Grad Schools See Increase in Applicants
For an increasing number of students the answer is grad school.
It’s no surprise that the recession has reduced the number of jobs available, and many students are concerned with how that will affect their future job searches upon graduation.
The University’s own graduate school has seen a 38 percent increase in the number of graduate school applications from a 25 percent increase the year before. The program has received a total of 837 applications so far as opposed to 608 at this point last year.
“People are deciding to sit out the recession,” said Marianne Gumpper, director of the Graduate and Continuing Studies Admission. “Many are losing jobs and looking to re-tool.”
Gumpper says that Fairfield is happy with the increase in grad school applications, stating that the goal is to eventually reach 1,500 enrolled students. Currently it has almost 1,300, compared to the less than 1,100 the year before. One of the programs that has seen the biggest growth is the Counseling Education Program (CEP), which had to eliminate its April 15 deadline for applications because the program had reached capacity.
The CEP, which includes programs in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling, seems like a good choice for those looking to find a job eventually, as there seems to be an increasing demand for teachers.
“[The applicants] are doing their homework and they know where the jobs are,” said Gumpper.
The question remains whether this is the best option for undergraduate students. Should students opt to go right from college and enroll in a graduate program simply because they think that it’s better to wait out the economy instead of finding a job?
Grant Miller ‘10 is a senior who plans on going to grad school because he genuinely wants to, but doesn’t see a problem with students applying just because.
“If you don’t have a job yet, why not? It’s a good way to build credentials. I don’t think there’s a problem with that,” he said.
Cath Borgman, director of the Career Planning Center, disagrees. She doesn’t think students should go to grad school as a “knee-jerk reaction.”
“I personally think it’s a bad idea,” she says. “It’s a lot of money and when you get out, you’ll still be just as confused but with a big bill over your head.” Still, she has seen a number of students wanting to talk about grad school and their options.
“A lot of people are talking about it, more out of panic than anything else. When the economy is bad, people panic.”
That’s not to say that grad school isn’t the right option for many students, but the point is that grad school becomes a richer experience if you have a specific career goal in mind, or you’re enrolled in grad school after getting some real-world work experience, according to Borgman.
Beth-Anne Voight Jause ‘10 is planning on a grad program in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and while the move is necessary for what she wants to do for her future career, she acknowledges that the decision is in some way affected by the recession.
“If the economy was better I might take some more time to really think about what it is I want to do with my life, but I can’t really afford to take a year off,” she said.
And by the huge increase in graduate school applications, it’s clear that she’s not the only one who feels this way.