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MPH 2019: Applied, Waitlisted, Accepted!

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by el.mo19, Jul 16, 2018.

  1. el.mo19

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    Hi All!

    I noticed @wwmmkk suggested we start a new thread for those of us planning on applying to for the upcoming cycle! If you're anything like myself, I'm sure your anxiously preparing your application even though SOPHAS does not open until almost a month from today (ahhhh!)

    I'll start with posting my stats:

    Undergrad School
    : UCLA (graduated March 2017)
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.355 / 3.502 / 3.615 (upper div)
    Major/Minor: Geography / Global Health
    GRE: V: 155 (69%), Q: 155 (59%), W: 4.0 (April 2018)
    Experience/Research (please, be brief):
    - summer study abroad program working with Burmese migrants on the Thai-Myanmar border
    - 1 year internship at a non-profit that does WASH work in Kenya, helped start a women's empowerment program (still actively volunteered during last 2.5 years)
    - 2 years at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine Nephrology Research Office: 1 year as a research assistant, 1 year as a lead clinical research coordinator (extremely involved in planning health education events the office has) - will have a little over 2 years full-time experience before Fall 2019

    LOR: one from the Executive Director at my internship, one from a geography professor who I took 3 classes with (one which was an 8 person seminar), and one from my PI

    Interests: MPH in behavioral health and/or health education; program evaluation and implementation

    Applying: UC Berkeley, Emory, Tulane, UCLA, Boston University, considering applying to University of Michigan - Ann Arbor and JHSPH bc why not??

    Like most people, I'm a little nervous because of my GPA and GRE because I'm such a bad standardized test taker. I also worked multiple jobs during undergrad so hoping that my dedication to two programs will suffice!
     
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  3. wwmmkk

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    Thanks for getting this started, @el.mo19! I'm commenting so this gets bumped back to the top and new forum visitors stop posting in the 2018 thread :p

    To answer a question you didn't ask, I think you've got a solid application going. If you don't mind paying extra application fees, I don't think there's any harm in applying to Michigan & JHU if those are places you see yourself ending up should you get in. Write a SOP that focuses mostly on your experience, and I think you're good to go.
     
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  4. Gutterball1234

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    I recently got rejected from my last waitlist for medical school. Over the course of the application cycle, I got less enamored with going to medical school and started thinking about what else I would like to do, and going for an MPH is something that I decided to look into. I'm still not really sure where I want to apply, but I think I'd like to work for a big public health organization like the CDC/WHO/something similar.


    Undergrad School
    : Ohio State (graduated May 2017)
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.706 / 3.808
    Major/Minor: Neuroscience / Chemistry and Biology
    GRE (including date taken) or Other Test (if applicable): MCAT: 511 (128 / 127 / 129 / 127) (May 2016)
    Experience/Research (please, be brief):
    - 1 year full-time experience (plus 2 years part-time as a student) as a lab tech in a leukemia lab, isolating and cryopreserving leukocytes from blood and bone marrow samples (current, will continue during application year).
    - Over 600 hours (might be over 700 at this point, I haven't checked lately) volunteering at a local hospital, where I was awarded a scholarship due to my work there (will continue during application year).
    - 9 days volunteering in Nicaragua, split between working at a medical clinic and building a latrine to service a rural population.

    LOR: one from my boss at the lab, one from a professor that I had for psychopharmacology who I got to know very well over the semester, and one from my volunteer coordinator

    Interests: MPH in behavioral health. Maybe public policy or epidemiology.

    Applying: Any suggestions? I'm from Ohio, but that won't matter unless in-state/out-of-state is relevant.
     
  5. Cassatrass

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    Hey there! I think the first step for you would be to narrow down your interests-- do some reading, set up meetings with local public health professionals, and try to understand which concentration will be the best fit for you. Next, I'd try to decide which schools you'd like to apply to based on research interests, job outcomes, location, program size, prestige, etc. Decide going into this how much debt you're willing to accumulate-- unless you get scholarships, many of the top 10 are $$$$$ (and, even with scholarships, $$$$). Looking through the past forums will help you get a feel for this. You stand a good chance at being admitted to nearly every (if not every) school you apply to, but may be right on the edge for scholarships. Keep that in mind as you go through the process, and try to make every portion of your application as strong as possible. Good luck! :)
     
  6. wwmmkk

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    OSU has a decent MPH program. I would definitely send an application there since in-state is significantly less expensive than out-of-state (before scholarships). Of course, don't apply there if there are not faculty doing the kind of public health work you would like to do. Narrowing down your interests is very important. At most schools, you will have to apply to a specific track (epidemiology, community/behavioral health, global health, biostats, environmental health, etc.), you will want to discuss a specific health problem or population of interest in your personal statement for all schools.

    If you want to stay in the area-ish, I'd also suggest Pittsburgh (but they give little financial aid), University of Michigan (quite competitive), U Illinois Chicago, and University of Minnesota (good scholarships here; you'd probably get the in-state rate). But once you have a more concrete idea of your interests and what you're looking for in a program, we might be able to give more suggestions for schools.
     
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  7. plsmphepi

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    Hi guys! Excited to be a part of this thread as I'll be applying soon! I have a few questions though, if you guys could please help me out.

    I lived in the U.S. (and I am a U.S. Citizen) until high school. I decided to pursue studies in India for undergrad (BTech Biotechnology) and I now want to apply to MPH Epidemiology programs (Emory is honestly my dream school).

