Undergraduate Career Services has long offered fairs for students interested in law school and nonprofit and corporate careers. But with the job market tight and many students now considering further studies after college, UCS held its first Graduate School Fair Thursday.

Representatives from more than 50 graduate, education, business, public service and arts schools attended the fair, held in the Lanman Center at Payne Whitney Gymnasium Thursday evening. UCS Director Philip Jones said he expected more students would be looking at graduate and professional schools because of the tough economy.

“I would expect in a year where students are thinking that the job market is tight there would be more students here,” Jones said. “Unless the schools tell us that there wasn’t enough student traffic, or the students tell us it wasn’t worth it, we’ll keep it an annual event.”

UCS will also offer an International Opportunities Fair today from 1 to 3 p.m. in Payne Whitney.

Yale’s presence was largest, filling 11 tables with materials and advisors. Other schools in attendance included Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Graduate School Dean Susan Hockfield said she hoped to interest undergraduates in Yale’s graduate schools.

“The impetus for [the fair] comes from Undergraduate Career Services but we are participating in this because we are very keen to have Yale undergraduates learn about the graduate school,” Hockfield said. “What I am hoping is that the fair will provide an entree and for students who are interested it’s not very hard for them to get more information.”

Richard Sleight, associate dean of Yale’s graduate school, said he came to offer students general graduate school advice rather than just recruiting for Yale.

Jason Smith, a Kennedy School admissions officer, said he was enthusiastic about coming because Yale is one of Kennedy’s “top feeder schools.”

Representatives from other schools said they heard about the Graduate School Fair by word of mouth. Representatives from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music said they asked UCS if they could attend after hearing about the fair through a neighboring school, the California Institute of the Arts.

“I was told about the fair, and I knew that Yale has an excellent music department, asked if I could come and they said yes,” said Alexander Brose, director of admission for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Some undergraduates said they came with a specific institution in mind and others went to explore their options.

“I don’t know what I want to do after Yale and I just wanted to pick up some information,” Munu Lahiri ’04 said.

Jones said he expected about 300 students to attend. About 150 students came in the first hour.

Student response to the fair was generally positive.

The caliber of schools present impressed some students, while others expressed disappointment that their schools of choice failed to come. Many students said they appreciated UCS’s efforts in organizing the fair.