wwmmkk

2+ Year Member
May 21, 2016
397
836
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Hello all--

I posted in the stickied thread for this but didn't get any responses. I'm trying to send my applications before the 1st, so I'd really appreciate input. I'm applying for the Fall 2017 cycle.

Undergrad: Top 5 liberal arts college, graduated in 2012
Undergrad Major: Biology (General), Education Studies minor
Undergrad GPA: 3.5
Graduate: Earned Masters in Education as part of an alternative program at a large public university, graduated in 2013
Graduate GPA: 3.8
GRE: Took in May 2016-- 169V, 155M, 5.5AW; sad about the math score but not going to retake
Experiences:
- taught secondary science, health, and engineering for 4 school years in urban public schools; 2 of those years were teaching public health at the high school level
- redesigned campus programming for sexual assault prevention in undergrad
- trying like hell to get a job in the field for the next year, but probably going to end up working at Whole Foods
- no research experience :(
Recs: 1 undergrad professor, 1 grad professor, 1 professional acquaintance. These are probably the weakest parts of my application because I have been out of school for a while and have never had a direct supervisor as a professional that would know enough about me to write a rec.
Public Health Interests: I'm primarily interested in community and behavioral health, but the more I learn about epi and read job descriptions that require statistics knowledge, the more I consider switching. I see myself working for or starting orgs/programs that deal with HIV in urban adolescents and am generally interested in sexual health in LGBTQ communities.
Definitely Applying to: Colorado SPH, U of Minnesota, SUNY-Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Drexel
Considering Applying to: Harvard, BU, Tufts, Brown, UMass Amherst. Getting more interested in Harvard and Tufts.

I am specifically interested in knowing what you all think my chances of admission are at the more selective programs and what my chances of scholarships/other $$ are at the less selective schools. I am in a position where I cannot afford to apply to schools that would be waste of time and/or not cater to my interests, so please be honest in your comments! Any and all advice on my application is appreciated.
 
Aug 1, 2016
13
2
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I can't really speak to chances of admission at the more selective/well-known schools (since I didn't target them). BUT - if you haven't already - I think it'll help to reach out to the programs you're thinking about applying to and specifically asking them if they have opportunities (research/faculty/etc.) in the particular areas you're interested in. For example, I know BU and Pittsburgh both have specific centers for HIV research and LGBTQ-related health respectively. Reaching out to faculty there will not only help you get more information but will also give you a chance to display your interest in the field/these areas specifically. (I'm applying for the spring cycle, and I honestly have a much worse GPA than you do with very little experience but I think the fact that I emailed/called certain faculty at certain schools really really helped.) Emailing a lot of schools also helped me eliminate some based on the fact that they didn't really have much opportunities or focus in the areas I'm interested in.

Overall though, I think you make a pretty competitive applicant with your GPAs, GRE score, and teaching experience. If you could somehow get a LOR from a former supervisor instead of a professional acquaintance, I think that might help too.
 
OP
wwmmkk

wwmmkk

2+ Year Member
May 21, 2016
397
836
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Hey thanks for replying! I've reached out to a few schools but definitely need to focus on the more competitive ones. I've mostly been assuring that the less competitive ones actually do have courses/professors/internships that align with my interests.

If you don't mind me asking, how many schools did you apply to? I've seen people on this forum apply to as few as 3 and as many as like... 15. I don't know what's typical.
 

Pudu2009

Tiniest deer
2+ Year Member
Jan 6, 2015
363
205
Bay Area
Status
Non-Student
It often depends on what you can afford. I could only afford to apply to five schools, some can afford more.
 
Aug 1, 2016
13
2
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hey thanks for replying! I've reached out to a few schools but definitely need to focus on the more competitive ones. I've mostly been assuring that the less competitive ones actually do have courses/professors/internships that align with my interests.

If you don't mind me asking, how many schools did you apply to? I've seen people on this forum apply to as few as 3 and as many as like... 15. I don't know what's typical.
I'm privileged in that my parents are funding my education (at least mostly), and in my culture it seems to be the norm to apply to more than the average number of schools most people apply to. I think I had 16-18 schools on my initial list (and these are only for spring term admission), but for a variety of reasons (like location), I trimmed it down to 10 schools ultimately. From what I've seen, around 5-7 schools seems pretty typical? I applied to mostly schools I knew I would definitely go to if accepted, and a few as "safety" or back-up options just in case. But as Pudu2009 said above, apply to however many you can afford (and if that number is low, make sure they're ones you're seriously interested in).

I hope that was helpful!
 
OP
wwmmkk

wwmmkk

2+ Year Member
May 21, 2016
397
836
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Thanks for your replies! I think I'm gonna end up applying to 7 schools because that's what I can afford. And really, there aren't that many more schools that suit my bizarrely specific location preferences and have programs that cater to my interests. I'm also overwhelmed by the cost difference between programs... BU looks like it might be perfect for me, but like hell I can afford that much in loans AND live in such an expensive city. I'm not so impressive that I can count on scholarship dollars, so I'm probably not going to even apply. :/
 
Aug 1, 2016
13
2
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Thanks for your replies! I think I'm gonna end up applying to 7 schools because that's what I can afford. And really, there aren't that many more schools that suit my bizarrely specific location preferences and have programs that cater to my interests. I'm also overwhelmed by the cost difference between programs... BU looks like it might be perfect for me, but like hell I can afford that much in loans AND live in such an expensive city. I'm not so impressive that I can count on scholarship dollars, so I'm probably not going to even apply. :/
(If BU seems to be a really good fit, perhaps asking them about potential scholarship or work-study (like research or teaching assistance-ships) might help? It's a pretty well-ranked program but whether it's worth the cost is up to you of course. :) )

Anyways, good luck with your applications!!!