    Undergrad School: Nationally recognized university (will graduate April 2019)
    Undergrad GPA: 7.35/10.00 (I have been told that after WES evaluation, this equates to approximately 3.5 on a 4.0 scale)
    Major: Biotechnology
    GRE: V: 155, Q: 155 W: 4.0 (Havn't taken it yet -- but these are conservative estimates based on diagnostic tests).........(Planning to take mid Sep -- do you think that's fine, or should I be taking it early Sep in order to be apply to rolling admissions earlier and thus have a better chance of getting in?)
    Experience/Research (please, be brief):
    - summer internship at Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology working on gut microbiome related research
    -semester long project work based on herbal medicine
    - summer internship at National Institute of Epidemiology
    - currently working on final year project on transcriptome analysis (dealing with environmental science/ bacteria) (got funding for this from my college!!!)

    LOR: one from mentor at my internship (at Nat'l Institute of Epi), one from a biopharmaceuticals professor who I took 1 class with (or do you recommend I get an LOR from my mentor from my other internship?????), and one from my PI (for both projects, and is my faculty advisor as well)

    Interests: MPH in Epi

    Applying: Emory, (I also reeeeeally want to apply to big-names, like Columbia, Univ of Michigan, UCLA and Berkeley, but also to Canada, like Univ of Toronto and UBC but mainly I am taking suggestions from you guys and your thoughts on universities I should/can apply to!!!!!!!!)

    I suppose I'll be applying as an international student, even though I have US Citizenship. What worries me is my severe lack of experience -- as I look through the previous year's thread, I see that most people have work experience after undergrad (I want to apply straight from undergrad), or at least amazing experience during grad. Not to make excuses but in India, part time work is just not available (literally nobody does it) for college students, thus drastically lessening the experience opportunities. Will this be taken into consideration, or will my application be pushed aside due to lack of experience??

    AND, based on my stats above, would you mind suggesting universities that I have a chance at?

    Thank you guys so much. It finally feels like I have found a community of MPH driven people :)
     
    #6 plsmphepi, Jul 21, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
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  8. JDGBruin1317

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    Hello everyone! I applied last year for the 2018 cycle but decided to defer my enrollment to fall 2019 to save more money/apply/ search for scholarships (I didn't realize how expensive pursuing an MPH was :p). I also wanted to spend another year gaining more experience in the field of data collection which I am getting from my new job and I feel that this will help me narrow down my interests once I start my HPM program at Emory. This forum was like a second home for me, I really enjoyed the sense of community and support among fellow applicants here, and this really helped me through the submission anxiety process as well as the stress of receiving school decisions. I have been in your shoes when I spontaneously decided to apply for MPH programs while staring at a computer at a job that was not right for me, and I'm here to answer any questions and concerns you all might have about the application process or why I chose Emory. I also wanted to share my stats to show that test scores aren't everything and you still have a chance to get into a good school and program with the other parts of your application. Good luck to you all! :D

    Undergrad School:
    UCLA
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.341 (overall)/3.757 (major)
    Major/Minor: Human Biology & Society and Global Health minor
    GRE (including date taken) or Other Test (if applicable): V 145 (27%), Q 148 (30%), Writing 4 (60%)
    Experience/Research (please, be brief):

    - Qualitative social science research with a professor in my department using excel 2016 Spring Quarter)
    - Transcribed interviews and did data entries for health service project with a doctor at UCLA’s pediatric office (2 years)
    - Independent research study into Acinetobacter Baumannii bacteria and antibiotic usage with a well-known professor in my department (2017 Spring Quarter)
    - Financial Director of the Black Hypertension project (1 year)
    - Health Careers Connection Intern during Summer 2015
    - Environmental Health Extern (1 year)
    - Behavior Technician at an autism therapy center for children (new job)

    Special factors: I did a lot of community health work and presentations throughout high school, and I described an encounter with an audience member that influenced me to pursue a career in public health in my personal statements. :)

    Letter of Recommendations:
    A professor whom I did qualitative social science research with for a couple quarters and took/did well in her social science health movement course; Pre-Health Academic Program Director and former professor; Former high school health teacher/internship supervisor/mentor who is also the coordinator of the health academy I was involved in high school

    ***Please include the following whenever possible: specific concentration/track, dates, type of correspondence (phone, email, letter, etc.), scholarships/grants.***

    Interested in: Health policy, health disparities, healthcare accessibility, Autism/Mental Health (new interest)
    Applied (include the date of application):

    UCLA (11/29 - Health Policy & Management)
    Emory University (11/29 - Health Policy & Management)
    Colorado School of Public Health (11/29 - Health Systems, Management & Policy)
    Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science (11/29 - Urban Health Disparities)

    Accepted: Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science (12/8), Emory (1/29), Colorado (2/2)
    Rejected: UCLA (2/10)
    Waitlisted:
     
    #7 JDGBruin1317, Jul 21, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  9. JDGBruin1317

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    Hello! Emory was my dream school and I didn't expect to get in with my minimal work experience and test scores, so I feel that anything is possible. :) There are many people who apply straight out of undergrad with not a lot of work experience but still get into good programs. Some schools do require a certain amount of paid work experience, depending on the department, such as John Hopkins and UC Berkeley. However, since you're applying for Epi, I don't think you'll have a problem getting into the programs you apply to given a well-written SOP and good LORs. In my opinion, I think your experience in the research and lab field is pretty good, especially for a science and math-driven field such as Epi. I would suggest you include Colorado School of Public Health in your list because even though it is a fairly new program, they have a diversity of research topics that might interest you. Good luck! :D
     
    #8 JDGBruin1317, Jul 21, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
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  10. neurotrash

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    hey everyone, I hope you're all having a great summer. I intend to apply to MPH programs this upcoming cycle and would greatly appreciate your insight into what my chances are of being accepted. thanks and good luck to you all!

