No one should be surprised by the findings of a recent study of graduate school admissions by the Council of Graduate Schools. The council found that applications rose by 8.3 percent after the economy collapsed in 2008. Shocker. Unless you hide under a rock at the hint of an economic crisis, you know that more people apply to graduate and professional schools when there are fewer jobs available, hoping more education will help them find a position.
However, the study did have some interesting results beyond its groundbreaking "more applications" announcement. While business, engineering and social sciences degree programs saw an increase in applications, health services was the real winner, with a 14.6 percent increase in applications from 2008 to 2009. Those candidates pursuing a health services degree have made a wise choice, as health services is one of the fastest growing professions, according to the Department of Labor. As the need for health care professionals continues to increase in the next 10 years, it seems these soon-to-be graduates will be in the right place at the right time.
Other news: the boys are catching up to the ladies in grad school. Male enrollments increased 6.7 percent, while female enrollments rose only 4.7 percent. Minority students are also catching up: rising by 0.8 percent from 2008 to 2009, they now represent almost 30 percent of graduate students.
Sadly, the number of international graduate students in U.S. schools continue to decrease, dropping by 1.5 percent. This is likely for two reasons: (1) It remains difficult for international students to get student loans for U.S. schools; and (2) Foreign graduate schools are increasing in quality and employment prospects. In other words, why spend all the money to attend school in the United States when you can get a great education at home for cheaper?
But in the end, none of this is really news, right? We all knew this was coming. If a school is looking to increase its diversity and can choose from a larger, more diverse applicant pool, then it will be in a good position to do so. So good things can come from economic crises!
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