Avoiding Standardized Tests When Applying for Graduate Degree Programs

Student Graduating Spring 2011
Thinking about grad school?

If you’re planning on going to graduate school you’ve probably already resigned yourself to taking the GRE or the GMAT, since pretty much everyone requires you to hand in your score in order to apply, right? Not quite.

Universities across the country adopted standardized tests primarily because they needed a handy way to easily thin the piles of applications that arrive every year. Unfortunately the GRE, along with other standardized tests, is a relatively poor indicator of a student’s level of education. The test fails to measure how you’re likely to perform in your studies, and is basically just a vague measure of your general test-taking skills.

If you’re a non-traditional student it only gets worse. Doing poorly on one of these standardized tests can jeopardize your application, even though you might already have years of industry experience and credentials. To deal with the failings of these tests, a growing number of  universities are building programs that do away with or modify their GRE and GMAT requirements so that people can avoid taking these faulty tests in the first place.

What Are These Programs?

It takes a bit of digging to find the universities, and often specific colleges within universities, that allow you to get in without taking the test. Here are a few different programs that you can check out from some prestigious universities.

Some of these schools have moved to make the tests “recommended” rather than “required”, others simply eliminate the requirement completely, and some created special exceptions for experienced workers. Here are a few of the fields where these kinds of programs are most common, and some of the programs from high level universities.

Business Degree Programs

Finance & Marketing Degree Programs

  • Northeastern University – Master of Science in Finance and Master of Science in Taxation
  • Boston University – Master of Science in International Marketing Management

Healthcare Degree Programs

  • Ohio University – Health Admin and Nursing
  • University of Arizona – MSN
  • Maryville University – Health Admin
  • University of Cincinnati – Health Informatics
  • University of Florida – MS in Pharmacy

Political Degree Programs

Internet Technology Degree Programs

  • Boston University CIS – Master of Science in Computer Information Systems

This is definitely not a complete list, but when looking for these kinds of programs it’s evident pretty quickly that colleges of business are leading the charge on developing better admissions requirements, and then influencing other programs at their universities.

It will be up to you to determine which school and program is the best for your career trajectory, personal life, and available time.

photo credit: DSC_0906 via photopin (license)

photo credit: 01-29-08 via photopin (license)

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