    Undergrad School: Liberal Arts College, c/o 2017
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.89/3.9?
    Major/Minor: Psych major, math and neuroscience minors
    GRE: V: 164, Q: 163, AW: 4.5 (not sure if I want to retake)
    Experience/Research (please, be brief):
    -currently working for large nonprofit (began August 2017) in which I provide workforce readiness training and other transitional services to high school students with disabilities
    -was a research assistant in a cognitive neuroscience lab during undergrad. we used EEG, skin conductance, reaction times, etc. to measure neural processing of social stimuli like faces and body posture.
    -graded calculus homework for one year during undergrad
    -published a math paper in undergraduate research journal modelling selling patterns of pharmaceuticals

    LOR: one from the psych prof who headed the lab I was in, one from a psych prof who was my academic advisor, one from my current boss
    Interests: developmental disabilities, chronic pain, removing barriers to participation in society by neurological populations. i have cerebral palsy so i have a lot of personal connection to the work I do right now.

    Interested in: Yale, Tufts, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Case Western Reserve, Ohio State
    Applied to:
    Accepted:
    Rejected:
    Waitlisted:
     
    #9 neurotrash, Jul 21, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  11. chantik

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    You don't need to retake the GREs.You're good for these schools. Yale is your most competitive school with a 25% admit rate, but they like high GREs which you have and recent graduates. :)
     
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  12. neurotrash

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    Thank you, chantik! It is so helpful to have a sense that I may not need to retake.
     
  13. eb330009

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    Undergrad School: University of Washington (graduated June 2017)
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.78/3.77 (graduated from UW in 3 years)
    Major/Minor: Public Health/Communication double major
    GRE: Based on diagnostic tests... taking the official test in Sept. V: 153, Q: 155, W: 5.0
    Experience/Research (please, be brief):
    -Senior internship: worked for 6 mo with local homeless youth. Assisted with meal program, marketing efforts and general office assistance.
    - Summer internship: worked doing literature reviews for a small nonprofit on a variety of environmental health impacts on population health.
    -1 yr on sorority executive board, special focus on philanthropy efforts with Ronald McDonald House Charities
    - 9 mo as a transplant coordinator, coordinating medical records, completing assessments and coordinating the entire process (screening to consent to recovery of tissue). Participated in a few projects with this job.
    -5 mo (currently), by the time I go to school will be approx 1.5 years working as a patient care coordinator at a cancer center.

    LOR: MD I work with at Cancer center, (potentially) clinic manager at cancer center, (potentially) nurse I collaborate and work very closely with on care coordination at cancer center, previous manager from transplant program, (potentially) capstone professor who I had class with for 6 months.

    **Definitely would like some advice about who would be best to ask for LORs. I am quite confident all of them would provide me with a letter of rec, but I want to make sure I choose the strongest combo.

    Interests: MPH in health care administration or MHA (depends on the program). Would be interested in going into consulting or management long term. I have really loved working in oncology and would love to continue here.

    Applying: for MPH: Harvard, Michigan, Emory, Pittsburgh, Boston, Johns Hopkins (possibly). MHA: UNC and Johns Hopkins (potentially)

    Any advice, tips, help, thoughts would be much appreciated :)
     
  14. chantik

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    I'd try to raise your GRE scores for Harvard, Hopkins, and Michigan MPH program-Boston I think is a bit more forgiving when it comes to GREs. I'm also not sure you are eligible for the Hopkins MPH. You need 2 years full time post-bachelors work experience. They are pretty specific about this. Don't know much about MHA programs...
     
  15. plsmphepi

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    Thank you so much for the encouragement and insight! Will definitely look into Colorado, and I won't lose hope for Emory!
    Another thing I wanted to ask was -- my undergrad math scores kinda suck. A lot. It's because of my move from U.S. to India (where math is wayyyyyyyy more rigorous), so even though I took AP math and did great in high school, my college math grades are terrible. Should I explain it in my SOP? Or leave this discussion separately and maybe mail the admissions committee directly and not have it interfere with SOP?

    Also, anybody have any thoughts based on my stats regarding applying to Columbia (another dream of mine), Boston Uni and UCLA? Or even Canadian universities, like Univ of Toronto or Uni of British Columbia?

    One more question: What's the difference between job opportunities after completing MPH in Epi vs. MPH in Infectious Disease and Vaccinology? Is becoming an epidemiologist still an option with an MPH IVD (where acceptance rates are much higher than in Epi?)

    Once again, thank you so much to all. Blessing I found this site. :)
     
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  16. wwmmkk

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    As a rule, leave anything negative about yourself out of your SOP. The exception to this rule is if the narrative relies on overcoming some negative aspect; say, for example, if your grades had suffered because of an illness that you were then intending to studying in a public health context. Since this isn't the case for you, I definitely wouldn't mention it in your SOP. I actually wouldn't mention it at all (even in a separate format) since "the classes were more rigorous than I was used to" isn't going to reflect well on you in any context. If you are really worried about it, find a different way to spin it by reframing what happened to focus on an accomplishment or improvement that may not be reflected in your transcripts.

    ETA-- Just looked at your first post and have some additional thoughts.
    1) Are you sure that you are an international applicant even though you have US citizenship and a US high school diploma? Check to see if you can apply as a domestic applicant if possible since some schools tend to privilege domestic over international applicants. Also, if you are a domestic applicant, you're eligible for federal financial aid.
    2) Take the GRE in early September. This gives you some buffer time to re-take it in case things don't go well. I'd say the latest you can take it for a December 1 deadline (the earliest program deadline I've ever seen) is mid-October.
    3) It is certainly possible to get into competitive programs with your scores and grades. They are around average for those programs. However, like you said, you may not stand out from that "average" group due to your lack of major experiences. I wouldn't assume anyone on an admissions committee knows anything about opportunities available in India, so I would emphasize how you made the most of what was available to you in your SOP.
     
    #15 wwmmkk, Jul 23, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  17. Cassatrass

    2+ Year Member

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    You can have up to 5 LORs on SOPHAS-- most schools say 3/4, but I submitted with 5 and did just fine!
     
