Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

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anonforthis
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Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by anonforthis » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:52 pm

I got much higher than average on the quantitative section but below average for others. I will be eligible for college reimbursement soon at my job. They pay 100% everything with no strings attached. I would like to use this opportunity to study for masters degree. I don't know what masters I should get. I just want it on my resume. Advice on what to study? Thank you.

thenextguy
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Re: Took the GRE test

Post by thenextguy » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:00 pm

Something related to your job.

livesoft
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Re: Took the GRE test

Post by livesoft » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:01 pm

A Masters in Computer Science or Theoretical Physics would some sense.
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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by jstrazzere » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:03 pm

anonforthis wrote:I would like to use this opportunity to study for masters degree. I don't know what masters I should get. I just want it on my resume. Advice on what to study? Thank you.
Most important: Choose something that interests you.

Ktemene
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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by Ktemene » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:33 pm

People generally take a Masters degree in their undergrad major. A Masters degree is supposed to be advanced learning and research in a particular field. If you choose a field that you don't know much about, expect to put in lots more hours than you would in a field that you have already done substantial work in.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by flyingbison » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:42 pm

anonforthis wrote:I got much higher than average on the quantitative section but below average for others. I will be eligible for college reimbursement soon at my job. They pay 100% everything with no strings attached. I would like to use this opportunity to study for masters degree. I don't know what masters I should get. I just want it on my resume. Advice on what to study? Thank you.
Don't waste your time, or your employer's money, until you know what you want to study and why you want a master's degree.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by sunnywindy » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:46 pm

If your heart's not into it, you're wasting your time (free or not!).
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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by lack_ey » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:11 pm

livesoft wrote:A Masters in Computer Science or Theoretical Physics would some sense.
With all due respect, I don't think success in either of these is very well predicted by quant section GRE scores (and that section is a joke to virtually everybody actually in graduate programs for any technical major anyway; "higher than average" better mean 80+ percentile at least, more like 90+ I hope). EDIT: whoops, you said "much higher than average" but still, point stands. But the bigger problem is lack of prerequisite skill and knowledge, and interest compared to the average incoming student. Most people good at math are not good enough at coding to be a grad student in CS, and the coursework goes way beyond just coding. It's just that without sufficient coding skills, the assignments would kill you. It's not much of a different story for physics. I mean, how in the world are you going to compete with dedicated, full-time students with undergrad coursework fresh in their minds who love what they're studying and are more qualified than you? It's not that you can't, necessarily, but why bother?


As people are suggesting, I'd only consider this if (1) the degree would be beneficial for career advancement, (2) it would be in an area of legitimate interest outside of gaining credentials, AND (3) undergraduate education and prior experience would provide most if not all of the background necessary. More so if GRE scores in non-quant areas were not good and the best area was only "higher than average."

Don't waste your time otherwise. It's sounding like there are probably better ways to enjoy life and/or advance your career.
Last edited by lack_ey on Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Zecht
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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by Zecht » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:16 pm

I obtained my masters while working full time through a program my work has. The program, in short, will fully reimburse you for tuition, book, and fee costs for any course you pass with a 80%/B- or greater. I obtained my masters because, in my field, a masters is seen as a great asset and highly portable while a PhD is usually hamstrung into either professorship or working as a researcher at a national lab for the remainder of their career.

That being said, here are several things to keep in mind.
1. Your undergrad major matters - Whatever you majored in undergrad, you will likely have to major in for a masters depending on the program and school choice available to you. Most degree programs have lists of prereqs miles long that are next to impossible to achieve without the same or very closely related undergraduate experience.
2. Your industry matters - For most people looking to work for companies in industry, a leg up on the competition a la advanced degree may seem like a smart choice. This is very true for technical fields such as science and engineering, but far less so for many technology jobs and nearly all liberal arts/soft sciences. You should really evaluate what job options call for "advanced degree preferred" and evaluate how much more they are going to pay as a result.
3. Your time matters - Even with a free masters, I have seen multiple other people that started the degree program drop out within the first 6 months because working full time and going to school was choking any time they had away from their family. This didn't matter to me as I was not married while earning the degree, but it is a big reason a lot of my peers failed to complete their masters.
4. Economic discrimination - This happens very frequently in certain fields (google studies to see if your major is one of these) as substantial amounts of work like designing, coding, and manufacturing are substantially cheaper overseas. Penny-pinching companies are also much more likely to pass you over for hiring if they would have to pay a much higher premium.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by Christine_NM » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:22 pm

Have you checked into any limits on employer's willingness to pay for any master's. I got an MBA in Info Systems paid for by an employer, and that was the only degree on the table. Probably other departments would have paid for other degrees. But I just took what was offered. BTW working full time and studying part time is horrible.
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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by FullYellowJacket » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:26 pm

I am getting my masters in engineering part time while working full time. Part-time is a misnomer. It is a second full time job. When I am not at work, I am either watching lecture, reviewing notes, doing homework, etc. Other commenters are right: only do something that truly interests you, or you won't make it.

