Following increases of 9% last year and 12% in 2006, graduate school applications from abroad increased by an anemic 3% in 2007-08. A few highlights from the Council of Graduate School's survey:
- Among regular participants in the survey, international applications are down 16% since 2003.
- Applications to CGS U.S. member institutions from both China and the Middle East increased 12% this year, but that figure pales when compared to gains of 19% and 17% last year, respectively.
- Specific fields are experiencing sharp changes. "Physical sciences applications have increased 7%, compared to 19% last year; engineering is up just 1%, vs. 11% in 2007, and there is only 2% growth in life sciences, compared to 17% last year. There is some good news, however: applications to social sciences are up 10% after a 2% decline in 2007." Applications to graduate schools of business increased by 10% in 07-08 compared to 15% in 06-07.
I will be interested to see if the weak dollar doesn't turn the trend around, especially for applicants from countries with currencies tied to the euro.