  18. jes3dz

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    I am hoping you all could help me gauge my app and see if there are any things I can do to strengthen it. My situation is a little different as for some schools I'd like to apply to both MPH/MBA programs while for others I will just be applying to MPH programs. I'm mostly interested in seeing if I'm eligible for scholarship money as that will play a big roll in what program I choose. Do you guys happen to know if by applying to both degrees I'm hurting my chances in any way? My essays are done (wouldn't mind another pair of eyes to look them over), just need to ask for recs.

    Undergrad School: UVA 2015
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.234
    (too low?)
    Major/Minor: Biology, French
    GradGPA (if applicable): N/A
    Grad Studies (if applicable): N/A
    GRE (including date taken) or Other Test (if applicable): 05/2018 - 162V (91%), 161Q (77%), 4.5AW (82%) (worth it to retake?)
    Experience/Research (please, be brief):

    Post-grad
    - 3 years as a lab tech in a pathology/immunology wet lab (ELISAs, rodent experiments, etc.) specifically looking at alloimmunization due to blood transfusions
    - contributed to several grants, on a few abstracts, and at least one paper as 2nd author (may have more submitted by application time)
    - 2 years as a volunteer at my local free clinic working as an interpreter/ doing general odds and ends for them
    - 1.5 years as a volunteer at my local health department where we do regular community outreach and have preventative health fairs, etc.
    - a few months with free clinic finance director and an accounting class at local community college
    - taken a few courses in SAS, R, and Python

    Undergrad
    - 1 year as a undergraduate researcher in an atherosclerosis lab
    - 1 year as a volunteer teaching recently arrived immigrants/refugees conversational English

    Rec letters: PI from undergrad research, current PI, director of medical clinic operations at my local free clinic

    Special factors:
    - Latino, 2nd-gen immigrant
    - first-gen college student
    - native spanish-speaker, advanced in French

    Interested in: Particularly interested in Epidemiology/Infectious Disease and doing field work at first through local health department or WHO.

    JHU (MPH/MBA), Emory (MPH/MBA), GWU (MPH - GHEDC), UVA (MPH/MBA), Washington University (MPH/MBA)....anything else I should add? debating on Harvard, Columbia, NYU, and Yale
    Applied: N/A
    Accepted: N/A
    Rejected:N/A
    Waitlisted:N/A
     
  19. wwmmkk

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    Applying to a combined program is going to be more competitive than a stand alone program because, presumably, you have to demonstrate that you meet the different qualifications for both parts. I don't know if MBA programs require higher stats than MPH programs (likely; MPH programs are not very competetive). Your GRE scores are certainly fine for MPH programs; I wouldn't retake unless you know MBA programs are looking for higher quant scores. If programs want the GMAT as well, then definitely don't worry about the GRE. There's also nothing you can do about your undergrad GPA at this point, so no sense in thinking too much about it-- it is what it is.

    If your goal is a career in epidemiology fieldwork/surveillance, I'm not sure what getting an MBA will do for you. My assumption is that such a degree would be more useful for people interested in policy, economics, and management than more science-based public health, but maybe I'm wrong.
     
  20. jes3dz

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    It seems like most MBA programs nowadays will accept the GRE - they claim it won't hurt you to not have a GMAT score (not sure how true that is). Also, for most MPH/MBA programs (apart from Hopkins) it seems like both applications are weighed independently. In your experience are my scores good enough for scholarship $$ at the MPH programs I'm applying? That's what I'm most anxious about.

    The reason for pursuing an MBA is two-fold: 1) I'm trying to get the most bang for my buck since these programs are typically shorter and 2) I'm trying to think 10 years down the road where I hope having an MBA will make me more attractive for leadership positions. Not sure if I'm misguided in thinking these things or if somebody knows better and can set me straight. Thanks for your reply!
     
  21. plsmphepi

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    I realized I never replied! I'm so sorry and thank you for your detailed reply!

    I will def look into being considered as int'l vs. domestic, and will book the GRE soon! Thank you. You seem like a seasoned expert of MPH ... may I PM you about certain schools that I'm look at for applying? There's only so much I can understand from reading SDN threads and looking at the school website while being in India, so your input would be so helpful.
     
  22. GradCurious411

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    Undergrad School: Large state school
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.3
    Major/Minor: public health/gender & women's studies
    GRE: Haven't taken (practice diagnostic GRE is in 3rd and 6th percentile :/)
    Experience/Research:
    - study abroad in Ecuador for water quality research and health education
    - summer job with local health department
    - health education in a rural area
    - internship for non-profit health org
    - job doing health surveys for cdc and local health dept
    - numerous volunteer work
    - student ambassador for college
    - pesticide applicator licensure/certification
    LOR: professor for study abroad/supervisor at health survey job/supervisor at local health dept job/professor for gender & women's studies
    Interests: Global Health & Women's Health

    *** Extremely nervous about applying to schools that require GRE scores, I've found programs that will accept me because of my GPA. Do I have any chance getting into a global health program at a not so fancy university? Not interested in top 10 or even top 20 honestly. Look like my GRE score might be VERY low.
     
  23. mphhelp2019

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    Hello all! Just as many of us, I am hoping to start a public health grad school in Fall 2019 and am currently trying to see which schools I have a good chance of applying and being accepted to. Any advice would be appreciated!

