It should come as no surprise that 2009 and 2010 have been big years for graduate school admissions. Applications are in, for the most part, and it's start to start tallying exactly how many students applied. Because jobs have been so hard to secure for recent graduates and young professionals, many have turned to graduate school to wait out the recession and learn some new marketable skills in the process.
While we wait for application numbers to be released, ETS has announced that the number of GRE test-takers reached an all-time high in 2009. After declining in 2008, the GRE came back with a vengeance. The number of GREs administered increased by 9 percent last year, to 675,000 globally. Although it'd be easy to say that this jump is just recession inspired, the truth is a bit more complicated.
Last year, the number of business schools accepting the GRE in addition to the GMAT increased by 68 percent--top schools like MIT Sloan, Harvard, Stanford and Wharton came on board in 2009. That year, the number of GRE test-takers who indicated that they plan to apply to business school doubled. Says David G. Payne, ETS' VP and COO for College and Graduate Programs, "In this economy especially, the flexibility to use one test for admission to both graduate and business programs is great for students who want to ensure that they have options. It's a huge benefit to them." This trend towards flexibility also coincides with an increasingly young MBA student body, which indicates that students may be taking the GRE during or right after college--before their graduate school plans are set in stone.
The GRE's uses aren't the only thing diversifying: the test-takers are, too. "Volumes are up almost everywhere--domestically and in major international markets like China and Europe," says Payne. "We also saw double-digit growth from many traditionally underrepresented minority groups in 2009. Quite simply, our applicant pool continues to expand and diversify as more and more people take the GRE test worldwide." The international reach of the GRE was one of the reasons business schools cited for accepting the test.
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