Thanks to the “Great Recession” as it is being called, unemployment figures have almost doubled since 2005; and they have ripple effects into other aspects of peoples’ lives. For many people, higher unemployment means a lower chance of getting accepted by a graduate school.
Reportedly, this period of time in America is one of the most competitive in history. Because of the unemployment rates (In February it was 10.4% according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), many people are going back to school. The USBLS also published a graph in 2008 that draws a good correlation between unemployment rates and fluctuation in the number of people enrolling in graduate schools. When faced with the option of being unemployed or attaining a higher education, many people are choosing graduate school.
Normally graduate schools, depending on the program and the university, are competitive as it is, but with the huge influx of the unemployed, the pool of applicants is much bigger than usual for graduate school and internships. As a direct result, the period of applying is much more competitive than usual.
CNBC shows a similar trend, saying that when the job market dries up, the unemployed try to go back to school in order to increase their marketability upon graduating (http://www.cnbc.com/id/34256312/). This will in theory increase their ability to get a job when the economy recovers.
For those who are about to graduate, such as myself, it has been a very frustrating time. Even though the vast majority of us are wholly qualified for many programs across the country, the rejection letters keep piling in.
I will say that Georgetown has been the only University to have the decency to reject me with an actual rejection letter. The others, who will remain nameless, directed me to a website for their rejections. Totally classy.
Naturally the unemployment rate is a huge problem for the economy. It goes without saying. However, when unemployment goes up, so do enrollment figures of vocational schools, who are “for profit” colleges, which are much more expensive than public or private college equivalents.
Unemployment has great implications for the economy, and can even ripple down to how many applicants are accepted into universities.