    Undergrad School: Top 5 public university
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.95
    Major/Minor: Health Policy/Business
    GRE: V: 168 (98%), Q: 162 (81%), W: 5.0 (93%)
    Experience/Research (please, be brief):
    - 1.5 years research internship/assistant position at a university health care research center
    - Summer internship at a well-known public health nonprofit in the area
    - 3 years as director of a public health volunteer club on campus that worked with children
    - 2 years of Teach for America post-graduation

    LOR: one from director at the university health care research center (strong letter), two from former professors (probably just average/a bit above average)

    Interests: MPH in health behavior, health education and promotion, child/adolescent health

    Applying: Do I have a chance of getting into top public health programs such as JHU, Harvard with my experience? My post-grad experience with TFA is more serviced oriented than directly related to public health. In my personal statement I will tie in how my experience in TFA relates to why I want to pursue health behavior/education/child and adolescent health.
     
  24. wwmmkk

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    Programs have two ways to assess your potential to succeed at the graduate level: undergrad GPA and GRE. Both are flawed measures (the GRE moreso, IMO), but that's how the system works. Your GPA is alright but not enough to make up for very low GRE scores at programs people on this forum tend to be aiming for. Is your public health GPA higher than your average GPA? That might help you some if so and hurt you some if not. Here are my thoughts on some steps you can take:

    1. Do your research to find CEPH accredited institutions that do not require GRE scores. Do not apply to for-profit schools; they're a waste. This will take some effort because due to the price of MPH programs, most people here are looking to get more bang for their buck and apply to top tier schools. I'm not sure what resources are out there to help in your search, but you could start on the CEPH website. You may have a tough time looking specifically for global health since many schools don't have a specific track but rather offer global health opportunities in each of the major tracks. I'd recommend applying to community & behavioral health tracks at schools that take this approach since I think that's the least competitive standard track.
    2. Take the GRE for real soon. It might be demoralizing, but it's better to have actual scores to talk about than the results of diagnostic tests. Also, I've found that sometimes diagnostic tests are harder than the actual GRE, probably so that test takers feel anxious about low scores and buy more preparation material. So you might do much better than you expect. Taking the GRE soon is important because...
    3. Get in touch with staff at the programs that interests you. Express sincere interest in their program and explain your GRE situation when you have actual scores. While they want a lot of applicants to their programs, they should be honest with you about 1) what their target range for GRE scores is and 2) how important GRE scores are in their overall evaluation of an applicant.
    4. Study for the GRE and take it multiple times. Like I said, I'd recommend doing it soon and then at least one more time in October, November, or later, depending on your program deadlines. It's probably mentally easier to write it off as something that's just going to be a weak spot on your application, but GRE scores do not measure some type of fixed, innate ability. You can absolutely learn how to do better on the test with time and persistence. I recommend the Magoosh program. I've seen it mentioned on these forums quite a bit and am currently using it to boost my score for PhD applications. It's far less expensive than classes but slightly pricier than practice books.
    5. You don't have to answer, but is there a reason why your scores are so bad? Do you have a learning disability or test anxiety? If so, get that documented so schools understand what's going on and apply for test accommodations through ETS.

    Good luck!! You have some serious work to do, but there are success stories all over this forum, so it's absolutely within your ability to do it.
     
    GradCurious411 likes this.
  25. wwmmkk

    2+ Year Member

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    Yes, you do. I had slightly worse stats than you and a similar story-- I did an urban teacher residency program and spent 5 years teaching in underperforming urban public schools which developed my interest in health behavior/education/adolescent health. I didn't apply to many top schools because scholarship money was a priority, but I did apply and get into Harvard. My advice to you would be to be careful about how you spin your TFA experience. At the very least, avoid falling into the "I thought I was the teacher, but it turns out, my students taught me more than I could have ever taught them" cliche. I would also avoid branding yourself as a "TFA alumn" or whatever in your personal statement; it doesn't have the best reputation everywhere in the country. Happy to chat more over PM if you'd like.
     
    mphhelp2019 likes this.
  26. chantik

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    Yup you're good. :) I went to one of the schools you mentioned for my MPH and knew people who did TFA. I can't say whether or not you'll get a scholarship-but I'd be SHOCKED if you didn't get in.
     
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  27. Gutterball1234

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    I just quoted my previous post so people wouldn't have to scroll up. After doing a lot of thinking about where my interests lie and my background in general, I would like to do some work helping to deal with the opioid epidemic (and similar issues as they may arise). I'd definitely want to apply somewhere with a strong program in behavioral health, as I would like to one day work for one of the big government departments dealing in public health (CDC, NIH, etc.) Looking through the program finder for SOPHAS (at least at some of the programs that have been recommended), I really liked what Emory has to offer. However, it seems like they are one of the more competitive programs. Before anyone suggests it, I didn't see anything that Ohio State offers that really fits what I'm looking for. Location isn't a big issue for me, and although scholarships would be nice, I was planning on being big time in debt when I was premed, so money isn't a big factor either. I'm really just looking for what programs to look at. Sorry if I'm seeming needy/annoying.

    Thank you all very much!
     
  28. wwmmkk

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    MPH admissions is nothing like med school admissions. Emory is definitely a top program, one of the best, but that doesn't mean it's competitive. I can't estimate your chances because I know nothing about MCAT scores (I feel like one of the few public health people who never wanted to be doctor, lol), but your GPA and experience is a match for Emory. The opioid epidemic is only tangential to my research interests, but I know plenty of people doing opioid/SUD work at Brown and at Pittsburgh, which makes sense because it's such a problem in RI and PA. Hopefully someone else chimes in, but if not, start hitting program websites to see where opioid behavioral health research is happening.
     
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  29. JDGBruin1317

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    Yes, Emory is a very good option for you to apply to because of the variable research opportunities they offer (sorry if I sound biased :p)! I think you should also check out UC Berkeley's Health & Social Behavior MPH program, as well as the Colorado School of Public Health. :)
     
  30. rbray254

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    Hi guys! A lot of y'all have so many impressive stats, I hope I rack up! Please, I'm welcome to any feedback regarding my application. Let me know what you think!

