Dear Mentor:

Which agriculture colleges accept low GRE scores?

I am a postgraduate student [referred to as a graduate student in the US and Canada] in Botany. I would like to pursue a research-based program in Botany, Genetics or Agriculture Sciences in a college in Canada, Germany, the US, Australia or New Zealand. I scored 590 on the paper-based TOEFL [Test of English as Foreign Language], but I have a low GRE [Graduate Record Exam] score of 1250. I would like to know if the universities in the US and Canada which accept low scores for any course in Agriculture Sciences, and where it is possible to get an admission with partial financial aid. I would like to know what other sources are available for financial aid to study in these places, especially for Indian students. I request that you kindly give me this information at your earliest convenience. Thank you.

Goals Above Scores, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Dear Goals Above Scores:

We can understand your choice of countries, except for Germany. Are you a German-speaker? If not, learning German is a program of studies in itself. German is a relatively difficult language to learn.

Many schools that require the GRE, a standardized entrance exam, for graduate (Master's or Doctoral) studies, do not require the TOEFL. The TOEFL tests your competency in the English language. If you perform well on the GRE, which also tests your competency in English, the TOEFL becomes less relevant. In any case, the TOEFL is a threshold test; that is, you must score above a certain threshold, set by individual schools, to demonstrate an acceptable level of competency. You only need to be above the threshold set by the school; the extent to which you are above the threshold is not relevant. Your TOEFL score appears to be acceptable.

We do not wish to be harsh, but we must be honest and realistic. Your GRE score is not good, as you have already mentioned. Let us put this in perspective. The GRE tests you in three areas - Quantitative, Verbal and Analytical - each one of which is scored on a scale of 200 to 800; thus, the total GRE score of 600 to 2400. Less than 5 percent of the candidates score below 900. Around 25% score less than your score. We can not comment on other countries, since we don't focus on them at iMahal, but your GRE score is too low for any Master's program in the US or Canada, let alone a research-based program. Not to mention that it is too low to be seriously considered for financial aid. A more stark reality applies to the PhD programs in the US and Canada.

You have the choice of taking the GRE again. Should you choose to do so, you must put in a much greater effort this time. A minor improvement in the GRE score is not likely to help you much. The improvement must be significant. However, if your current GRE score reflects your academic performance - that is, your marks or scores - you will have an extremely difficult time in obtaining admission in the US or Canada.

Your prospective school is the primary source, if not the only source, for financial aid. Getting admission is much easier than securing financial aid. There are no special sources of funding for Indian students.

You can find the List of Science Colleges in the US and the List of Science Colleges in Canada in the iMahal Education Channel. You can use the iMahal College Finder to find colleges that match your needs.

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