Data Take the Wheel: Your New Dashboard and How to Use It

As academics ourselves, we know we don’t have to sell you on the importance of data and the value of data-based decision-making. With that (and your feedback) in mind, we recently designed and launched a Program Dashboard to help you monitor your Programs’ performance at a glance (see our example below).

Dashboard insights are a powerful way to: 

  • Assess program performance in real-time by analyzing the number of ingoing and outgoing bookmarks. Ideally, your programs are receiving a good number of incoming bookmarks as well as proactively bookmarking prospective students.
  • Identify best practices and opportunities for improvement with programs that are not using the platform to its full potential. Find out what the successful programs are doing well and how others can learn from them.  
  • Develop benchmarks and an action plan for the coming year based on admission goals. Decide on target numbers for the coming year and stay tuned for our next post on how to turn your Dashboard insights into action.

We envisioned the Dashboard as a place for program users to gather all the insights you need to take action and make the most of your subscription. Here, you can monitor the programs in your account and make changes immediately. Let’s take a closer look by clicking on one of the Programs (Architecture, in this case).

The dashboard allows you to quickly monitor three key metrics.Using the Dashboard, you can easily keep tabs on three key metrics (called out in the above image):

  1. Program Profile completion – Is your profile complete and does it provide prospects with all pertinent information? Your goal here is 100% completion.
  2. Engagement with prospective students  – Is your program receiving more interest from students than your Collaborators can handle? Together, these numbers are a key indicator of how much interest a program is generating. Your target number here depends on your program size, but you should strive to maximize the number of bookmarks your program receives.
  3. Usage by Collaborators – Who are your top Collaborators? Are all of your Collaborators connecting with prospective students? Ideally, you’ve selected different kinds of Collaborators (faculty, staff and students) to answer different kinds of questions and they have all learned how to use the platform.

We built the dashboard with you (our Program users) in mind, and we hope you find it really useful. We think the new Dashboard will enhance the program user experience by making Gradschoolmatch easier to do the things you need to do to be successful. And like we said, stay tuned for our step-by-step post on how to build an action plan using the new Dashboard.

If we can help you maximize the data from this new tool, or if you have any feedback on it, please don’t hesitate to contact us . We would love to hear from you!


“The Right Match”: How Gradschoolmatch Launched One Student’s Career

The Right Match (Diverse Issues in Higher Education, September 8, 2016).

Student who found perfect match in her new graduate program.
Source: Diverse Issues in Higher Education

“The first time Alyssa Rodriguez applied to graduate school, she ended up being waitlisted. But when no spot opened up, she began work as an associate scientist at a small biopharmaceutical company in San Diego.

“My original plan was to work in [the] industry for at least two years and then apply to graduate school again,” says Rodriguez, who graduated from the University of San Diego in 2015 with a degree in biochemistry. Once I had accepted the fact that I would not be starting graduate school in fall 2015, I started my graduate school research once again that summer.”

Only this time around, Rodriguez discovered and ultimately decided to use – a new website that seeks to match prospective grad school students with graduate schools.

It only took a day before Rodriguez started to see results.

“The next day, I checked my profile and was very surprised to see that I had already received messages from various graduate school program directors,” Rodriguez says. “I was in such shock that I shared the news with my mom that programs were interested in my profile.”

Rodriguez says what surprised her the most was that she could clearly see that the messages were “not spam and that truly there were assistant deans and directors on the other end of the message.”

One of those messages came from Beth Bowman, assistant director of graduate programs in biomedical sciences at Vanderbilt University.

Bowman considers a “fantastic avenue for graduate programs to get to know individual candidates in the global applicant pool.”

“This sort of individual communication not only allows programs to showcase what they have to offer, but also allows a program to individualize their communication to a specific student,” Bowman says. “Personal recruiting is the best avenue to bring students to any program and GradSchoolMatch makes this ideal recruiting strategy a reality.”

Asked if the website was simply a nice thing to have or a necessity to attract and engage candidates, Bowman says: “I think more and more, this site is getting close to being a necessity for graduate program recruiting for any program interested in getting to know their applicants.

