We hear that the sorry state of the economy has forced many experienced candidates to consider graduate education. However the numbers do not reflect this trend. According to the New York Times, there was an 8.4 percent increase in graduate school applications between 2009 and 2010. However here is the puzzling part: the enrollment numbers at graduate schools in the United States dropped slightly during the same period. While the number of new international graduate students coming to study in the US rose 4.7 percent from 2009 to 2010, the first-time enrollment of domestic students actually declined 1.2 percent in the same period.
“Both historically and in recent years, there’s been an inverse relationship between the economy and graduate student enrollment,” Dr. Stewart said. “But now, they’re both down, so the question is, why?”
While accurate data of domestic application rate is hard to get, data from some graduate programs certainly indicate that even though more domestic students are applying for graduate schools, the acceptance rate and enrollment rate is down. Certainly the cost of graduate school has been a factor in enrollment rate declines. Admission counseling, even for graduate school, can really help in improving the overall acceptance and enrollment rate. Their advice on admissions and overall career can really make a difference. You do want to get into a graduate program where your chances of admission is high and the return on your education investments are somewhat assured.
For adults, a degree is a means rather than an end, says David Petersam, president of AdmissionsConsultants in Vienna, Va. Younger students, he says, typically go to college because they feel they must and often obtain first jobs that have nothing to do with their majors but allow them time to explore career direction. Adults going back to school have no such luxury.
Applying to graduate program is an arduous process with little room for error. While we advocate taking your GRE Prep very seriously, the other aspects of graduate school application process such as selection of the school, the graduate program, the admissions essays are equally important.