Graduate school applications from Indian students are on the rise nationally and at Stony Brook University.
According to the New York Times, Graduate Record Examinations in India increased 70 percent in 2013 and applications to American graduate schools increased 22 percent in 2013.
Overall, the United States is the most frequent destination for international students. Last year, 310,000 international students attended United States graduate schools, according to the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors Report.
Graduate school faculty at Stony Brook have noticed the increase in applications as well.
“We have experienced steady, significant growths in the volume of applications over the past several years,” R. Sekar, Department of Computer Science Graduate Admissions Chair, said. “I would say the increases are in the 20 percent range.”
Many point to the increased recruitment efforts in India and better job opportunities and more reputable graduate schools in the United States as the cause of these dramatic increases in applications from Indian students.
Aashri Shridhar, secretary of the Indian Graduate Student Association and a graduate student in computer engineering, listed “the quality of education, the research going on here, opportunities to work with great professors, get good opportunities after the completion of graduate course” as reasons many Indian students choose to apply to US schools.
President of the Indian Graduate Student Association and graduate student in computer science Adheesh Gokhale added that “there are very few top-class graduate universities in India, and getting admission in them is sometimes tougher than getting an [admittance into] Stanford/Harvard.”
Though a record number of 90,000 Indian students took the GRE this year, schools are unable to increase admissions so dramatically. “The universities can increase their seats by only so much,” Gokhale said.
For those students from India admitted to Stony Brook, the most popular field of study is a Masters in Science in Computer Science. Shridhar estimates that about 80 percent of Indian students are enrolled in the computer science masters program.
Nationally, the Institute of International Education reported that 35.6 percent of Indian students study engineering while only 23.1 percent study computer science.
Though the rise in Indian graduate school applications have caught the educational world’s attention, the trend applies to other countries as well.
In general, China, India and South Korea sent the most students to American universities, according to the IIE’s Open Doors Report. The top three destinations for these students are New York, California and Texas.
Stony Brook’s experience of these national trends shows that it continues to be influenced by a world that is increasingly marked by the disappearance of borders, both inside and outside of education.