Aug 10, 2016
2
0
Status
Non-Student
Hello, I've graduated with a BA in English and am interested in applying to public health programs for Fall 2017, but I'm not sure how competitive I will/can be with a humanities degree. Choosing MPH happened only recently after I struggled to pinpoint what it was I wanted to pursue, and after some minor health problems.

My GPA wasn't too terrible (3.5), though my GRE scores are after jumping the gun on taking it (155 V, 148 Q, 5 W). But I'm planning on re-taking to gain higher scores. I'm also going to be taking extra courses to fix my Biology grade and to meet the social/behavioral sciences prereqs for some schools. But my problem is that I have no experience whatsoever. I'm assuming I should try to get in a bunch of volunteer time, but I'm afraid it's too late for that? I'm not sure how else I can beef up that part of the application at this point.

Overall, is it more beneficial for me to focus on the education or experience part? Or am I just aiming too high at this point?
 

sloth17

2+ Year Member
May 31, 2016
102
136
There are actually a wide variety of majors who apply for a MPH every year, so you shouldn't worry about applying with an English degree. You have a good GPA, and I believe that you can definitely improve your GRE score the second time. When you say that you have no experience, do you mean public health related experience only? What extracurriculars were you involved in throughout your undergraduate career? Your experience doesn't necessarily have to be public health related. If you have any work/volunteer/internship experience, that's good. As for if volunteering now is too late, that depends on the application deadlines of your targeted schools.

Don't stress too much about your lack of exposure to public health, as that's how your personal statement plays a role. The personal statement is for you to articulate your passion for the field, so make sure that you work hard on that (this is a very important application component). How are your letters of recommendation? I'm also in the process of applying for the Fall 2017 semester and I've been told that the admissions process is very holistic, so work on strengthening all parts of your application. That being said, I have also been told that experience is valued a lot. You aren't "aiming too high". If you are sure that you like what a program has to offer and that you would be a good fit, then definitely apply.
 

Pudu2009

Tiniest deer
2+ Year Member
Jan 6, 2015
363
205
Bay Area
Status
Non-Student
Concur, major isn't a factor, and your GPA is great. Don't worry about not having public health experience; most people don't. All you need to do is focus on getting that quant score up. What concentration are you interested in?
 
OP
K
Aug 10, 2016
2
0
Status
Non-Student
Thank you both for making me feel better about my English degree!

More information:
Unfortunately, I had to work full-time for most of my undergrad so I don't have too much of anything. I do have general work experience that I can probably spin in my favor and some volunteer work, though I feel I need to partake in more volunteering opportunities to really prove that this is something I'm truly interested in. Most of the application deadlines I'm thinking of applying for are in the beginning of January, though for the schools I'm really interested in they have later deadlines.

I'm retaking Biology because I have a WD on my transcript (had to drop for health problems at the time), but so far none of my schools require Biology as a requirement. Is it better to just retake this to actually get a letter grade? Or would it be enough to explain why I couldn't finish it in my personal statement? Though, since I am taking more courses, I feel like it's just a given that I should retake Biology anyway. Thoughts?

Lastly, I'm interested in Social/Behavioral Health.
 

sloth17

2+ Year Member
May 31, 2016
102
136
Thank you both for making me feel better about my English degree!

More information:
Unfortunately, I had to work full-time for most of my undergrad so I don't have too much of anything. I do have general work experience that I can probably spin in my favor and some volunteer work, though I feel I need to partake in more volunteering opportunities to really prove that this is something I'm truly interested in. Most of the application deadlines I'm thinking of applying for are in the beginning of January, though for the schools I'm really interested in they have later deadlines.

I'm retaking Biology because I have a WD on my transcript (had to drop for health problems at the time), but so far none of my schools require Biology as a requirement. Is it better to just retake this to actually get a letter grade? Or would it be enough to explain why I couldn't finish it in my personal statement? Though, since I am taking more courses, I feel like it's just a given that I should retake Biology anyway. Thoughts?

Lastly, I'm interested in Social/Behavioral Health.
If you can find volunteering opportunities, go for it! It will only help your application, and if your deadlines are after January, that gives you enough time to be able to incorporate your volunteering experience into your personal statement. I'm not too sure about the curriculum for social/behavior health, but looking at the course curriculum listed on the webpage for your desired programs can give you a good idea if retaking biology would help in those classes. Either way, the MPH curriculum is usually comprehensive for any concentration, so you may encounter a class that includes biology along the way. Since you already have a good GPA, explaining the WD in your personal statement won't be necessary.
 
May 19, 2016
43
49
Boston, MA
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Hi! We have the same exact GRE score and I was a COM major, so I know the struggle. Just wanted to chime in and say you aren't alone :)