GMAT, LSAT Lose Popularity Among Students

Tiarra Medley

By Tiarra MedleyContributing Writer

For college students, some decisions are made with one eye on the present and another cast toward the future. Some students already know what they want to do after graduation, while others are still working to find their niche.

But at the end of the four-year undergraduate journey, all NU students must make a decision about where their lives are headed.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the percentage of students taking the GMATs for business school every year is decreasing; the number of students who took the LSATs for law school in the past two years has decreased by 5 percent. While some students decide to pursue another degree through graduate study, more head straight into the work force armed with just a bachelor’s degree.

But the value of a graduate degree has not necessarily waned, some students said.

“A bachelor’s is becoming less and less adequate to remaining competitive,” SESP senior Andrew Davis said. “A master’s is becoming an expected credential. The more you can document having learned, the more you’re worth in corporate America.”

Davis, however, is forgoing graduate school for now.

But while graduate study might have merits, now might be the perfect time to join the work force, according to a survey taken by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report, compiled in 2006, measured unemployment in the U.S. at 4.6 percent of the work force. This falls within the “normal” rate of employment.

“When the job market is good, people are much more apt to give it a try than go right into law school or business school,” economics Prof. Mark Witte said. “And the offers tend to be better at this time.”

Others may be motivated to seek employment after college by changing criteria for graduate school admittance.

“I think that graduate schools are starting to value work experience more, which causes people to apply to grad school later if at all,” McCormick senior Craig Carter said.

He said he plans to pursue graduate study eventually but that he will head into the workplace after graduation.

Despite the lower number of students taking the GMATs, the number of people completing graduate education in the U.S. is rising. During the last economic slump from 2001 to 2005, NU’s Graduate School saw steadily increasing numbers, with enrollment growing from 7,833 enrolled in 2001-02 to 8,632 in 2004-05.

Reach Tiarra Medley at [email protected]