There’s no beating around the bushes: today’s twenty-somethings, also known as the Millennials or Generation Y, have had it tough. We came of age in the worst recession since the Great Depression and faced a horrible job market, often resorting to unpaid internships, part-time jobs, and volunteer work just to get a foot in the door. But if you’ve been thinking about going to grad school to gain an advantage in this economy, here’s something you should know that might affect your chances of grad school admissions…(Look away if you don’t have a punching bag handy, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
According to a new study by psychologists at Bowling Green State University, your weight is a factor in grad school admissions. The researchers analyzed the admissions process of 97 hopefuls applying to 950 psychology graduate programs across the U.S., and found that the applicants with high BMIs were less likely to be admitted after in-person interviews, controlled for all other factors. They were not affected by phone interviews, where their looks were obviously not a factor. Researchers also discovered that BMI had no effect on the recommendation letters by mentors, suggesting that knowing them over time neutralizes any prejudice based on looks.
And to add salt to injury: women were penalized more for higher BMI. And the researchers concluded that the psychology professors who were evaluating these applicants were likely more conscious of any bias based on looks, and thus this prejudice might be even more pronounced in other disciplines–not to mention, jobs. Now, this might sound contradictory because Peaceful Dumpling deals a lot with wellness and fitness, which partly involves maintaining a healthy weight–but we also firmly believe that a person’s weight has absolutely nothing to do with her academic and professional ability. Yes, I think there are many crucially important reasons to get fit–for physical and mental health, longevity, confidence, adrenaline rush, what have you. But the risk of being rejected by grad school should not be one of them.