    Undergrad School: Top 10 Public, Graduating Dec 2019 (3.5 Years)
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.82/3.75
    Major/Minor: Biochemistry/Psychology+ Pre-Health Certificate
    GRE (including date taken): 159 Q / 162 V / 4.5 W
    Experience/Research (please, be brief):
    By the time my application is submitted:

    - 6 months (but will still be working) at Massachusetts General Hospital working as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the emergency dept (over 300 clinical hours), enrolling patients and processing lab samples for clinical trials
    - 1.5 years as an undergrad RA working in a plant biology lab doing independent research in signaling pathway of Arabidopsis (freshman and sophomore year)
    - 1 semester as an undergrad RA working in an Anxiety and Health behaviors lab, doing pretty much the same as Mass Gen: completing interviews and data entry for interventional clinical trials (senior year, upcoming)
    - 1 semester abroad, living in Barcelona (15 credits taken and transferred, GPA 3.9)
    - 3 semesters in on campus group Global Medical Training, includes some volunteering
    - 4 years as a sorority member, including being a member of the sorority's philanthropy committee (responsible for all fundraising and planning fundraising events)
    - 2 seasons on school's club gymnastics team
    - various part time jobs

    other random: proficiency in Spanish language, beginner (but learning) French

    LOR: Boss at MGH, PI undergrad, 2 Profs from home school, 1 abroad prof

    Interests: MPH or potentially MSPH, Epidemiology

    Applying: Emory, BU, UT Health, UI Chicago, GWU ... unsure of my entire list.

    Hesitant to apply to brand names like UW, worried my application isn't at par. Am I shooting too low? What do you guys think, is there something my app is blatantly missing?
     
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  31. MePleaseHokay

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    Hey guys! SO excited for all of us this year. Fingers crossed.

    Undergrad School: Vassar College
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.76/?
    Major/Minor: Neurolinguistics/French
    Grad GPA: N/A
    Grad Studies: MS in Medical Sciences
    GRE or Other: 31 on MCAT

    Experience/Research (keep brief):
    § 1 year – PEACE program, mentor and transportation coordinator (program to connect a low and high resource school through a pen-pal system between children with English as their native language and those with it as their non-native language)
    § 4 months – field work at St. Francis Hospital’s special needs Preschool for Communication Disorders
    § 9 months - TAPIF Program in Marseille: English Language Teaching Assistant and au pair
    § 1 year – member of HEPS student leadership board at Harvard Extension School
    § 10 months – worked as mental health counselor at McLean Psychiatric Hospital
    § 1 year – volunteer in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital
    § 1 week – mentored at Brandeis’ annual Global Youth Summit
    § 2 weeks, cumulatively – participated in two medical missions to the Dominican Republic; conducted surveys, sampled water quality, set up video communication with hospital, ran pop-up clinics
    § 2 years – teaching health education, then leading, in Correctional Health Educators program for incarcerated youth

    Special Factors:
    § CPR and BLS certified
    § Grew up in Stockholm, Sweden
    § Love of foreign language and culture; studied some French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Swedish, Old English, and Deaf Culture; foreign exchange trips to France and Russia; member of Russian Slava Society; Double Language Scholar in high school; took medical Spanish at med school

    Interested In: UC Berkeley, Emory, Columbia, UNC, Harvard, Yale, Karolinska Institute, University of Copenhagen
    Applied to:
    Accepted:
    Rejected:
    Waitlisted:


    Am I reaching for the stars with my choices...?:unsure:
    I'm super passionate now about public health but it took so much of my attention to get into med school that I'm worried I don't have enough to show how much preventive care and advocacy and policy all mean to me.. bah
    Good Luck, everyone!!
     
    #30 MePleaseHokay, Aug 1, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
  32. JDGBruin1317

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    I think you should definitely shoot for UW! You have a very good GPA and above average GRE scores in my opinion. Your experiences are pretty good as well! If money and location isn't an issue, you should also check out UC Berkeley, UCLA, UMich, and John Hopkins. Good luck! :D
     
  33. wwmmkk

    2+ Year Member

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    This is like... partially in response to some recommendations/questions on this thread but mostly not. Guess I'm just talking to myself, haha----

    As someone entering my second year of an MPH program, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to apply to programs that have professors or even whole research centers doing work that interests you. This will shape the electives you take, the internships you get connected to, and the direction of research assistantships or thesis projects you pursue, and those are the things that will ultimately set you apart from everyone else with an MPH after graduation and give you the specialized skills you need for whatever your goals are. I really think that aside from any potential irremovable logistic concerns like money, that should be first thing you all consider when applying.

    Someone asked me over PM how to figure out what a school's specific areas of focus/strength are within a department. Here's what I said to look for on the department's website:

    1) What do their affiliated research centers specialize in?
    2) Who is the chair/head of the department, and what are their listed research interests?
    3) What is written about the the "News" section of the department? This should tell you what major papers/projects are going on.
    4) If there are student profiles of MPH or PhD students, what do they list as research interests or thesis/dissertation topics?
    5) What research interests do established professors (associate or higher) have listed?
    6) What elective classes does the department offer? These are usually based on the interests of established teaching faculty.

    Not all schools will post all info like this, but all should have some info.

    The other thing you can do is go to the NIH reporter website and type the school's name under "organization." This will show you what federally funded projects are happening at the school. Note that it won't be specific to public health-- medical, biomedical, and psychology research is also funded through NIH.
    Doing this kind of research will help you end up at a program that's a good fit for you rather than just one that's highly ranked (and rank means so little in public health) and give you plenty to write about in the "Why X is a Good Program for Me" part of the personal statement. It is very possible that the best place for you to get your MPH is not the most difficult place to get into, and also very possible that you can get into a place you think is a reach if you can establish a strong connection between your interests and their work.

