Other Ways to Assess Applicants Besides the GRE
The following Q&A with Ian Paul and Alan Sved is adapted from the webinar, Maximizing the Effectiveness of Graduate Programs through Assessment.
What best practice procedures do you use for assessing the quality of applying students besides the GRE?
Ian Paul: I've never found that the GRE predicts much of anything except at the extremes. A lot of programs start with a baseline GRE that says in essence, “You have to be at least this tall to ride this ride." After that, my preference is interviewing intensively. Especially now with Skype, you can have the student interviewed by a large number of people —this should include other students — before making a decision on whether or not to make an offer. In my own experience, this tells me volumes more than what I learn from the GRE or a canned personal essay.
Alan Sved: For me, a predictor of future success is past success and past success in the laboratory. Can they get into a lab? Can they think about a question? Can they get stuff done? Students coming in with good research experience tend to do better. Though I acknowledge that undergraduate students that don't have access to extensive research experiences need to be considered as well.
Watch the full webinar, Maximizing the Effectiveness of Graduate Programs through Assessment.