I want to either work or obtain my PhD in Europe, and a master's will be somewhat necessary either way.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by jackholloway » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:26 pm

flyingbison wrote:
anonforthis wrote:I got much higher than average on the quantitative section but below average for others. I will be eligible for college reimbursement soon at my job. They pay 100% everything with no strings attached. I would like to use this opportunity to study for masters degree. I don't know what masters I should get. I just want it on my resume. Advice on what to study? Thank you.
Don't waste your time, or your employer's money, until you know what you want to study and why you want a master's degree.
+1 to this.

I usually ask candidates "how can your field of study/favorite class/thesis help me deliver software better/faster?" The ones that stand there with no clue rarely get an offer.

There is nothing wrong with saying you are, for example, a software engineer that occasionally has to do product management, and that you want a Masters to:
  • cover weaknesses in business valuation
  • move to a primarily project management focus
  • learn to estimate large software projects more effectively
  • go from middle of the pack to best in class at building large scale applications
  • upgrade your tech skills from mid-90s to mid-teens
But wasting your time and their money to "have a new line on my resume that might be worth something to some hypothetical person someday" is probably not worth it.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by FullYellowJacket » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:27 pm

Christine_NM wrote:BTW working full time and studying part time is horrible.
Agreed.

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hand
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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by hand » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:44 pm

Have you considered an MBA?

Likely somewhat applicable across a number of domains, quantitatively focused, and possibly valuable in a wide variety of future employment.

In many cases, I feel non top tier MBAs are overpriced, but if "free", almost certainly worth the time.

Classes while working aren't as much fun as a residential college, but my experience is that "night" schools are much more flexible in terms of dealing with work / school balance issues - especially if the employer is paying!

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by Doom&Gloom » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:24 pm

If you are having to pose this question to a message board, just play golf instead.

anonforthis
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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by anonforthis » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:26 pm

I want that piece of paper with my name on it since it's free. I have nothing but time on my hands so why not? I really don't want an MBA or masters that require so much academic writing. I don't write well. I like logic. Academic writing is hell to me.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by flyingbison » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:32 pm

anonforthis wrote:I want that piece of paper with my name on it since it's free. I have nothing but time on my hands so why not? I really don't want an MBA or masters that require so much academic writing. I don't write well. I like logic. Academic writing is hell to me.
If you approach it from this mindset, it will be worth every penny to you.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by tludwig23 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:37 pm

Computer Science.
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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by cheapskate » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:38 pm

anonforthis wrote:I want that piece of paper with my name on it since it's free. I have nothing but time on my hands so why not? I really don't want an MBA or masters that require so much academic writing. I don't write well. I like logic. Academic writing is hell to me.
If you hate writing but like logic, Computer Science might be a good choice, as long as you don't mind writing code :)

Or if you are quantitatively inclined, I'd also recommend Statistics/Data Science. Not much writing there :)

I have some empathy to what you are saying above. I would really hate going back to school and doing all those inane case studies they do in business school, and take courses in things like marketing (which for me smells like complete BS) - it takes all sorts to make this world.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by jstrazzere » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:54 pm

Christine_NM wrote:BTW working full time and studying part time is horrible.
For some that might be true.
For others (like myself) it was difficult, but not at all unpleasant.

Perhaps I was lucky, but I have a very understanding wife. I spent some early mornings, all my lunch hours, most late nights, and some weekends studying, writing papers, etc. I didn't miss the television shows that I gave up. I did miss some weekend recreational basketball games. I enjoyed the study topics and the intellectual challenges.

Overall, it worked out quite well for me. Sorry to hear that wasn't the case for you.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by FullYellowJacket » Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:49 pm

jstrazzere wrote:
Christine_NM wrote:BTW working full time and studying part time is horrible.
For some that might be true.
For others (like myself) it was difficult, but not at all unpleasant.

