Speak with our Experts
Sign up

Get tailored study abroad advice.


Sign in for exclusive content!

Planning to study abroad?


Build your target shortlist and see your odds of getting into top schools with Ambitio's AI shortlist builder!

close Find your dream school

Heading Out Already?


Our Ivy League mentors and top admission experts can help with personalized tips to get you into your dream school

Speak with our Experts

30 June 2023

6 minutes read

GRE and TOEFL Scores for Top US Universities

Key Takeaways

  • GRE evaluates analytical skills; TOEFL checks English proficiency.
  • Both tests standardize applicant comparison and indicate commitment.
  • Test familiarity and consistent practice improve scores.
  • Address weak points in both tests for better outcomes.
  • Scores are part of a holistic admissions review, impacting scholarships and eligibility.

Worried about the cost of Studying Abroad?

Sign up to access 25 game-changing scholarships that could cover your costs.



Navigating the requirements for GRE and TOEFL scores can be a pivotal step in your journey to studying in top universities in the USA. These tests not only reflect your proficiency in English and analytical skills but also play a crucial role in the admissions process.

Understanding the nuances of GRE and TOEFL scores is essential for anyone aiming to study in the US, especially for those targeting TOEFL-accepting universities in the USA.

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

– Pele

Stuck on How to Pick Your Ideal College?

Sign up to access your tailored shortlist and simplify finding your ideal college.


Why GRE and TOEFL Scores Matter

toefl scores for top us universities
  • Academic Readiness: GRE scores assess critical thinking, analytical writing, and reasoning skills, crucial for graduate studies.
  • English Proficiency: TOEFL scores demonstrate non-native speakers’ ability to understand and use English in an academic setting.
  • Standardized Comparison: These scores provide a fair way to compare applicants from diverse educational backgrounds.
  • Commitment Indication: High scores show the applicant’s dedication and preparation for challenging academic pursuits.
  • Scholarship Requirements: Certain scholarships and funding opportunities require specific GRE and TOEFL scores.
  • University Rankings: Strong scores contribute to the reputation and rankings of universities.
  • Specialized Program Access: Competitive programs often have strict GRE or TOEFL score requirements.
  • Visa Process: A good TOEFL score can be essential for the student visa application process.
  • Application Strategy: Knowing score requirements helps in targeting universities that align with the applicant’s profile.

See how Successful Applications Look Like!

Access 350K+ profiles of students who got in. See what you can improve in your own application!


TOEFL vs. IELTS for US Universities – A Comparative Analysis

toefl vs. ielts for us universities
Comparison AspectTOEFLAmerican English and Academic Context
Test FocusAmerican English and academic contextBritish English with a more general approach
Acceptance in US UniversitiesWidely accepted across the USIncreasingly accepted, but TOEFL is more common
Test FormatMostly multiple choice and some tasks requiring spoken and written responsesA mix of short answers, essays, and oral responses
Speaking SectionConducted via computer (speaking into a microphone)Face-to-face interview with an examiner
Scoring SystemScored on a scale of 0-120A band score of 1-9 for each section; the overall average score
Test LengthAbout 3 hoursApproximately 2 hours and 45 minutes
Skill EmphasisStrong focus on listening and speaking skillsBalanced emphasis on listening, speaking, reading, and writing
Test AvailabilityFrequent test dates, widely available globallyRegular, but less frequent test dates compared to TOEFL
Preparation MaterialAbundant online resources and official materialsExtensive resources available, including official practice materials
CostVaries by country, generally around $170 – $250Similar range, but can vary by country and test center

Start Your University Applications with Ambitio Pro!

Get Ambitio Pro!

Begin your journey to top universities with Ambitio Pro. Our premium platform offers you tools and support needed to craft standout applications.

Unlock Advanced Features for a More Comprehensive Application Experience!


Start your Journey today


Start your Journey today

Role of GRE and TOEFL Scores in University Admissions

The GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores play a pivotal role in university admissions, especially in the United States. Here’s an expanded view of how these scores influence the admissions process:

GRE Scores: Indicators of Academic Potential

  • Assessment of Skills: GRE scores are used to assess a candidate’s verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. These scores provide insight into a student’s ability to succeed in graduate-level coursework.
  • Comparative Analysis: GRE scores offer a standard metric for comparing applicants from diverse educational backgrounds, ensuring a level playing field in the admissions process.
  • Program-Specific Requirements: Different programs and departments within universities might have varying GRE score expectations. For instance, STEM programs may emphasize quantitative scores more heavily.
  • Scholarship and Funding Eligibility: High GRE scores can also be a determining factor in awarding scholarships, assistantships, and other types of financial aid.

TOEFL Scores: Proof of English Proficiency

  • Language Proficiency for International Students: For non-native English speakers, the TOEFL score is critical. It demonstrates the student’s ability to understand and use English at a level necessary for academic success.
  • Minimum Score Requirements: Universities often set minimum TOEFL score requirements to ensure that incoming students can participate effectively in classes, understand lectures, and engage in discussions.
  • Variation Across Programs: Like the GRE, TOEFL score requirements can vary by program. Programs with a heavy emphasis on communication might require higher TOEFL scores.

Joint Influence in Admissions

  • Holistic Review Process: While GRE and TOEFL scores are important, admissions committees typically conduct a holistic review of each application. This means that they also consider academic records, work experience, letters of recommendation, and personal statements.
  • Determining Factor in Competitive Programs: In highly competitive programs, where many applicants have strong academic records, GRE and TOEFL scores can be crucial in making final admission decisions.
  • Setting Benchmarks for Admission: Some universities use these scores to set baseline criteria for admission, helping to streamline the evaluation process.

Adaptability to Student Profiles

  • Flexibility for Diverse Applicants: Universities may show flexibility in score requirements for candidates with exceptional backgrounds, unique experiences, or significant achievements.

GRE and TOEFL Requirements for Top US Universities

University NameRequired GRE Score (out of 340)Required TOEFL Score (out of 120)Program Focus
Emerald Ivy University330110Humanities & Sciences
Silicon Valley Institute of Technology325105Engineering & Technology
Pacific Coast University318100Business & Economics
Atlantic University320108Law & Political Science
Great Lakes University31095Environmental Studies
Southern Heritage University31598Arts & Culture
National Research University335112Medicine & Health Sciences
Crestview Liberal Arts College300102Liberal Arts
State University of the Plains30590Agriculture & Life Sciences
Metropolitan Private University328104Urban Studies & Architecture

Stuck on How to Pick Your Ideal College?

Sign up to access your tailored shortlist and simplify finding your ideal college.


Preparation Tips for GRE and TOEFL

AspectGRE TipsTOEFL Tips
Test FormatLearn the GRE’s structure and scoring.Understand TOEFL’s question types and evaluation.
Study PlanCreate a plan covering all GRE sections.Schedule study for all TOEFL skills.
Practice MaterialsUse official GRE resources for practice.Utilize TOEFL guides and online tests.
Mock TestsTake timed, full-length GRE tests.Regularly engage in full TOEFL mock tests.
Focus AreasIdentify and improve weak GRE areas.Strengthen weaker TOEFL skills.
Language SkillsEnhance GRE vocabulary and reading.Immerse in English for overall TOEFL improvement.
Time ManagementPractice GRE questions under timed conditions.Time yourself in TOEFL reading and listening.
ReviewAnalyze practice test responses.Review TOEFL mock tests for errors.
HealthMaintain a healthy lifestyle for better focus.Keep fit for improved concentration.
Study SupportConsider GRE courses or study groups.Join TOEFL prep courses or groups.

For more info on how to write a TOEFL essay, click here

How Universities Evaluate GRE and TOEFL Scores

how universities evaluate gre and toefl scores
  • Holistic Review: Many universities consider GRE and TOEFL scores as part of a holistic review process, alongside academic records, letters of recommendation, and personal statements.
  • Program-Specific Criteria: Universities often have different score requirements for various programs, with more competitive programs typically requiring higher scores.
  • Minimum Score Thresholds: Most institutions have minimum score requirements for the GRE and TOEFL, which applicants must meet to be considered for admission.
  • Balanced Score Analysis: While some programs may focus on overall scores, others might give more weight to specific sections relevant to the field of study (e.g., quantitative scores for STEM programs).
  • Comparative Evaluation: Scores are often used to compare applicants, particularly in programs where the number of applicants exceeds available spots.
  • English Proficiency Emphasis: For TOEFL, universities primarily assess an applicant’s ability to effectively communicate and comprehend English in an academic setting.
  • GRE as a Predictor of Success: Universities use GRE scores to gauge an applicant’s potential for success in graduate-level studies, particularly focusing on analytical and reasoning skills.
  • Regular Updates on Score Relevance: Institutions periodically review and update their evaluation criteria for GRE and TOEFL scores, reflecting changing academic standards and program needs.
  • Consideration of Retakes: If an applicant has retaken these exams, universities may consider the best score or the most recent score, depending on their policy.
  • Contextual Evaluation: Scores are often evaluated in the context of the applicant’s background, including educational, cultural, and socio-economic factors.

Did You Know ?

The GRE and TOEFL tests are not just about English proficiency or academic readiness; they reflect an applicant’s dedication and commitment to pursuing higher education, often influencing scholarship opportunities and program eligibility.


Understanding GRE and TOEFL scores is key for those aiming to study in US universities. These scores not only reflect academic and English proficiency but are crucial in admissions.

Proper preparation and understanding of specific university requirements can enhance your application. Embrace this journey, and let your scores pave the way to educational success in the USA.

Embark on your journey to academic excellence and unlock the doors to top U.S. universities with Ambitio. Start your preparation journey with us today and transform your potential into success.

Ambitio’s GRE Bootcamp: Your Pathway to Top Scores Begins Here! Start your journey to GRE success with a curriculum crafted for ambitious minds, focused on delivering exceptional results.


What is a good GRE score for top US universities?

A good GRE score typically ranges between 320 to 340 for most top US universities. However, requirements can vary, so it’s advisable to check the specific criteria of each university.

Can I apply to US universities without a TOEFL score?

Most US universities require a TOEFL score for non-native English speakers. Some may accept alternatives like IELTS, but it’s important to verify with each institution.

How important are GRE and TOEFL scores in the admission process?

These scores are crucial as they demonstrate your academic abilities and English proficiency. However, universities also consider other factors like academic records, letters of recommendation, and personal statements.

What is the minimum TOEFL score required for US universities?

The minimum TOEFL score generally ranges from 80 to 100 for most top universities. Some competitive programs may require higher scores.

Can I improve my chances of admission with a high GRE or TOEFL score?

Yes, high scores can significantly enhance your application, especially in competitive programs. However, they should be complemented with a strong overall profile.

Are there alternatives if my GRE or TOEFL scores are low?

Some universities offer conditional admission or language preparation programs for students with lower scores. Additionally, improving your scores through retakes is always an option.

Build your profile to get into top colleges


Almost there!

Just enter your OTP, and your planner will be on its way!

Code sent on

Resend OTP (30s)

Resend OTP

Your Handbook Is Waiting on WhatsApp!

Please have a look, and always feel free to reach out for any detailed guidance



Click here to download

Meanwhile check out your dashboard to access various tools to help you in your study abroad journey


Get Ambitio Pro!

Unlock Advanced Features for a More Comprehensive Application Experience!


Start your Journey today

Find your Dream school now⭐️


Welcome! Let's Land Your Dream Admit.


Almost there!

Just enter your OTP, and your planner will be on its way!

Code sent on

Resend OTP (30s)

Resend OTP
Scroll to Top