Grad school applications up 16 percent

Graduate applications continue to rise, with the University reporting an average increase of 16 percent over this time last year.

Kristin Williams, assistant vice president for Graduate and Special Enrollment Management, said the largest increases have come from domestic students from outside the D.C. area and international students, which posted increases of 25 and 17 percent respectively as compared to the same time last year. In contrast, the number of applications from students in D.C. area was down by 5.8 percent.

“Locally, there’s a lot of competition,” Williams said.

These numbers were reflected in the School of Business, which has seen a 30 percent increase in the number of full-time MBA applicants, and a decrease in the professional MBA program, which is part-time. Associate Dean for Graduate Program Murat Tarimcilar said the part-time program is aimed at the local market.

Unlike undergraduate admissions, graduate school admissions decisions and deadlines are spread throughout the year and made at the discretion of the individual departments and programs. The Hatchet reported in January that applications were up by 7 percent.

Williams said that the number of graduate school acceptances was up 22 percent, but added that the number fluctuates every week and does not necessarily mean GW will see an increase in the overall number of graduate students. Many master’s and doctoral programs change their number of acceptances based on what resources are available and how many students are currently in the program.

Williams said some programs are processing their applicants faster to give students as much time as possible to make their decisions.

“This year is a little unique and if anything we expect a smaller percentage of admits will decide to go here,” she said. “Not everyone is so comfortable with going back to school. They’re being a little more conservative with commitment.”

Stephen Lorenz, executive assistant to the art therapy program, said his department planned to double the number of students in its graduate program over the next two years, after moving from the Mount Vernon Campus to a new, larger building in Alexandria, Va. The number of applications has increased by less than previous years, however.

“People are very excited about the new building,” Lorenz said. “I think that is counteracting the down economy.”

The Law School, like the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, is tabulated separately from the rest of the graduate schools and has seen an 8 percent increase in application volume over last year.

Williams said GW’s D.C. location makes it a “unique school” that does not always follow national trends. She called the renewed interest in D.C. the “Obama halo effect.”

The School of Medicine and Health Sciences reported a 3.2 percent increase in admissions earlier this year. The announcement came on the heels of the news that the medical school had been placed on academic probation by its accreditation body.

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