Perhaps I was lucky, but I have a very understanding wife. I spent some early mornings, all my lunch hours, most late nights, and some weekends studying, writing papers, etc. I didn't miss the television shows that I gave up. I did miss some weekend recreational basketball games. I enjoyed the study topics and the intellectual challenges.

Overall, it worked out quite well for me. Sorry to hear that wasn't the case for you.
I've been trying to adopt this sort of disposition recently towards my studies. I just get sad knowing that if I were not studying, I could spend more times outdoors/with my wife.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by hyla » Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:55 pm

anonforthis wrote:I want that piece of paper with my name on it since it's free. I have nothing but time on my hands so why not? I really don't want an MBA or masters that require so much academic writing. I don't write well. I like logic. Academic writing is hell to me.
With that mindset, I doubt you would be particularly successful in a good master's program, or get much out of it. Master's degrees require much more independent work and self motivation than undergrad, and GRE scores don't predict grad school success very well. I would wait till you have an idea of something you are actually interested in studying (whether that's because it will advance your career or a it is a subject that interests you) before you return to school. GRE scores don't expire for five years, so you have time.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by stoptothink » Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:06 pm

jstrazzere wrote:
Christine_NM wrote:BTW working full time and studying part time is horrible.
For some that might be true.
For others (like myself) it was difficult, but not at all unpleasant.

Perhaps I was lucky, but I have a very understanding wife. I spent some early mornings, all my lunch hours, most late nights, and some weekends studying, writing papers, etc. I didn't miss the television shows that I gave up. I did miss some weekend recreational basketball games. I enjoyed the study topics and the intellectual challenges.

Overall, it worked out quite well for me. Sorry to hear that wasn't the case for you.
I worked full-time and went to school full-time for 7yrs between my MS and PhD. Was married about half the time. It was a rough schedule, but that's life.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by fposte » Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:58 pm

anonforthis wrote:I want that piece of paper with my name on it since it's free.
What is you think it'll do, though? Just the fact of its being a master's degree doesn't mean it'll help you professionally, for instance; in fact, quite a few people with master's degrees don't include them on their resumes, because it can get read as being a poor fit for a job that's not on that trajectory.

I'm not anti-graduate school at all, but I think it's a heck of a commitment if it's not going to get you more than a piece of paper.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by Ktemene » Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:20 pm

You say that you don't write well. In that case, your first class, free or not, should be a writing class. These days, most college graduates do not know how to write. Being able to write well will put you head and shoulders above your colleagues, and will be of great value to you personally. Once you get into it, you will find that it is interesting in itself, and it will help you get much more out of the texts you read in course work. I tell my students that if they talked the way they write, they would never get a job. A person who takes the time to have a conversation with them will realize that they are intelligent, but a person who reads what they write will get the impression that they are fools.
Since you like logic, CS might be a good choice, as suggested above. Also, a Philosophy Masters with a thesis on logic is another possibility. But don't consider this if you have not taken and enjoyed undergraduate philosophy classes. Virtually all Masters programs require you to do course work on subjects within the field that are not your special interest. If you do CS or Philosophy, you will not be able to spend all your time on logic.
Since you aren't sure what to do, why not visit a local university and speak to people there to get a sense of what is involved in the various Master's programs. It would be very bad to start a program at your employer's expense, and discover that you hate it and cannot finish the degree.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:55 pm

I fully concur: do not attempt a graduate course of study unless you are intensely interested in the topic, to such an extent you will put up with being treated as if you're a high school sophomore by the faculty and staff, while being expected to produce huge amounts of clearly superior work.

Usually a B in any course, let alone in your thesis research (which you should expect to have to publish, in, as you put it, academic writing, and defend against seemingly-hostile questioners) puts you on academic probation, which means never do it again. A C means immediate dismissal.

With respect to papes of piecer, I've stopped listing my graduate degrees in biographical information. Nobody thinks better of me for them, and many think worse. I was told, for example, by an HR person as I interviewed for a job: "A students make grades. C students make money."

You may be a good candidate for a quantitatively-focused professional certificate.

PJW

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by Wildebeest » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:00 pm

It is great you test well.

However before embarking on a course to get a master's degree you may want to weigh what matters to you. While you do not have to pay for your degree the opportunity cost may be exorbitant. Failed relationship/ finding out you hate your classes and can not make yourself do the course work /etc would be major downer.

Find something you are really excited about and if you can not, forget it unless it gets you hard dollar raise and it does not cost you to much emotional pain and suffering ( I went for the last and the way the economy is shifting a hard dollar raise is not a given either).

