Why is this year the most competitive year for applications?


I've seen a few people on here saying that this is the most competitive year as of yet, bc GRE is waived this cycle. But aren't more people facing financial difficulties this year, compared to previous years? Isn't there also a possibility that classes may still be virtual, given the new mutant strain and all?

Jan 7, 21 9:38 pm

Going to school during a recession can be a super smart move, assuming the economy rebounds in time for your graduation. 

Jan 7, 21 9:44 pm  · 
2  · 

Believe the current vaccines still work against the mutated strain, thankfully. Just need to hope it gets distributed before then...

Jan 7, 21 9:45 pm  · 

Yea, I've heard many times, even one of the professors teach in my school. But I hope it's not true. Maybe more applicants, I guess.

Jan 7, 21 9:52 pm  · 

I agree on having financial difficulties being a pivotal factor in lesser applications this year, which baffles me why suddenly this coming cycle is the "most competitive" when there could be potentially less applicants this year. Although, the virtual or online setup could be a factor for some, if not most, for more international (and some domestic) applicants to apply. The transition to that medium last year only proved that it was possible; albeit not as effective as face-to-face but still doable. Another expense often overlooked in pursuing graduate studies is living costs. It's one thing to be able to pay (or not have to pay) for tuition, but it's another to meet the expenses of moving to where the school is and adjusting to the living standards there. 

As I mentioned in Afriendlyguy's other post, this idea of "most competitive" simply stems from the fact that because of COVID, certain admissions requirements that were waived like the GRE became challenging to attain given the restrictions (+ costly, given that the entire world is suddenly pushed into recession) which opened up an opportunity for those who never applied to the schools that required it, and in turn schools get to receive the applications, or the worthy students, that they lost out on because of these extra requirements. If anything, I'd say the current cycle of applicants probably crafted more interesting portfolios and essays compared to the previous years, given what they had to go through mentally and profoundly while doing it in the midst of the pandemic. 

Yes, there could be more applicants, but it's not like they're giving out 100% scholarships + stipends to all those who get accepted that makes this cycle the  "most competitive." I also wonder if schools will even be giving out the same amount or quantity of scholarships when the pandemic has made them lose more money (given that there have been, some prominent, schools that had closed down)? 

Jan 8, 21 1:01 am  · 
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Interesting topic and discussion/speculation.  It would be great to hear from someone who works in masters programs admissions or has spoken directly with someone who works in admissions.

I wonder if this is true across the board or perhaps just the more competitive schools.

Jan 8, 21 10:28 am  · 
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I’m cursing data won’t be absolute for awhile, but it’s hard for me to imagine this year with more applications than the depths of the Great Recession, 09/10

Jan 8, 21 8:31 pm  · 
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