    (As an aside, be very careful when applying to UC schools, especially Berkeley. I've been told by advisors and heard through my network that the destabilization that happened a couple years ago has not been resolved and that there remain issues with faculty retention and budget. Just be sure that whatever opportunities that appeal to you there really exist and will be around through your degree.)
     
    #32 wwmmkk, Aug 2, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
  34. MePleaseHokay

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    Does anyone have experience applying to MPH programs abroad they can shed some light on? (Interested in Karolinska, University of Copenhagen, possibly King's College). Read through their sites, seems straight forward enough but just curious what I'm getting myself into.
    Thanks so much for any advice!
     
  35. el.mo19

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    Hi! I have two questions:

    1. How long ago did you take the MCAT? Based off of my knowledge, the score you reported is from the old MCAT format and I'm not sure how long the MCAT scores are good for (GRE is 5 years) but I know most schools require the new format. I would double check with schools to make sure that your test date/score will still be acceptable, that way if you need to retake or take the GRE you have enough time to prepare.

    2. What area of PH are you interested in? Based on your experiences it seems like Health Education or CHS? If so I think you stand a good chance at the schools you applied too so long as write a really great SOP and can tie some experiences :) I can't fully comment on how a 31 is percentage wise in comparison to GRE/the current MCAT format but your GPA is solid!

     
  36. lt_

    lt_

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    Undergrad School: Small Private Liberal Arts College
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.54
    Major/Minor: Psychology, with minors in French and Spanish
    GRE (including date taken): Taken 7/14/18 - Q: 156 (61%) V: 167 (98%) W: 4.5 (83%)
    Experience/Research (please, be brief):
    1. Working full-time for a community health center (CHC) helping uninsured/under-insured patients with chronic disease management and addressing barriers to care - our organization serves a large immigrant population (mostly Spanish-speaking) (2 years, 2 months by the time I would start school if I were accepted - 14-16 months experience when I submit applications)
    2. Volunteered regularly with a suicide prevention hotline (intervention/deescalation) for older adults throughout college (3 years)
    3. Contributed to the creation and development of a Sexual Assault Prevention Task Force at my college, which hosted monthly community discussions addressing sexual violence, which I facilitated (5 months)
    4. Interned with a major children’s hospital, working on a research study aimed to develop a curriculum teaching social and executive functioning skills to patients on the Autism Spectrum (1.5 years)
    5. Worked as a psychology research assistant (1 year)
    6. Worked as a French and Spanish tutor (1 year)
    LORs:
    MPH - (1) Psychology professor I did research with; (2) Current supervisor (RN); (3) ARNP I currently work with, has an MPH from UW
    MHA - (1) Current supervisor (RN); (2) Clinic manager I currently work with, has an MHA degree; (3) Supervisor from internship in college

    Special Factors: Trilingual and passionate about foreign languages (I am interested in language barriers to healthcare, and consider this a possible thesis topic) and social justice (I purposefully chose very social justice-oriented programs)

    Interested in: University of Washington (MPH Global Health, MPH Community-Oriented Public Health Practice, MHA) - these are the only programs I intend to apply to

    Applied:
    Accepted:
    Rejected:
    Waitlisted:

    ________________________________________________________________________
    I would love information about whether or not I have a shot at these programs, I am a WA resident (I'm not sure if that affects admissions like it does for undergraduate admissions). A bit nervous that I am only applying to 3 programs (I love Seattle too much to leave at this point -I've been here a little over a year), and about my GRE quant score (I previously took the GRE in March and got a 154 on the quant section, so I've improved a little and got out of the 50th percentile range, but I've never been a strong test taker in math - I did take Statistics in college and received an A).
     
    #35 lt_, Aug 6, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
  37. wwmmkk

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    Your stats and experience are certainly good enough to get admitted to these programs. Your quant score is average for global health and community health. I would strongly encourage you to change your list, however. I think applying to 3 programs (and two different degrees) at one school shows the admissions committee that you haven't defined your interests/career path, and that might be more dangerous than applying with below average stats. Which one are you most interested in? Have you talked to anyone at UW about how applying for multiple programs is viewed there?
     
    Cassatrass likes this.
  38. lt_

    lt_

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    Thanks for the feedback, I hadn't considered this. As far as I know, the applications would be reviewed by separate committees, but they probably would have information about the other programs I applied to. I'm less interested in the MHA program, honestly, but I figured I should apply as a backup anyway, just to give myself more options since I am limiting myself to Seattle (and, consequently, UW). I did do an informal interview for the COPHP program with a member of their faculty who specifically asked me whether I was applying to other programs, and she seemed to encourage it (she specifically mentioned that I should also apply to the MHA program). Maybe I'll try to reach out and ask.
     
    #37 lt_, Aug 6, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
  39. MePleaseHokay

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    Thanks so much for your reply and encouragement!! I'll check on that mcat.. that would be a big wrench in my plan if I need the GRE but I'm grateful you brought it up early! Thank you!
     
  40. InfectiousDrive

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    Ahh so I was originally intending to take a year off and then apply but life changes things. My boyfriend is a postdoc on a visa from the UK and has to leave at the end of this year SO I'm applying to various UK schools. Please, please message me if you have any tips or suggestions on UK admissions and other schools I should apply to. I'm also attracted to the fact that the UK programs are only a year long!

    Undergrad School: UVA - Intended graduation May 2019
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.412 overall
    Major/Minor: Biology and Global Public Health double major
    GRE: Won't be taking for this application cycle.
    Experience/Research (please, be brief):
    - 3 years by graduation in an antimalarial resistance lab --> will have my name on a paper once the grad student publishes
    - 5 weeks working with an NGO in Guatemala --> ended up working with a med student on an epidemiological study concerning malnutrition and will be published
    - 2 years volunteering with a women's shelter
    - Various roles in my sorority including event planner where I managed a budget of over $15k and planned events for 200+ people

    LOR: One from my lab PI and one from a humanities professor I've taken two classes with and have kept in contact with. Hoping to show some balance.

