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Hopkins MPH Vs. Harvard Job (+Harvard MPH)

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elsab818

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Hi all! I'm at a very strange and promising crossroads and would love to get some feedback, because I'm truly at a loss for what direction to take.

I just got accepted to the Hopkins MPH Full-time program for the upcoming year, which I honestly thought I had no shot at. While waiting for that decision to come through, I received a job offer for a position at Harvard School of Public Health, which would allow me the opportunity to get my MPH for very little cost, albeit, over a longer period of time due to the fact that I'd be studying part-time. The Harvard opportunity is a job that I would probably want even after completing my MPH, but has the potential to be pretty stressful while working towards an MPH.

While cost is a concern and I do not yet know if I will get funding from JHU, the Hopkins program seems like the best fit for Social & Behavioral Sciences, and it's certainly cheaper than most other MPH programs. From what I know of the Harvard program, it's more research and Epi-based and I'm hoping for a more interdisciplinary post-grad career, so it doesn't seem as good of a career fit.

Opening this up for candid opinions; do I take the public health job and take longer towards a part-time Harvard MPH, or do I pursue the Hopkins degree - thoughts?
 
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aregnas

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Congrats! That's an incredible position to be in! If you don't mind me asking, what were your stats? I also feel like I'm a complete long shot for JHU, so its encouraging to hear that you felt the same and got in. Sorry I know this doesn't help answer your question at all.
 

wwmmkk

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Congrats! You must be really excited. That's an amazing accomplishment.

My thoughts:

(I) Take your time making this decision. Think through everything each choice would mean not just academically and professionally but also personally, financially, etc. I would wait until you hear about $$ from Hopkins before even trying to sway yourself one direction or another.
(II) I wonder why you say Hopkins is more geared towards Social & Behavioral Sciences? That's my primary area of interest, and I didn't even apply to Hopkins last year because I felt that they were lacking in that department and stronger in epi and global health. I did apply to Harvard's program, though I did not decide to attend. I liked how they divided their Social-Behavioral track and planned to do the Planned Social Change option. I hear you on Harvard being more research than practice oriented, though-- it's a big reason why I chose not to go.
(III) I understand the urge to want to complete your degree ASAP, but as a former educator don't really think a faster pace benefits most learners. I think working part-time and MPHing part-time would be valuable experience. I'm sure whatever job they're offering you would give you ample material for your internship/thesis/etc. too.

I think if I were you, I'd pick the Harvard option, though I really don't think there's a wrong choice to make here. Congratulations again!
 
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boisdejasmin

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Hi,

I completed my master's in education at Harvard in Prevention Science and I would look into seeing how much coursework you would be allowed to complete at HGSE or other graduate schools. We had a few cross-enrolled MPH students when I was attending in 2011 and you may find that cross-enrollment could give you the better fit you're looking for especially in regards to practice. Feel free to message me if you have any questions about HGSE. You have two great options ahead of you, but I think with Harvard and going part-time, you'd be more likely to get the fit you're looking for.
 
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LookForZebras

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I think you should go for Harvard! Both Hopkins and Harvard are obviously great schools, and you'll get an awesome education and expose yourself to tons of connections and opportunities at either one. So, might as well go to the one that will be less expensive for you and where you already have a potential job. With regard to the better career fit, it may be that Hopkins has more of a focus on your interest; however, both schools are big enough that they offer a great deal of options in all areas of public health. If you have a certain career goal, you'll be able to seek out opportunities at Harvard to get yourself there.

I'll also say I think there's a plus side to getting the degree over a longer period of time. You can truly focus on every class that you take and you'll have the time to take more advantage of extracurriculars and other activities. At Hopkins, the 1-year MPH is so intense that at times it seems like a scramble to fit everything in.
 
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MPH1985

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I have to agree with everyone else. Being at Harvard will allow you to gain valuable experience employers are looking for once you looking for post-graduate opportunities while also offsetting some cost of living expenses/tuition.
 
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elsab818

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Thank you guys!!! These are all super helpful responses and spoke to all of my concerns and trepidation. I formally accepted the Harvard offer today, and as a security measure I'm planning to defer Hopkins for a year so I have it available to me next year if needed.

@aregnas to answer your question, I have 8 years of both public health and non-public health professional experience that I think I presented nicely in my personal statement, and a 3.8 GPA from the honors college of a good state school. My only hesitancy was my GRE, I got in the 39rd percentile for quant, 83rd for verbal, and 70th for essay. I assume that it was a combination of my diverse professional experience and my personal statement that gave me an edge. I also spoke to the Senior Admissions person at Hopkins for about an hour on the phone and he was incredibly helpful/supportive; not sure if that made any difference but it definitely didn't hurt!

@boisdejasmin thanks for the suggestion re: HGSE - I actually didn't know about that program and it sounds like it would be a great thing to look into!

Thanks again to everyone, your responses really helped and I'll follow up directly with any questions!
 
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