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Rise in GSAS Applications Is Greatest in Country This Year


Applications to graduate schools are up more this year at Harvard than at any institution in the country.

An article in the March 5 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that applications to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are up 18 per cent over this time a year ago. On a national average, graduate schools seem to be experiencing a mild increase in applications, the article said.

A year ago at this time, GSAS applications were down by almost 20 per cent from 1971, having dropped from 5343 to 4330. This year's increase to 5114 has almost returned applications to the 1971 level.

Economics and Biology show particularly large increases in applications. The increase in Biology applications--up from 110 to 183--may be attributable to the tight medical school situation, Nina P. Hillgarth, head of the Admissions Office in the GSAS, said yesterday.

Engineering applications are at virtually the same level as a year ago, down to 240 from 246.

The overall jump in applications comes at a time when the GSAS is trying to cut back on enrollment. According to Richard A. Kraus, assistant to the Dean of the GSAS, the graduate school took a class of 587 this year and is aiming at 550 for next Fall. It is not clear why this application increase occurred in the face of such cutbacks.

Kraus said yesterday, "we'll be offering on the average ... considerably more financial aid than any other institution." But he discounted this as a factor in Harvard's application increase since applicants didn't know this in advance.

Hillgarth said that part of the increase may be due to applicants who are directly out of college. "Stopping out" of higher education has been gaining popularity in recent years and it is possible that a large number of those who "stopped out" are now returning to higher education, she said.

It is not certain whether the application increases include more minority and women applicants. Kraus said that he has not been overwhelmed by the number of minority applicants, but added that he could not compare this year's experience with any other because this is his first year in his present position.

Gale D. Merseth '67, director of Admissions and Fellowships at the Business School, said that Business School applications are up by about 10 per cent over a year ago. He speculated that applications from women may be up by as much as 50 per cent over last year.

Nationally, most of the major private institutions are experiencing increases in applications. The picture at major public universities is more uneven. Applications are up 7 per cent at the University of Iowa and 12 per cent at the University of California at Berkeley, but down 10 per cent at the University of Ilinois's Urbana campus

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