Jul 17, 2016
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hello everyone!

I just graduated with a not so good GPA of 2.5 with a degree in health sciences. As of now I just finished a summer internship and I am deciding whether I want to apply for the 2017 round or wait till 2018 for MPH and MHA. I think I should find a job and gain more experience before applying so that helps balance out my low gpa (along with GRE/essays etc) but then my parents feel I should give it a shot now and apply for the upcoming year with what I have instead because they are scared I wont go back to school if I find a job and will lose interest or not find a job at all and sit at home. I want to take some CC classes as well to help the GPA. Not sure what classes though. Overall I am just confused if its better to stop and gain more experience or jump right into applying. Please help!!!!
Feb 17, 2013
Hmm, it's always a tough question to answer. I think it depends on what type of job you could find for experience now. If it's something worthwhile, that might be better to do than diving into an MPH. You also wouldn't have a strong shot at getting a good scholarship if you apply straight into Masters programs. Schools will generally prefer that you have more experience. It's not necessary, but you can get more scholarship, get more out of the MPH, and also be more competitive for higher ranked MPH programs. But having worked in a few different places, I've seen people w/o masters degrees having very, very good positions at top public health organizations, but they also had great connections. See if you can get an internship at the CDC or WHO, that would be worthwhile experience (though the WHO does'nt pay its interns, so just remember that).

Just don't forget about the debt you take on. Getting a job after an MPH is not guaranteed.
Aug 1, 2016
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I'm sort of in a similar boat - with parents who are fearful of what may happen if you don't continue a grad program right away (which is why I'm aiming for spring admission first in hopes starting a program earlier than if I waited for fall 2017 admissions). In my case, I'm privileged to have parents who are fully funding my masters education; in that respect, they get a lot of input in these decisions.

I don't have much professional experience or even much public health experience in general. I focused on getting good rec letters AND writing a kickass personal statement (as well as reaching out to faculty and admissions people from the schools I was interested in - trust me, I think it was helpful in that they got to know who I was a bit more, and by outlining exactly what I wanted to focus on in public health it showed that I was seriously interested).

Honestly I can't say whether to wait to apply for a later admissions cycle (while taking more classes/trying to get experience) is better. I figured why not apply to a few spring programs now - worst case scenario I'm rejected from all of them and I'll just apply to different programs for the fall while trying to get more experience and boost my grades. If you apply for fall 2017 and worst case don't get in anywhere that you'd want, you have a full year to improve on that application (and at least you can tell your parents that you did try), and show them what's changed for the better. Today I ended up just receiving an acceptance letter from one of my programs I only just applied to a few weeks ago, so if you target the right programs, it can work out! But I agree with the person who responded above me, in that if you get an internship or work opportunity that is really worthwhile, then do that in favor of starting an MPH earlier; there is something to be said for getting good professional or field experience (especially if it is paid!).
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