Often a student wonders if her GRE score is good or is the GPA OK?
Here’s how I look at it-
Admission Committees use your GPA and GRE scores to determine whether you can handle the course load or not. A low GPA or GRE score makes them question your aptitude and ability to manage the curriculum. Further, having a low Quant score and doing poorly in your core courses (e.g. Data Structures for Computer Engineers etc) raises a red flag. So, while a low GRE score on its own may not disqualify you completely, it puts you at a huge disadvantage. I have seen students with superb research profiles or good industry experience but mediocre or subpar scores struggle to get into quality schools.
A GRE score < 310 (and Quant score < 155) can be a serious deterrent and you might consider retaking GRE. We prefer students get GRE > 320 to be able to remain competitive at top schools.
Similarly, when mentioning your GPA, it is important to convey where do you stand in your class/university. For e.g. saying your BE percentage was 73% does not tell the admission committee anything unless you tell them that you fell in top 1% of the class or top 10% – it makes all the difference!
Tip: If you end up applying with low acads (GRE or GPA), do try to explain somewhere in your application that the low score is not reflective of your ability to excel at the program for so and so reason (need help? contact us).