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Choosing an Online Master’s Program That Does Not Require the GRE or GMAT

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If you’ve decided to pursue a master’s degree online, you’re in good company. There are many exceptional programs available entirely online, and a lot of students are finding that the online route is a convenient way to achieve a high-quality degree. But if you want to pursue an online master’s, does that mean you are destined to take the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Exam)? Although some schools still list scores from either the GMAT or the GRE as part of their admissions requirements, there is a whole host of reputable and well-known schools that no longer require those exam scores from their applicants.

This shift is good news for those prospective online graduate students who don’t want to devote time, energy, and money to preparing for an exam but would rather get started on the program that is going to propel them into advanced positions in the career of their dreams. For the schools that don’t require the GRE or GMAT, what sort of criteria do they use to assess the potential of an applicant for their program, and how does the prospective applicant know what to look for in a program that does not require those traditional exam scores as a benchmark for preparedness for the rigors of a graduate degree program? We’ve compiled a brief list below of some of the things to be on the lookout when examining a program that doesn’t require the GRE or GMAT. For those who were ready yesterday to get started on the hunt for a school, check out our 50 Best Online Master’s Programs That Do Not Require the GRE.

#1. Regional Accreditation

School-wide accreditation for a college or university comes from one of six approved regional accrediting agencies. The agencies responsible are determined by the region of the country in which the school is located, and this is one of the most surefire ways to assess the reputation of your school at a glance. Being regionally accredited means that the university meets a determined standard both academically and institutionally. And since accreditation is renewed on a continual basis, if the criteria or standards by which a school is assessed changes, the school is required to keep up with the new standards.

#2. Same Degree as On-campus?

Does the school make the assurance that the same faculty teach both the online and the on-campus versions of the program? Is it the same curriculum? Is there the guarantee that the diploma will simply state the degree earned as opposed to noting it was an online degree?

#3. Accessibility and Flexibility

Some programs may require on-campus residencies or may be hybrid programs. There’s nothing adverse about these programs–it’s just a matter of student’s preference for an entirely online program versus a program that requires travel once or twice, or even several times each semester.

#4. Online Support

Just because a student is a distance learner doesn’t mean they have to exist in a lonely bubble. Many programs have program-specific services and resources to help provide a sense of community for the online student. Additionally, in a quality program, a student should be able to interact with faculty and fellow students–either on a message board, a synchronous lecture, or in some other fashion or format. And beyond just a specific program, most universities have online support teams to bolster the success of their enrolled online students (and in some cases, even prospective students).

So an online degree without a GRE requirement for admission is a possibility. It’s just a matter of finding the best school for you! And if you know the program you want, look over these lists of the Top 40 No-GRE Online Master of Education Degree Programs, Top 40 Online MBA Degree Programs That Do Not Require the GMAT or GRE, or Top 25 No-GRE Online Master of Public Health Degree Programs to see what schools are out there for you.

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Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor