Most of the universities require at least 212 on a computer based test.
Better ones ask for atleast 250.
Some also consider a score of 200.
The importance of TOEFL is decided by the program of your choice. If you are applying to a English language program then certainly TOEFL score plays an important part.
Please keep in mind that TOEFL is not the only deciding factor for an admission decision.However it allows your application to pass the initial screening.
You will appreciate this better if you know as to how your application is processed.
Admission process is not a mathematical formula where you input certain things and the output is a forgone conclusion.
When we advice that certain norms should be observed while applying it only implies that from experience we have observed that the probability of admission increases if one adheres to them.
Admission process involves:
1. Certain Objective Factors
2. And some Subjective Ones
3. Lastly university’s admission environment at the time of your applying.
The objective ones are your GPA,GRE/SAT and TOEFL scores.To this I will also add your selection of the university or program compatible to your credentials.
The subjective factors are SOP, recommendations.
Both of the above are explained in detail in my earlier postings.
The 3rd factor of Univs admission environment is explained here.This can be understood by citing some examples.
There are times when a student with top class credentials is rejected by a university like Kent State University but he is accepted by NCSU or CMU.Why?This can be understood if you view this from each university’s perspective.
What does a university take in consideration while deciding about an application?
Now again there are factors which are
B. Hidden Agenda
A. The Apparent Factors are 1 and 2 stated above and these are the ones which the university states when asked.The web sites of the universities will tell you what minimum GPA or GRE or TOEFL scores they need. They will also tell you about the SOP and Recos but will never tell about their hidden agenda.
B. What is the Hidden Agenda?
Universities will like to have a diversified community they will never like to have all or majority of students from the same geographical region or economical standing.
A university may be cash strap and may have decided to cut down on recruitment of students.
There may not be a professor available or willing to take you under him.This means either your type of research is not being carried out or the professor who is conducting it is not accepting additional students.
Lastly what is the competition saying? If there are students having a better match with the universities requirements then your candidature shall be overlooked.This competitive position is not static so it will change each year.You may be rejected one year but may be offered admission next year.
Thus you will see that admission process like any thing in life is neither a science so that it be governed by a mathematical formula nor it is an art.I feel that it is an art of using science to help you.