There was an article in the “New York Times” this past weekend entitled, “The Master’s as the New Bacherlor’s”┬áthat tells the story of a generation of students receiving more formal schooling than ever before. Conan O’Brien may have joked to graduating Dartmouth College students that they were receiving a degree that only 92% of Americans their age would ever know but underneath that joke, there is truth. So what are students doing now to distinguish themselves in the workforce? They’re earning more degrees. Applications to graduate schools are soaring. MBAs. JDs. MDs. PhDs. You name the field – however obscure or seemingly useless for the job search – and students are pursuing degrees in these studies.

Grad School Applications, Graduate School Apps, Admission to Grad School, Admission to Graduate Schools

More students are submitting applications to graduate school than ever before...and putting off the job search for later.

They’re doing it to wait out the economy. They’re doing it because their friends are doing it. They’re doing it because they don’t know what they want to do with their lives. And, yes, some are doing it because they know for certain that they want to be, say, physicians or anthropologists and, to do so, graduate degrees are a prerequisite. But is there conclusive evidence that earning these degrees actually helps in the job search? Or does it simply prolong the agony of the search? See our post on how newly minted law school graduates struggle on the job market and yet there are more law school applicants than at any other time in our nation’s history.

So who is to benefit from these advanced degrees if not the students who pay small fortunes to receive them? The “New York Times” article points out the answer: universities and employers. While university endowments may suffer during this weak economy (their investments won’t do as well, their grads won’t donate quite as much), their finances are certainly aided by the increased graduate school applications! In fact, universities expand graduate programs during these tough economic times to make more money. Universities, after all, are capitalists and should their PR spin insist otherwise, don’t believe it for a second.

Check out our post on Graduate School Admissions or our post on Law School Admissions Statistics. And here’s the “New York Times” article on graduate school.

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