“These days, there are so many programs on the site that a student may miss out on a program that doesn’t have a presence here.”

Bowman says the website – which is free to students – helps facilitate the diversity of candidates as well.

“In my mind, this site helps to promote diversity of candidates in the program simply by being a free site and avenue for programs and candidates to get to know each other,” Bowman says. “This helps to remove any cost barrier that is typically present in a graduate program application process.”

Bowman says the website has helped Vanderbilt by increasing the number of candidates that the school can communicate with during the application process. “We are pleased to be able to pick the candidates that fit our program best,” Bowman says.

Inside the site was started by T.J. Murphy, an associate professor of pharmacology at Emory University.

He says that the website has around 400,000 user profiles and that the number is growing daily. About 30 percent of the student users are underrepresented minorities and about 20 percent are from overseas, he says.

The students come from a range of academic disciplines and specializations, Murphy says.”

Please click here to read the complete article in Diverse Issues in Higher Education (September 8, 2016).


Most Students Relocate to Attend Graduate School

Move_LocationLocation is an important consideration when someone decides to go to graduate school. The vast majority of graduate students, it turns out, are willing, able and make the move. In our national, randomized survey of current graduate students we asked if they had moved in order to attend graduate school. As you can see in the first figure, almost 87% of the respondents enrolled in graduate programs that required a relocation.

Half of all students reported staying within the same region of the country as their previous residence, a number that includes the 13% of students who did not relocate at all.

That half our respondents would not stray far is an interesting finding, but it doesn’t surprise us. Moving, while staying at least within the same region of one’s previous residence, is most likely a reflection of the strength of things familiar.

It may be that students want to remain close to family and friends, but we suspect it also reflects an indication of how far university “brands” are able to reach prospective graduate students. Most brands are better known in the minds of prospects who live nearby, whereas brands are probably less well known by prospects living farther away.

We did some further analysis to get a better sense of which students stay close to home compared to those who choose programs in a new city or even a new country.

Where a student chooses to go to graduate school depends on the level of degree they plan to pursue. Respondent’s location and program type are shown in the second figure.  Students pursuing Certificate and Master’s degrees tended to stay closer to home, with more than 65% of students choosing a graduate school in the same state or region as their previous residence. This number drops to about 40% for students pursuing Doctoral or Dual Degrees.

Students Relocate

Students attending graduate school in the same state as their previous residence applied on average to the fewest number of programs, 3.8. While students attending schools further from home applied to higher numbers of programs, 5.6 for students within their region, 5.9 for students in a program outside the region of their previous residence, and 6.0 for students moving to the United States from another country.

While the students staying close to home applied to the fewest programs, they had the highest average acceptance rate. Students attending school in the same state had an acceptance rate of 57% compared to a 52% acceptance rate overall. Those students moving to a different state within their region, outside of their region and outside of their country had decreasing acceptance rates with an average of 54%, 50% and 45% respectively.

In summary, the vast majority of graduate students appear willing and able to move to enroll in graduate school. Competition for the better students who live nearby is stiff, because they apply to fewer programs and get accepted into more. These survey results indicate that to recruit more successfully, graduate programs will need a strategy to proactively reach out to prospects beyond their geographic boundaries. The data show that most students will relocate to attend graduate school. They just need to hear from programs they probably don’t even know exist.


Check out the other articles on our current graduate student survey:

Survey of Current Graduate Students

Graduate Student Survey – Demographics and Fields of Study

Students Don’t Apply to Many Graduate Programs

Getting Into Grad School – How to Improve Your Chances

Are Grad Students Happy?

How to Choose the Right Graduate School


Students Don’t Apply to Many Graduate Programs

A principle goal of our randomized national survey of current graduate students (see an introduction and our methods here) is to better understand the application strategies of successful students. Such insight would be useful to graduate programs seeking to deepen the quality of their application pools.

Our survey respondents self-reported that they applied to anywhere from one to 30 different graduate programs, with a surprisingly large fraction, 22% of students, applying to just a single program. Approximately three-quarters of our current graduate respondents applied to 6 or fewer programs.

