UPDATED: May 21, 12:31 p.m. CDT. This article has been updated to reflect new information from Vanderbilt received May 21 regarding another extension to the Peabody’s Master’s deadline.
Vanderbilt recently emailed seniors informing them of extended deadlines to Master’s 4+1 programs within Peabody, Arts and Sciences and Engineering for the Fall 2020 semester.
Students can now submit their application through the summer and will be admitted on a rolling basis into A&S 4+1 programs, according to an April 20 email from Assistant Dean Carrie Russell. Certain Peabody Masters program applications are due on May 15 per an April 14 email from Dean Camilla Benbow. The deadline for graduating seniors to apply to the newer Masters in Data Science program has also been extended to May 15, per a May 1 email from Career Center associate director Grace Foy.
An email sent on May 21 by Peabody Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Director Kim Brazil to graduating students extended the summer and fall application deadline for select Peabody College master’s programs to May 30.
While COVID-19 has created uncertainties for everyone, for seniors graduating this May, it has created anxiety and stress surrounding the job market. The national unemployment rate hit 4.4 percent in March, compared to 3.5 percent in December and some students have had job offers rescinded, while others are still trying to lock in a post-graduate job.
“The job market is really tough right now,” graduating senior Kelvin Boateng said.
During economic recessions, some graduating students turn to graduate school. Directly enrolling in graduate school, even if it wasn’t in a student’s previous plans can be a way for some students to “wait out” economic downturns and enter the job market at a more favorable time.
Typically, applications for Vanderbilt’s Masters programs are due in December or January based on the program. Vanderbilt currently offers 4+1 programs for 11 A&S discipline areas and graduating seniors can apply for all of them.
“The extension definitely encouraged me to apply,” Boateng said. “I’m one of those students who discovered what they really might want to do way too late to change my major. The extended deadlines are literally an opportunity to make a serious career change that might not have been there before.”
Peabody College previously sent a similar email to seniors on April 13, reminding students of Peabody’s ranking as the fourth-best education school according to U.S. News and World Report. The email informed seniors that application deadlines to certain Masters programs have been extended, with select M.Ed and M P.P. program deadlines moved to May 15.
In addition, students with a GPA of 3.0 and higher do not need to submit GRE scores, according to the April 14 email. Peabody College is also automatically considering all applicants for merit scholarships, the email said.
For Peabody senior Griffin Patterson, the extension didn’t really affect his post-graduate plans.
“I did consider utilizing the opportunity,” Patterson said. “I intend to go to graduate school at some point in the future so this was an appealing option as a HOD major. However, I already have a job lined up for after graduation, and based on the current uncertain economic climate, I saw no reason to jeopardize that opportunity.”
Patterson said that if he didn’t have a post-grad job secured, however, he would have probably considered getting a Master’s degree. Given the crisis created by the novel coronavirus, he said he thinks the decision to extend the application deadline for Master’s programs is savvy.
Vanderbilt graduate schools typically offer several merit scholarship opportunities that require separate applications. There are scholarships that pay for all or part of tuition with a maximum value of $34,380 per academic year, as well as fellowships that include stipends. Students can expect to spend around $60,769 per year in a Vanderbilt masters program.
According to Dean Mark Wallace, Vanderbilt will probably see growth in its Master’s programs, focusing on “academic areas of strength” and “market demand.” Vanderbilt did not respond to request for comment on the motivations behind the extended 4+ 1 Master’s deadlines.