yet have their final scores.

Financial aid is available to international students for a PhD in the US. However, competition for financial aid is fierce. It is easier to get admitted than to obtain financial aid. Both admission and aid are dependent on your past academic performance and your GRE score. Just as in India, or any other country for that matter, the threshold for admission and aid varies among colleges. The more prestigious the institution, the greater the competition and the greater the expectations for student performance.

What GRE score is needed is to get admitted depends on the quality and prestige of the academic institution. You should not be trying to obtain a certain GRE score. Just as you would do for any exam, you should be trying to obtain the highest GRE score that you can.

To find PhD programs in mechanics, one place to start is here:

To identify colleges that best match your performance and personal needs, you can use the iMahal College Finder . You can also refer to the College Rankings to learn about the reputation of various schools.

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