The median number of programs our survey respondents applied to is only four and they were accepted by a median of two programs. Overall, the respondents were accepted by an average of two-thirds of the programs that they applied to.

We segmented our respondents on the basis of the award level for the programs they are currently enrolled in and this data is shown in the accompanying figure. The application number increases for students applying to more comprehensive degree programs with an inverse relationship to acceptance rates.

For example, the median number of applications prepared by our respondents enrolled in a master’s program is only 3. The master’s students were accepted into an average of ~80% of the programs to which they applied. Doctoral students applied to twice as many programs as master’s applicants and they were accepted by more than half of the programs they applied to.

Together, these data indicate that successful graduate students don’t apply to many programs, and they are accepted by the majority of programs they apply to.

What this means for graduate programs

There are hundreds of worthy graduate programs at strong universities in any given academic specialty. Students have many options, and the best applicants are sought by many programs. These survey data show that a typical prospect will apply to only a very small group of programs that would otherwise be of interest to them.

This, of course, makes sense. Applying to graduate school takes a lot of effort and the costs quickly add up. However, even if it were easy and inexpensive for students to apply, prospects can’t possibly explore every conceivable option. Students instead invest their time and effort into researching the relevant programs that pop up on their radar, eventually applying to the small handful that seem to match their needs.

Programs that receive many applications should resist the temptation to become complacent with their overall application numbers. They are likely missing out on scores of top prospects simply because these candidates are unaware the program exists. If a program’s goal is to build a deeper and stronger application pool, the first step is to get on the applicant’s radar.

But even this is not enough. Programs must also effectively communicate their value proposition. That case can be made by taking the known assets and advantages of their program in consideration with the unique interests of a prospect. One can’t expect that value proposition to be immediately obvious to a prospect.

In the end, the goal is to convince prospects who, as a general rule do not apply to many program, that it is worth their time and effort to prepare just one additional application.



Check out the other articles on our current graduate student survey:

Survey of Current Graduate Students

Graduate Student Survey – Demographics and Fields of Study

Getting Into Grad School – How to Improve Your Chances

Are Grad Students Happy?

How to Choose the RIGHT Graduate School


Gradschoolmatch News Feed to Better Connect Students and Programs

Previously on Gradschoolmatch, users could log in, find what they are looking for and even communicate, but never had a sense of the constant, ongoing interaction between other students and the programs elsewhere on our platform.

With new updates to the, including an interactive news feed, the dynamic nature of the interactions between programs and student prospects is more visible and engaging.

We’re excited to offer the first iteration of our infinitely scrolling news feed, similar to those that could be found on many popular social networking sites. When a student or program administrator logs into their Gradschoolmatch profile, on their home page they will see a continues feed that updates as the site is used by others.

Students will be able to see when other students on Gradschoolmatch bookmark a program, when a program bookmarks a student, and when a student or program updates their profile. The news feed has already become another node on Gradschoolmatch where active exploration occurs. Whether you are a student or director, the news feed can point you to users who are active and engaged.

Users can filter their news feed by academic field; for example, students can see all activity on, or only look at activity from students and programs in a specific field that interests them, whether its Architecture or Engineering or something else.

Take a look at the new and improved news feed feature on Gradschoolmatch!

gradschoolmatch news feed


Make sure to fill out your profile as completely as possible to ensure that you’re getting the best, most relevant matches. In the upper left corner of your student profile, you’ll be able to see your percentage of profile completion; the more information, the better your matches! When you make an update to your profile, other prospective students on Gradschoolmatch will be able to see your updates and view your profile.

profile completion gradschoolmatch news feed

Check out the “Things to Do” section of your profile on the top right to view your matches, search for programs, and take a look at the programs you’ve bookmarked. Don’t forget to read more articles on the Gradschoolmatch blog for tips and tricks on navigating the application process and succeeding in grad school!

gradschoolmatch news feed

Like the look and feel of our news feed? Get started searching for and matching with over 30,000 graduate programs on Gradschoolmatch today!


