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GRE Waiver: A Comprehensive Guide


As the world navigates through unprecedented times, students aspiring for higher education face a multitude of challenges. One significant hurdle is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), a crucial component of graduate school applications. However, the recent wave of GRE waivers offers a glimmer of hope for many aspiring scholars.

GRE Waiver: A Comprehensive Guide
Source: ETS

Why the Surge in GRE Waivers?

Several factors contribute to the increasing demand for GRE waivers. Financial constraints often deter students from sitting for the exam, which comes with a hefty price tag of $205. Moreover, the global pandemic has disrupted exam schedules, further limiting access to test centres. In response to these challenges, many institutions have opted to waive the GRE requirement, paving the way for a more accessible and inclusive application process.

Understanding the GRE

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) serves as a standardised test designed to assess candidates' readiness for graduate-level academic work. It comprises multiple-choice questions and is administered via computer. GRE scores provide institutions with valuable insights into applicants' qualifications and preparedness for advanced study.

Why Consider Taking the GRE?

While some students may opt for GRE waivers, there are compelling reasons to consider taking the exam:

  • Enhance Your Application: A high GRE score can bolster your application, demonstrating additional skills and competencies to admissions officers.

  • Self-Assessment: GRE scores can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses as a test-taker, enabling targeted preparation for future exams.

  • Retest Opportunity: If you're dissatisfied with your initial scores, you have the option to retake the exam and strive for improvement.

  • Preparation for Graduate School: Success on the GRE reflects your readiness for the rigours of graduate-level study, positioning you for academic success.

  • Score Validity: GRE scores remain valid for up to five years, offering flexibility for future applications or program changes.

Navigating GRE Waivers

Securing a GRE waiver requires careful planning and preparation. Here's a step-by-step guide to navigate the process:

  • Research Institution Policies: Familiarize yourself with individual institutions' GRE waiver policies and requirements.

  • Crafting a Waiver Request: Write a compelling GRE waiver request letter outlining your qualifications, experiences, and reasons for seeking a waiver.

  • Highlight Relevant Experiences: Emphasize relevant work experience, academic achievements, and skills that align with GRE competencies.

  • Download Sample Letters: Explore sample GRE waiver request letters to guide your writing process and ensure a persuasive submission.

Notable Institutions Offering GRE Waivers

Several prestigious institutions have implemented GRE waivers, including:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Renowned globally for its cutting-edge research and innovation, MIT stands as a beacon of academic excellence. In response to the pandemic, MIT's Mechanical Engineering Department has waived the GRE requirement for the 2023 academic session. This decision reflects MIT's commitment to ensuring accessibility and equity in the admissions process.

  • Stanford University: Stanford University is a pioneer in education and research, and it has long been a trailblazer in higher education. The Graduate School of Education at Stanford is among the institutions waiving the GRE requirement for Fall 2022 admissions. While GRE scores may still hold weight for certain programs, the university is moving towards making them optional for the 2023-2024 academic year.

  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA): UCLA's Samueli School of Engineering, known for its top-ranked programs, has joined the ranks of institutions omitting GRE scores for Fall 2022 graduate admissions. While GRE requirements may vary by program, this decision underscores UCLA's commitment to promoting accessibility and diversity in engineering education.

  • Princeton University: With a legacy of academic excellence, Princeton University has adapted its eligibility requirements for graduate programs in response to the pandemic. The Graduate School of Princeton University has adjusted its GRE requirements, with several departments no longer necessitating GRE scores for admission.

  • Yale University: Ivy League institution Yale University has taken a progressive stance by not accepting GRE scores for a range of programs, including their prestigious Computer Science Ph.D. program. This move reflects Yale's commitment to holistic admissions practices and ensuring access to education for all qualified applicants.

  • University of South Florida: Recognized for its commitment to student success, the University of South Florida has waived the GRE requirement for all Ph.D. and EdS programs in Education and Counseling Psychology. This initiative aims to remove barriers to higher education and foster a more inclusive learning environment.

  • University of Texas at Austin: As a leader in engineering education, the University of Texas at Austin has eliminated the GRE requirement for Master's and Ph.D. programs in Electrical and Computer Engineering for Spring 2022 applicants. This decision aligns with the university's mission to attract diverse and talented students from across the globe.


In conclusion, while the GRE remains a standard requirement for many graduate programs, the rise of GRE waivers presents new opportunities for aspiring scholars. By understanding the GRE, weighing the benefits of taking the exam, and navigating the waiver process effectively, students can maximise their chances of success in the competitive landscape of higher education.

We know and understand that the application process can be overwhelming, so we are here for you. The study abroad experts at Hello Study Global are there for you every step of the way. From preparing for entrance exams to college applications, we will guide you to success.

Feel free to reach us at Hello Study Global.

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