I was shocked to see that UC required the GRE for any design students applying to their grad school. i really ahven’t researched other schools yet, but is this common? how many of you out there actually took GRE’s? I graduated from art school over 10 years ago… not exactly prepared for taking a standardized test to go to an over rated american school.

It really depends on what program you’re going to grad school for. I remember reading a while back when I was looking at IIT in Chicago that they required the GRE but if you were going into an ID grad program and had your undergrad in ID then they would waive the GRE and replace it with an interview and portfolio review.

Unfortunately for me I want to get an MBA now so I don’t have a choice and depending on the the school I might have to take the GRE or the GMAT (b-school test).

I would call the school and ask what their policy is. Try to get an administrator or dean on the phone and plead your case. If they can tell that you’re passionate about design and really committed then they might work something out with you. Otherwise I would enroll in a Kaplans course or something similar as a refresher so you can practice and get it out of the way.

have you looked at their professional part time program? the master of design methods? it’s treated like a exec mba, part time and fulltime and the gre is waived

on the other hand, I thought IIT was the only grad school asking for a GRE, so the UC one is news to me. probably a requirement by the university rather than the graduate department or school. that’s why IIT requires it. they don’t have a choice.

I just spoke to someone from the University of Cincinnati about this!

They want “well rounded individuals”… i guess designers are not supposed to be artistic there. so many artists that i know could never pass that thing, let alone SAT’s. And they function in the design community even if (and i don’t remember the percentage) but so many artistic people are dyslexic and/or have other learning disabilities.

“only squares that fit into a square hole need apply”

I was told they’re conservative and this is just one more count against them.

I took the GRE to get into MBA school. It was not too bad, of course there were plenty of questions I had no idea, but like any standardized test I only needed to get something like 750 out of 1200ish.
If you need help, many colleges have GRE prep classes to help their part-timers get in for full-time.
The strategy that I suggest when people ask is; first just take the test. Maybe you’ll get lucky and get in. If not, you’ll know exactly what you need to study and what you don’t.

without starting the Art-School vs. University debate, Grad school should be different from Undergrad in that it has Academic instead of Vocation focus.

An MFA, may just be the addition of seminars to essentially an undergrad process of assignments+critiques. But, it should go beyond the UG introduction to the ‘meta’ level discussions and generate something valuable to that dialogue.

For example - in ID you had a Human Factors class that tought you principles that were then applied in a task. As a grad student interested in HF you might research those principles and expand upon them in a way that could expand or redefine them.

Any good grad program will require a research-based thesis to graduate,(except business schools) and many will not admit you unless you have a research agenda to start working on upon admission.

Ranting aside, there are lots of dept.s willing to take your tuition then let you do essentially portfilio-building for 2 years and call it a Masters…but the only benefit will be your portfolio skills.

I sense from a lot of discussions on Core77 that there are a lot of designers who are going straight from undergrad into grad programs thinking that it will give them some huge advantage in the job market. Unfortunately for a lot of people I think that it’s a really bad idea.

If there is one thing that you should do it’s get out there and get some experience first. Grad school should be looked at as a way to focus the skills you have already built up and get you ready to take on more challenging tasks like design management, teaching, or even starting your own firm. If you go into grad school without having ever been in a real work environment then the risk is that you are really just going to be tweaking your undergrad skills instead of challenging yourself with new opportunities.

I would also have to agree with another comment which was made that grad school is much more academic and research based, or at least it should be for any serious program. Your job is to test yourself and your ideas through the creation of a hypothesis and research projects and prove in some way that you have come to a meaningful conclusion.

If people are serious about being well educated designers then complaining about the GRE should be the first sign that you are not ready for higher education and should spend some time working in the trenches figuring out exactly what it is you want to achieve with your career.

Sorry to go on a rant here, and this may not even apply to the person who posted the original question, but I don’t see grad school as a place to hide out and I have met a number of people who see it as just that.

i’m so glad that you think the GRE will give them the most prepared candidate for the tasks described above. Actually finding out if the applicant is as good candidate by a number seems like a big university undergrad tactic.

i think the original poster was more concerned about the necessity of standardized tests, and i understand their confusion. :confused:

Well I don’t think anyone should be shocked when a grad program asks for something additional like a GRE score. I don’t think that they are trying to pull any tactics either. The thing is that good programs like UC have a reputation to uphold and have every right to be more selective about who they bring into their programs.

Look at it this way, most people who are in grad programs are looking to become management level designers or are looking to become professors in an ID program somewhere. In many cases they are probably going to be assisting with or actually teaching an undergrad course as part of their program. Even if a designer’s portfolio is spot on for what they are looking for in terms of craft, they might be an absolute disaster in terms of communication and business skills. The GRE at the very least is going to give them a quantitative look at those other attributes.

If you think it’s an overrated school, don’t apply. Good programs have the luxury of being selective in many different ways, and they use things like portfolios, interviews, essays and, yes, standardized tests, to ensure a strong and diverse student body. The GRE score, if it’s required by an ID program, is not the only mode of evaluation, or even the primary one. As for prepping, that’s a given with anything important – you should prep for an interview, too.