Graduate schools nationwide see increase in applicants

The number of applications for admissions to U.S. graduate schools increased at an average rate of 4.5 percent between the years of 2002 and 2012, a study by the Council of Graduate Schools found this month.

The study showed that applications to U.S. graduate schools increased 3.9 percent between fall 2011 and fall 2012, while graduate applications grew at an average annual rate of 4.5 percent.

“At Marquette, we have a similar pattern, with growth in both numbers of applications and accepted students enrolling this fall,” said Carl Wainscott, director of graduate admission at Marquette.

The total number of applicants accepted nationwide for graduate school was 39.6 percent, including 38.8 percent for non-profit private schools and 40 percent for public schools. The national increase came after a sharp 8.8 percent drop in fall 2011.

“Nationally, the number of student enrolling in graduate programs (had) been decreasing over the past few years,” Wainscott said, adding that Marquette saw two years of declining enrollments before the increase.

Wainscott suggests that the improving economy is a large reason for the graduate application increase.

“It has made the idea of incurring student loans for graduate education somewhat less daunting for perspective students,” he said.

Daniel Garces, a graduate student in the College of Engineering, said he decided to pursue a graduate degree in hopes of getting an ideal career.

“I knew that what I wanted to do required the degree and I had the drive to continue studying,” he said.

Although many admission specialists, including Wainscott, said they hope the numbers continue to rise, but Wainscott said there is no guarantee they will.

“Although I hope these numbers will increase,” he said, “actions taken on the federal level regarding student loans and research funding has a real and direct impact on graduate education at Marquette as well as graduate education as a whole.”

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