If you are posting here, I am with Doom and Gloom and golf may be the better pursuit for you.
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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by lack_ey » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:12 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:I fully concur: do not attempt a graduate course of study unless you are intensely interested in the topic, to such an extent you will put up with being treated as if you're a high school sophomore by the faculty and staff, while being expected to produce huge amounts of clearly superior work.

Usually a B in any course, let alone in your thesis research (which you should expect to have to publish, in, as you put it, academic writing, and defend against seemingly-hostile questioners) puts you on academic probation, which means never do it again. A C means immediate dismissal.

With respect to papes of piecer, I've stopped listing my graduate degrees in biographical information. Nobody thinks better of me for them, and many think worse. I was told, for example, by an HR person as I interviewed for a job: "A students make grades. C students make money."

You may be a good candidate for a quantitatively-focused professional certificate.

PJW
I agree with the premise, but C's are okay occasionally in some programs, and for many technical majors there are often non-thesis (more or less all coursework) M.S. options.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:57 pm

lack_ey wrote:...
I agree with the premise, but C's are okay occasionally in some programs, and for many technical majors there are often non-thesis (more or less all coursework) M.S. options.
Good thing for me I included the word "usually," then. :wink:

The landscape may have changed since my first program, but the non-thesis options were not called Master of Science. At most they were called Master of [some word other than science], and were not qualifications sufficient to move on academically. Who knows, today? Certainly not me.

Nonetheless, I think you're right. I interpreted OP's question to be about a full-on Master's, rather than something more like a certificate of attendance for some graduate-level coursework without the independence and research aspects. My interpretation may have been an exaggeration of OP's intent.

Allthemore, as based on what you wrote I think we agree, I stand by my advice that nobody undertake a graduate commitment in any topic unless they're intensely interested. I still think OP, from what s/he has disclosed, might find a professional certificate program which could be a better fit. I don't know about OP's employer's financial support in that instance, of course, which seemed to be the primary motivation for study.

PJW

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by achen9291 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:43 pm

What was the diff between an MBA and masters? I thought they were the same.. btw how hard is the GRE? the other one was GMAT? What's the diff between the 2?

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by lack_ey » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:44 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote: [...]The landscape may have changed since my first program, but the non-thesis options were not called Master of Science. At most they were called Master of [some word other than science], and were not qualifications sufficient to move on academically. Who knows, today? Certainly not me.[...]
Practically I think pretty much every Ph.D. program would want an M.S. grad who did a thesis rather than one who did not, but they're being given out as full-blown M.S. degrees.

Perhaps all the top programs still require a full-blown thesis for an M.S., but when I was looking at graduate programs several years back and after a quick search right now (picked CS, not my field, but because it was mentioned)...
http://www.cs.utexas.edu/graduate-progr ... rs-program
http://cse.ucsd.edu/node/58
http://www.cs.ucf.edu/CS/masters.php
The department offers two Masters degree options: the MSCS with thesis and the MSCS no thesis/no report.
The department offers a Master's of Science in Computer Science. The degree is offered under the Thesis (Plan I), the Comprehensive Examination (Plan II), or Comprehensive Interdisiplinary (Plan II). Each plan requires forty-nine units of work. For full-time students, all the requirements can be completed within two years.
Masters students may choose one of two options – the thesis option or the non thesis option. Both are 30 semester hour programs. The latter requires more coursework and, of course, does not require that a thesis be written.
It's my impression that many schools these days want to boost attendance to raise revenue. A non-thesis M.S. student in a technical major probably doesn't get an assistantship and is paying tuition. And enough students still want to come to boost job prospects and career opportunities. Take a bunch of advanced coursework, cram your way through a couple years of hard study, and you get your degree. To be honest, this is probably the best way for a motivated student in a technical field to make the most money these days—actually doing a thesis would take more time, and slogging through a Ph.D. means years of relatively low salaries for something most companies don't even value that much anyway. But the extra expertise, pay, and prospects from the M.S. often pay for themselves over a career (given the two-year investment) over just a B.S. At least that's my understanding of the dynamics now. Of course, for majors where there are far fewer students in the graduate program, not much demand for Master's degree holders in the job market, and so on, it is much different.

...I better stop here before I wonder why I didn't call it quits after the M.S myself. :P

But yeah, even the classes for an M.S. will probably slay you unless you're actually interested in the material, never mind doing a thesis. Maybe if somebody's dedicated enough, they can power through on sheer willpower, but I'm not so sure.

