The University of South Dakota Graduate School has reached an all-time high.
“Graduate enrollment, not including the Medical School and Law School, was at 2,157 this past fall,” Brandy Durham, director of recruitment & marketing at USD Graduate School said. “Based on information from the Institutional Research Office, this would not be the highest headcount. Only fall 2010 was higher, when enrollment was reported at 2,504, but that count was inflated due to students enrolling in a zero-credit, program-sustaining class instead of being managed as a leave of absence. We know the 2,157 headcount is real.”
There has been a large increase in the last year alone.
“Enrollment in the Graduate School — everything except Law School and Medical School — grew by 110 students or 5 percent,” Durham said.
There are a few different reasons for the increase in enrollment, but recruitment at USD has contributed the most to it.
“The Graduate School offers high quality programs, programs that are in demand in the market place,” Durham said. “We also have enhanced recruitment and marketing efforts. Our recruitment processes and recruitment coordinators — we employ recruitment coordinators for both on-campus graduate programs and off-campus graduate programs.”
USD’s recruitment of students definitely plays a huge part in the number of students enrolled in the graduate school.
“I attend graduate fairs, career fairs, visit institutions and have phone conversations with perspective students,” April Frick, Graduate School recruitment coordinator, said. “I also do classroom visits to upper-level undergraduate students. I present to them the options they have here at USD. This helps the students put a face to the school so they aren’t as intimidated.”
Something attractive about the USD Graduate School is the smaller departments.
“When students visit the departments we have at the graduate school here, they see how personable it is,” Frick said.
Monique Robinson, a third-year graduate student at USD, said she loves how small the departments are.
“The smaller departments offer more opportunities for each student to have a personal relationship with their professor,” Robinson said. “This also allows each student a chance to have an assistant job.”
Robinson, who is originally from Maryland and went to school as an undergraduate there, said she made the right choice by coming to USD.
“I had other options for graduate school,” Robinson said. “USD made an effort to make me comfortable in my decision to come here. I received personal phone calls along with emails and newsletters while they were recruiting me.”
Since Robinson’s home is so far away, it was hard for her to visit a lot before she made her final decision.
“USD allowed me to do a phone interview when I applied here,” Robinson said. “I really loved this because I didn’t have to travel out here just for an interview. They also offered me an assistant job, which helped make my decision to come here less difficult.”
USD has proven to be substantial in their recruitment process despite the economy and graduate enrollment at other schools experiencing a decrease.
“Nationwide, graduate enrollment was down about 3 percent in the fall, so for us to show an increase is a testament to what we are doing,” Durham said.