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Note from the Editor: Asterix and US Graduate Enrolment

VU International News and Reviews No. 122 October 22 2018

October 2018

It was the year 2018. All of US Graduate Education was suffering a severe decline in international enrolment. Increasing international competition, improving higher education in Asia and a fierce anti-foreigner climate had made itself felt throughout the country. All Graduate schools were suffering.

All? No, there was one graduate school – of Engineering and Applied Sciences that was bravely holding out against the trend and were actually reversing it.

How? By using their magic potion! The magic potion of which the ingredients are secret, but we know it contains:

  • A distinction between what you are looking at (transcripts, test scores) and what you are looking for (how good they are in the subject, in English and in general academic competence) with applicants
  • An expression of what student students need to know, understand and be able to do for successful entry in the graduate class: the Learning Incomes of the programme.
  • A formulation of a ‘desired student profile’ which helped to attract fitting students and distract unfitting ones.

Using this magic potion with the successive Master’s programmes, they managed to increase graduate enrolment by no less than 25%. Only Assistant Dean of Graduate Education Chris Coonor did get portions of the magic potion: he had fallen in the caldron when it was made already six years earlier at a conference of NAGAP: National Association of Graduate Admission Professionals.

Where is this graduate school with its magic potion? It is the School of Engineering and Applied Science of the University at Buffalo, part of the State University of New York system.

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