SBC Scoop: How One Client Approached a Low GMAT

This week’s client, Jamie, was phenomenal in many ways.  Very strong work experience, a long history of international interest and exposures, stellar extra-curriculars.  Jamie was the type of person who belonged at a school like Harvard; she would absolutely thrive and excel in that environment.

Jamie had had her sights set on Harvard for several years.  Unfortunately, she could not get her GMAT score to cooperate.  Her highest GMAT score was a 600, and to make matters worse, her Quantitative percentile hovered around 40, which was about half of the target score.    Had we seen clients admitted with very low GMAT scores?  Absolutely.  However, this year, we had a new tool to play with and we decided to use it.

We understood that schools were willing to take risks on very strong clients who happened to have a low GMAT score.  However, a big hesitation was often the rankings.  Because the GRE was not yet reported out for rankings, we felt that even if Jamie received an equally low score on the GRE, she should submit her application with the GRE rather than the GMAT score.  Jamie took the GRE, and her overall performance was actually lower.  However, interestingly, this time her score was balanced toward a stronger performance in the quant section.  This was yet another argument for submitting GRE instead of GMAT.

The strategy felt a bit risky – the GRE was new and her score was still very low.  Despite this, we decided to submit a GRE score because:
1)  we felt that a low GRE (vs. GMAT) would at least eliminate concerns around reporting to rankings
2)  her GRE was overall lower but boasted a much higher quant score

This approach proved to be right when she was admitted to Harvard, and did not even need to worry about the three back up schools she had added to her list.  Congrats from us to “Jamie”!  Well deserved.

To read more SBC Case Studies, click HERE.

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