Test numbers constant

By Rob Heselbarth

The recession has not caused an increase in the number of students taking graduate school exams at NIU, bucking a national trend.

Nationally, the number of people taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), the generic test to enter graduate school, has nearly doubled, jumping from 326,096 in 1989 to 498,340 last year.

The number of people taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) climbed from 136,400 in 1989 to 151,800 in 1991.

At NIU, however, the numbers have remained somewhat constant. In 1989, 1145 people took the GRE while in 1991, 1039 people took it. The LSAT figures increased from 316 in 1989 to 338 in 1991.

The recent increase in the number of lawyers in this country and the current recession have made some people rethink their careers and their futures, said Norm Gilbert, NIU director of testing services.

“There comes a point in the economic situation when a person goes back to school when they can’t get a job,” Gilbert said.

With some companies not doing well, people are thinking that a graduate school degree will help them to get a job, or to secure a job they already have, he added.

Unfortunately for graduate students in law school, their large numbers and the recession are prompting law firms to hire less lawyers.

“I’m optimistic that there will be jobs out there,” said Ron Fladhammer, a third year NIU law student. “Some people might have to wait a little longer.”

Also, there are those people who already have jobs with law firms and are leaving, and obtaining specialized degrees.

Some people are leaving the law profession to do other related work,” said Leonard Mandel, assistant dean of NIU’s School of Law. Other related work could include such things as teaching law or becoming an adviser at a university, he added.

A recent American Bar Association study revealed there is an overwhelming number of lawyers in this country, making it tough for them to get jobs.

“I think there is an overabundance of MBAs,” Fladhammer said. “The way the economy is, all professions are having a tough time finding jobs right now.”

No matter what profession a person is in, the economic situation in this country is making people think about what they can do to survive these tough times.

However, there are plenty of graduate students who are hopeful the economy will not affect their chances of getting a job when they graduate.