University News

Despite jump in GRE test taking, grad school apps constant

By
Staff Writer
Thursday, February 16, 2012

Graduate school application rates to the University remain constant despite a 10 percent increase in the number of students who took the Graduate Record Examination in the United States over the past year.

“GRE test scores are good for a five-year period. As a result, it is challenging to link tests taken and applications in a given year,” wrote Graduate School Director of Communications Beverly Larson in an email to The Herald.  

Though some master’s programs are still accepting applications, the total number of applications received so far is on par with last year’s numbers, Larson wrote.

Nationally, the number of people taking the GRE increased by 5 percent in 2010, according to Educational Testing Services, the company that administers the GRE. The Council of Graduate Schools reported an 8.4 percent increase in applications to graduate schools across the country between fall 2009 and fall 2010.

Testing Services officials credit a new version of the exam and more institutions accepting the GRE as reasons for the increase, according to a Feb. 8 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

“Every time there’s a recession, this is the kind of thing that happens,” said Andrew Simmons,  the director of CareerLAB.  

Many students may choose to attend graduate school directly after graduation in the hopes that the job market will have improved by the time they get their degree. 

“I knew I wanted to go to grad school eventually, and there was no reason I could think of that right after graduation wasn’t a good time for me,” said Lizette Chaparro ’12, who applied to several urban planning graduate programs.   

About 23 percent of the class of 2010 decided to go on to graduate and professional studies, according to a CareerLAB survey. CareerLAB is still in the process of gathering data for the class of 2011.  

Simmons said it is likely the number of people taking the GRE will decrease when the economy improves. But he expects the overall number of alums pursuing graduate studies to remain constant, he said.  

“No matter what the job market is, I think there’s always the attitude that people are going off in their own directions and doing things in their own order,” Chaparro said.