The Year in Admissions

by Vault Education Editors | May 28, 2009

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Hello and welcome to Admit One, Vault's new education and admissions blog. Here, we will cover everything from advice on how to get into your dream law school to changes in university administrations, to the MBA recruiting climate. It's a big task, but we're up to it!

Needless to say, applying to law school and business school are very different from applying to college. Prospective law and MBA students are at a different point in their lives and careers than graduating high schoolers. But when you get down to it, applying is applying. Everyone gets the same jitters and has the same dream school they'd kill to get into. So application advice and education news is somewhat universal.

With introductions out of the way, it's time to get down to business. The 2008-2009 application climate was extremely tense and competitive. The largest-ever high school class (according to the U.S. Census Bureau) graduated in May, and those continuing on to college submitted their applications in November and December. But increased competition for spots wasn't the only worry. Concerns about paying for college rose to new heights, as parents and students dealt with smaller budgets and diminished savings caused by the recession. But in the end, everything seemed to work out. Students chose schools they could afford, and schools reached their target yields.

The same can be said for 2008-2009 law school and MBA admissions. Whether it was part of the plan before the job market turned dismal, people are looking to school to survive the next two to three years. Prospective students took the LSAT and GMAT in record numbers in 2008 (LSAT takers were up 15 percent in June and 3 percent in December of that year; GMAT takers increased 10.35 percent overall from 2007 to 2008), and attendance at admissions information sessions and open houses was staggering (up 20 percent for some business schools!). Although 77 percent of MBA programs saw an increase in app numbers according to GMAC's Application Trends Survey, of those, very few saw the explosion the media was predicting. However, the upward trend is expected to increase through 2010, so the biggest boom may still be yet to come.

Law schools also saw an underwhelming increase in applications in the 2008-2009 admissions cycle. Interestingly, the jump was staggering at some schools and minimal at others, and with the national average increase evening out to less than 1 percent. JD programs in Washington, D.C. were particularly popular this year--not too surprising after an election year. Like business schools, law schools are looking to the next two years for big application numbers.

So while some industries are getting hit hard by the recession, education is booming! Well, somewhat. University endowments are the lowest they've been since the 1970s. This means schools are tightening their budgets and cutting costs. However, with a substantial part of the economic stimulus package going to education, nationally-funded colleges and universities may be in the clear. We'll just have to wait and see how the chips fall. So stay tuned to Admit One.

Filed Under: Education

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