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Happenings at The School of Graduate Studies at the University of North Dakota

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TGS Student Body Profile

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This past week was the official census date for enrollment at universities across the North Dakota University System. We are thrilled to have once again set a record for The Graduate School at UND and we can now confirm that we have 2673 graduate students. Below we have shared some graphs to show our historic enrollment as well as a profile of our graduate student body.

TGS Historic Enrollment since 1895

TGS Historic Enrollment since 1895

 

According to the most recent Council of Graduate Schools Report, the national trend for graduate enrollments shows a small decrease (1.1%) for 2010, yet it appears that the University of North Dakota has continued an upward trajectory with setting record enrollments for the last few years. Here is a broad look at our student body for 2011.

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Written by School of Graduate Studies

September 26, 2011 at 7:39 am

Posted in Admissions, data analysis

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North Dakota shows healthy gains

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In results recently released by the Council of Graduate Schools from their CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees (Jan/Feb 2010), North Dakota ranked with gains on all three of the tables shown.

The first results are for states with the largest graduate enrollment gains (Fall 1998 – Fall 2008) – Vermont topped the list at 115% with ND in second position at 85%.

The second results are for states with the largest gains in Master’s degree production (1997-98 to 2007-08) — ND ranks 8th in the top ten states at 54%.

Finally, the third table shows the results of states with the largest gains in Doctoral degree production (1997-98 to 2007-08) — ND shows an outstanding ranking in first position at 226%, far above Mississippi (171%). Overall there was an increase of 25% in the national numbers.

In her plenary lecture at last week’s WAGS Conference, Debra Stewart, President of the Council of Graduate Schools noted that the trend in enrollment increases is seen in the western states and reflected many of the institutions that were represented at the conference.

This is good news, if you happen to be one of the schools in this region. Perhaps one of the reasons for this growth is our healthy state coffers. We regularly hear reports of schools in neighboring states and around the country making heavy-handed budget cuts, performing creative fiscal recoveries, new organizational structures and the enforcement of furlough days for faculty and staff. So far, we are fortunate to have avoided drastic measures, instead continuing along a fairly conservative path. We are able to continue funding our graduate students, supporting faculty research and furthering the mission of the university. Things look good here in North Dakota!

Written by School of Graduate Studies

April 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Posted in data analysis

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A litte bit about our applicants

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The Graduate School has several tools at it’s disposal to collect data which we learn about our student body and use to make more informed decisions et c. One of our critical tools is My GradSpace.

It’s almost been a year with My GradSpace — a great year, in fact. Traffic through our sites has been fantastic, students are gathering all the information they request and store it in one place, and we’ve had more applicants this year than we’ve ever had before.

My GradSpace also gives students the chance to tell us a little bit about themselves. We posted a survey, asking students which tests they have taken as they prepare for graduate study, and why they have choosen to explore UND. Here’s what students are telling us:

What tests have you taken?

GRE — 54%
TOEFL — 20%
GMAT — 6%
MAT — 2%

Why have you chosen UND?

Great programs — 76%
Great faculty — 37%
Great facilities — 25%
Spouse/relative — 9%

We’ve posted some new questions on My GradSpace. We’re curious where our students like to study, and we’re curious how often students are online. Log in to My GradSpace and let us know!

Written by School of Graduate Studies

February 11, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Posted in data analysis, Evan Nelson

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An all-time record enrollment in The Graduate School

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Patiently we waited, and waited to learn what the all-important “4th week” enrollment count would reveal. The 4th week count is arbitrary but it comes after several early semester deadlines that can alter student enrollment behavior – late additions, students that withdraw or defer, for example.

Overall the University of North Dakota is experiencing its largest ever Spring time enrollment, with an increase in both the number of undergraduate and graduate students. Typically, Fall semester brings the largest number of new students in an academic year. Yet the past couple of years have shown that new graduate students don’t necessarily follow the traditional academic calendar, and our Spring enrollment numbers have remained steady with Fall, or even slightly increased.

The Graduate School was optimistic for an increase and we got it. Last night’s official 4th Week enrollment numbers showed the highest all-time number of graduate students enrolled at UND. And not by just a few. In the Fall of 2000, The Graduate School had an enrollment of 1452 students. In ten years, that number has increased by 899 students, with fairly steady growth over those years. Today our official number is 2,351 graduate students – an increase 62% over the past decade, and 8.7% over our Spring enrollment last year. This, at least, is the snapshot at 4th week. We look forward to serving even more students throughout the semester.

Written by School of Graduate Studies

February 9, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Analytics observations #1

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted some data from a complete year of tracking our web site using Google Analytics. Collecting data is easy enough, but knowing how to use that data or determining what it means is another proverbial ballgame. Looking at the raw data such as the total number of pages viewed or the total number of visits can be rather impressive, but there is so much information we can glean from analyzing how people find our website and then, once there, how they use it. Looking at behaviors can drive decisions we make daily on the information we push up front, or the structure of our web site. Taking one example today, for instance, I can make the following assumptions:

Top Content

  1. /dept/grad/
  2. /html/admissionshome.html
  3. /html/programs.html
  4. /dept/grad/html/programs.html
  5. /dept/grad/html/admissionshome.html
  6. /html/landingpage-connect.html
  7. /
  8. /dept/grad/html/forms.html
  9. /dept/grad/html/landingpage-connect.htm
  10. 10.  /html/forms.html

The Content refers to the pages most visited by users of our site. The highest rated here is our homepage at 18.32% with the next four most frequently visited pages directed to the programs we offer and the admissions information for these programs. Of the ten most visited, eight are directly recruitment related – that is to say, providing information for prospective students on our graduate program offerings, admission requirements, and the process for inquiring and applying to the program.

The above “programs” hyperlink example is a significant one. This link on our navigation bar alphabetically lists all of the graduate programs by department. That makes sense. However, the hyperlink bounces away from our site to the department. This means for a visitor to find the appropriate information on our graduate program, that link has to be directed at an “external” link – ie: one which we have no control over and one that we hope is maintained and provides consistent information. We also risk losing their attention once they “bounce” from our site. This becomes a consideration for restructuring the site: change those hyperlinks to go to fact sheet information where we control the information.

Also rating in the top ten pages is that where we hold all of the forms for current students and faculty. These include all of the “business” items like programs of study, scholarships and graduation. Since Forms ranks so highly I am reminded of our internal processes!

To put the top 10 content links in context, Google Analytics has measured 472 pages on our site to date. And just for interest’s sake, the next 10 most frequently visited all relate to prospective students. If I am to base some assumptions on this activity I could argue that the greatest number of users of our website are searching for information designed for prospective students. This could influence HOW we present that information in a website redesign, making it more prominent or comprehensive. Furthermore, I can look at the least visited content and decide what prominence it should have.

Before making any major website structure changes, it will be important to look at the traffic pathways of those most visited pages: As an example, I’ll look at the same “top 10” and determine whether those visits come from direct sources, referred sources or search engines. But that’s next time!

Written by School of Graduate Studies

February 2, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Posted in data analysis

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