Cornell University’s Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering will no longer be requiring applicants to its graduate program to submit GRE test scores. And why? Well, the department essentially found that the GRE didn’t serve as a good predictor of students’ success once they began their graduate studies. In fact, the department even conducted a pilot study this past year in which admissions officers rendered their decisions without knowledge of their GRE scores. The study found that the students ultimately granted admission had similar scores and GPAs to those admitted the previous two years (admissions officers were blind to these test scores during the process but the scores were revealed after decisions were rendered).
Department Found GRE Not Predictive of Student Success
As reports Winny Sun for The Cornell Daily Sun in a piece entitled “Cornell’s Biomedical Engineering Department Drops GRE Requirement for Graduate Programs to Promote Diversity,” “Starting this fall, GRE scores will be left out of the consideration of all applications to the BME graduate program. Instead, the admission will focus more on research experience, letters of reference and the overall academic transcript, among other requirements. In particular, it will examine how much students have utilized opportunities available to them, [Director of Graduate Studies Prof. Jan] Lammerding said. ‘We recognize that if students live in a rural area and attend a small school or a major state school with limited research opportunities, they have different options than people who attend Cornell or MIT,’ he said. ‘It would be unfair to directly compare them.'”
More Graduate Engineering Programs Will Follow Cornell’s Lead
In making its decision, Cornell’s Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering has thus become one of the first graduate engineering programs in America to not require the GRE. Will more engineering graduate programs soon follow Cornell’s lead? As our loyal readers know all too well, we’ve got a crystal ball at Ivy Coach. Our crystal ball suggests that indeed Cornell will be a test-less trailblazer among graduate engineering programs as more such programs will soon follow the university’s lead. And graduate engineering programs won’t be alone — in due course, more and more graduate programs in all sorts of disciplines, we project, will be either dropping the GRE entirely or going test-optional.