Fordham University Graduate Programs Spotlight

Fordham University is a private research university that’s known for outstanding graduate programs across multiple schools, from business to arts and sciences.

With around 6,500 postgraduates spread across three New York campuses, Fordham’s graduate schools provide students with global opportunities, in addition to the best of the largest city in the United States.

Gradschoolmatch recently spoke with Lauren Grizzaffi, Recruiting and Marketing Specialist for Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Here’s an inside look at how Fordham uses Gradschoolmatch to recruit the best and brightest students for almost 20 different graduate programs on

GSM: What are some of your overall goals as the Recruiting and Marketing Specialist for Graduate Programs in Arts and Sciences at Fordham?

Lauren: Our main goal is to strengthen and promote new and existing Master’s programs within Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). We have been working to recover from a downturn in graduate enrollment, and are promoting the many benefits throughout our various Master’s degrees to bring recognition to the graduate programs within Fordham University.

GSM: What graduate programs are Fordham actively recruiting for using

Lauren: We currently have 18 GSAS programs on the site. Here’s a look at a few of the diverse programs in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences that are actively recruiting students on

Masters in Applied Psychological Methods

The Applied Psychological Methods Master’s Program explores how psychological theories and research can generate solutions to real world problems, with two available specialized tracks.


Masters in Ethics and Society

This cross-disciplinary program provides a foundation in the moral frameworks of philosophy, theology, psychology, bioethics, and social justice and is further tailored to your individual interests and career goals with electives.


Masters in Urban Studies

The Urban Studies Master’s Program offers a humanistic, interdisciplinary study of the city and urban society. Students tackle complex issues confronting urban policy makers, including urban communities, economic development, inequality and social justice, and environment and sustainability.


Sign up on Gradschoolmatch to see all of  Fordham’s graduate programs here.

GSM: What are some of the opportunities that Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences provides for students to be successful?

Lauren: This past year, Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences established a new professional development initiative, GSAS Futures, to provide the support, resources and training opportunities to prepare our students for innovative careers after graduate school. Our mission is to ensure that graduate students possess the skills and knowledge that will allow them to leverage their vocational training and academic experience in a professional setting.

We’ve hosted a CV/resume workshop, an alumni panel, and a seminar on how to apply for external grants and fellowships.

fordham university gsas
An expert panel on grant writing hosting by GSAS Futures

GSM: Why is Fordham a great place to go to graduate school?

Lauren: We participate fully in the life of New York City, fostering partnerships for scholarship and research with other institutions in the city. Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is a great place to earn a graduate degree as it has two main campuses in New York – the majestic Rose Hill campus in the north Bronx and our Lincoln Center campus in close proximity to Columbus Circle and Central Park. With its prime location, our graduate students have the option of working or interning in the heart of New York City.

In addition, we have cultivated a variety of partnerships that have deemed very beneficial to our students, including the Bronx Science Consortium. The consortium partners with Fordham University, the New York Botanical Garden, Wildlife Conservation Society – Bronx Zoo, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Montefiore Hospital.

GSAS students presenting research at the Bronx Science Consortium Poster Symposium at the Bronx Zoo
GSAS students presenting research at the Bronx Science Consortium Poster Symposium at the Bronx Zoo

GSM: How has Gradschoolmatch been a valuable tool to engage with potential applicants and drive applicant traffic?

Lauren: Gradschoolmatch has been one of our first chances to promote all Master’s programs via the same platform at the same time. We have welcomed the opportunity to have hands-on collaboration from each department so that they can share unique program highlights with students, feature specific application requirements, and engage with potential students in a way that we have not been able to before.

For more information on Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, visit their website here.

You can also connect with Fordham GSAS on social media through their Facebook and Twitter accounts.


Graduate School Timeline Infographic

If your program is marketing on campuses, you’re missing most of the people who are thinking about graduate school.  Since two-thirds of Gradschoolmatch’s users graduated prior to 2014, it is a better resource than you might imagine. They’re thinking about coming back to school….and you can find and influence them on Gradschoolmatch.

Check out our graduate school timeline infographic to better understand how, when, and why students are going to graduate school.

Grad School (2)


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