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:53 pm

achen9291 wrote:What was the diff between an MBA and masters? I thought they were the same.. btw how hard is the GRE? the other one was GMAT? What's the diff between the 2?
An MBA, a Master of Business Administration, is one of many examples of a Master's degree. Unlike most others, the MBA, like an ME, MSW, and an MFA, to give three additional instances, is a terminal degree, that is to say, it's not meant as preparation for an attempt at a doctorate, but instead to prepare the graduate for professional-level participation in society. It's not that holders can't be accepted into academic Ph.D. programs; only that it isn't the ordinary expectation.

Others, like the MA, Master of Arts, and MS, Master of Science, may be the last degree the student pursues, but are structured such that a strong graduate would be a strong candidate for a Ph.D. program, at their original school or at another.

An academic degree, like an MA or an MS, keeps one's options open. A terminal degree doesn't close them, a subtle difference. A non-academic degree usually doesn't open academic doors, though it may open, or close depending on the anti-intellectualism of the community, other doors in our economy.

I've noted, in my experience as a manager and as a business owner, great animosity between those who value one type of education, and those who value the other, but not great differences in ability between them. Those who value a lack of education have been hit-and-miss.

The Graduate Records Exam, GRE, is pretty hard. The Graduate Management Admission Test, GMAT, is also pretty hard. They're both pretty hard.

Worse, getting a good score on one or more of the sub-areas is no good predictor of success in graduate school. That which is a good predictor is the income of the family you come from, even if they're not providing you with any graduate school tuition money.

The offspring of the wealthy who tend to be well educated, tend to do better in education than the offspring of others not-so-rich, in education.

There are some people who believe that means the already-rich are genetically superior, and the rest, inferior.

Other people interpret the data differently.

Hope that helps with the question.

PJW

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by tetractys » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:56 pm

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:19 am

lack_ey wrote:...
Masters students may choose one of two options – the thesis option or the non thesis option. Both are 30 semester hour programs. The latter requires more coursework and, of course, does not require that a thesis be written.
Thanks, but no thanks, for taking me back. "We're so great! We take two more classes than you therefore we're smarter plus we have no requirement to prove we're functionally literate!"

Ugh.

Hey, wait a minute, I was forgetting the other part: "Almost all of us drop out just after first semester core course midterms!"

Could be worse.

PJW

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:22 am

tetractys wrote:[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]
Yeah, like my former boss used to assign each of us to the duties we were worst at, to develop us. Bet you can guess the sustained performance of our team. Before the layoff, that was. I've no idea how I survived.
PJW

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Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by 4nursebee » Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:10 am

Don't enroll until you know what you like and want.
4nursebee

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MBA

Post by davebarnes » Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:07 pm

Best for your résumé is the MBA.
Find a program without a lot of writing.
I did not do much writing for mine (from Babson).
As an engineer nerd, I hate expository writing.

#2 on my list would be Computer Engineering/Science.
But, then, as someone who has been coding since 1965 (with 18 years spent in sales and marketing), I am biased.

Possibilities:
Econometrics. Not a lot of writing. Lots of reading and lots of statistics.
Genetic Engineering. Will only grow in importance over the coming decades.
Marketing. You can sleep thru it and still ace it.
A nerd living in Denver

HurdyGurdy
Posts: 1170
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 10:21 pm

Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by HurdyGurdy » Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:28 pm

I got much higher than average on the quantitative section but below average for others.
What do you mean by "much higher"? the average for what (all applicants, applicants to programs in a field, applicants to that specific program)?

Among applicants to engineering or sciences programs, scores from the GRE quantitative section are already very high. An applicant with a score not in the top 10% of the general population would be a weak candidate.
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Your choice also depends on what programs are available at the schools you can attend.

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Doom&Gloom
Posts: 2093
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Took the GRE test [- Suggest a masters degree]

Post by Doom&Gloom » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:13 pm

HurdyGurdy wrote:
I got much higher than average on the quantitative section but below average for others.
What do you mean by "much higher"? the average for what (all applicants, applicants to programs in a field, applicants to that specific program)?

Among applicants to engineering or sciences programs, scores from the GRE quantitative section are already very high. An applicant with a score not in the top 10% of the general population would be a weak candidate.
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Your choice also depends on what programs are available at the schools you can attend.
Yeah, OP, this is an anonymous board, so why not just post your scores? And which "specialty area" test you took--if the GRE is still similar to how it was a few decades ago.

Trivial personal item: I took the GRE in 1970 and still remember my scores. But I can't remember which three items my wife told me to pick up at the grocery store this morning :oops:

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