Thinking about applying to grad school? Well, so are more prospective students than ever, so you’re in good company. Are you following the trends, or carving your own niche? And what does that mean for you either way?

For all their traditions, graduate programs are subject to trends in applications and student interest. Just as many students want to study STEM fields after being inspired by the giants of big tech, current events shape trends in postgraduate education, and particularly in light of the COVID pandemic, this holds truer than ever. So here are some trends in graduate school applications and admissions to keep your eye on:

Healthcare and Health Policy Are “In”

It’s no secret that healthcare was in the spotlight in 2020 and 2021. Amid the uncertainties of the COVID pandemic, many were grateful for doctors and nurses in their communities, health policy experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the scientists and researchers behind the COVID vaccines. So it should come as no surprise that many are turning their admiration into inspiration and applying to graduate programs around healthcare and health policy! If you’re interested in following their lead, but think med school might not be right for you, fear not—there are plenty of programs that may be a better fit, from a Master’s in Public Health (MPH), to a Public Policy program with a strong focus in community health. Healthcare is a vital field that needs a wide variety of roles, so you have plenty of options!

Test-Optional Stays in Place—but LSATs Remain

If you’re applying to an MA, PhD, or MBA program, there’s a decent chance you’re applying to a school that’s experimenting with a “test-optional” policy around the GRE or the GMAT. This means you’re not required to take the tests or submit your scores to apply. Should you still take the GRE or the GMAT? Absolutely! A good score can only help you, possibly help you a lot, and given how many people are likely applying to graduate programs in the coming cycle, anything to help you stand out is definitely worth doing.

If you’re applying to law school, however, test-optional is nothing you need to think about—the LSAT, with its affiliation with the American Bar Association (ABA), is very much here to stay for all accredited law schools.

Law Schools Are Bursting with Applicants

Speaking of law schools, applying to one is more popular than it’s been in a decade! Between the disruptions caused to the last application cycle by the pandemic, and recent social justice movements inspiring many students to take an interest in the law, more and more people are interested in going to law school. If you’re one of their number, this means you’ll need to put your best foot forward to stand out from the crowd.

But what if these trends don’t apply to you? Well, that’s a good thing too—it means you’re unique! Moreover, you can focus on your own application without worrying as much about “the competition.” But whether your grad school fashion sense is up to date or not, the most important thing is to focus on making your application as strong as it can be, which will be your first step to an amazing grad school career!

If you're looking for additional guidance on how to apply for grad schools, contact us today!