    Special Factors: Latina and fluent in Spanish, lots of travel experience/comfortable leaving the country for school

    Interests: Primarily epi, especially interested in infectious disease and reproductive health

    Applying: LSTMH, University College London, Oxford

    I feel I'd be fairly competitive within the US but I'm not sure how I'll compare in the UK for admissions.
     
  41. MePleaseHokay

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    Update: so far no issue for anyone else wondering; as long as the MCAT was taken within the same 5- year window allotted for the GRE every school I've called so far (Columbia, Yale, Harvard) has said no prob with old vs. new MCAT format
     
  42. el.mo19

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    That's awesome! Glad to hear! Thanks for sharing that info as well :)
     
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  43. TreeTrunks

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    Undergrad School: CA
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.7x
    Major/Minor: Global Health & Cell Biology
    GRE: Will take soon! 51x MCAT
    Experience/Research: A hodgepodge of research, volunteer, leadership, and paid positions working with immigrants, gender minorities, Native Americans, and students historically underrepresented in higher education.

    As I'm looking for research-oriented programs, relevant experiences include:
    • 2 years, immigrant health and health policy research
    • 1 year, cellular trafficking research
    • 1 summer, psychosocial stress biomarker research
    • 1 semester, surgical probe research
    • 1 year, medical anthropology thesis on borders

    Interested in: Immigrant health*
    Applying: UCLA Community Health MS, Harvard Epi/GH MS*, Berkeley Epi MPH, Emory Epi MSPH, Yale Chronic Disease Epi MPH, Michigan General Epi MPH, Stanford Community Health MS (hoping to refine and/or expand this list)
    Accepted:
    Rejected:
    Waitlisted:

    *How do you choose a track? I'm mainly interested in immigrant health, but I can't decide how I want to explore this interest. I've learned a lot about undocumented immigrant social determinants of health from CBPR methods, get super passionate about exploring social policies affecting immigrant access to health, and want to learn more about the biological and clinical outcomes of psychosocial stress. I know I can't do it all, but it's hard committing to a specific type of program. This could also spell trouble for me when it comes to choosing my thesis topic or practicum. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Also, is anyone planning to pursue an MD or MD/PhD in public health or medical anthropology after their public health grad program? I'm interested in hearing about your interests and strategies.
     
  44. wwmmkk

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    I came at public health from kind of a similar perspective as you as I was more interested in a particular population than a track/sub-discipline. In the end, I decided to do my MPH at Brown, and one of the main things I love about it is the Generalist (aka make-your-own) track because I've been able to combine epidemiology and behavioral science classes to pursue my particular interest (transgender health). I'd suggest you look at Brown for this reason too. The MPH here can be very research-focused if you want it to be.

    As most schools don't offer this sort of Generalist track (other Generalist/similarly named tracks are typically spread across all disciplines offered at the school and are way less flexible), I'd recommend finding professors at each institution who are doing immigrant health research and applying to the track that most of them are in. At the Masters level, you're unlikely to be writing a thesis a that involves conducting an independent, original study; it will probably be based on secondary analysis of data from studies that have been recently completed or are ongoing, so you want to be in the same department as wherever that data is. My assumption is that this will be community/behavioral health for most and epidemiology for some. This goes for PhD programs that interest you now as well; if you think you'll be applying for an epidemiology PhD, get your MS/MPH in epi as well to help your future applications. If you are for sure med school bound, though, I don't think it matters.

    The other way you could approach deciding on a track is just based on your interests/strengths. If you are more interested in and inclined to do well in a heavily quantitative research discipline, go for epi. If you're more interested in and inclined to do well with social science methods, go for behavioral health. There's a bigger overlap between disciplines than people acknowledge, so it's actually not a huge decision to make. Good luck!
     
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  45. publichealth22

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    Hi everyone! I am anxiously awaiting the opening of SOPHAS as I'm sure the rest of you are. I'm really interested in some guidance based on my experiences. It's so hard to know what programs I will potentially get into!

    Undergrad School: small liberal arts college (graduated 2017)
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.4
    Major/Minor: Biology/ Environmental Studies
    GRE: 156 V (73%), 158 Q (68%), 4.5 AW (82%)
    Experience/Research: Various volunteer and leadership positions in college, now working for what will be 2 years by Fall 2019 in the public health associate program with the CDC

    Interested in: Epidemiology
    Applying: Harvard, Yale, Emory, Michigan, Minnesota, JHU, Berkeley, Columbia
    Accepted:
    Rejected:
    Waitlisted:
     
    #44 publichealth22, Aug 9, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  46. el.mo19

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    Question about LOR,

    I know SOPHAS allows up to 5 letters, and I was initially planning on getting all five. However, I did a TIPH webinar and saw the Emory specifically said they only accept 3. Does anyone have any advice about whether it's better to just get three versus the extra 2? I think all 5 would be strong, but I definitely have a top three I would prefer schools to read if they only will read 3.
     
  47. wwmmkk

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    SOPHAS sends all letters you upload to all schools, and IIRC there's no way to tell Emory via SOPHAS which 3 you'd like them to read. I guess you could email a request? I don't think LORs are not a huge part of most people's applications (fun story: one of my writers accidentally scanned and uploaded the back of the letter he'd written and I got into 7 schools before anyone notified me what happened), so it's really not a big loss if Emory only reads 3/5 if they're all strong. However, if you know there's a big difference between your top 3 and the bottom 2, I'd just submit 3 to all schools anyway.
     
  48. chantik

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    You seem to have good experience and decent grades and GRE scores...might be reaching for some of the schools on your list - especially if you want funding from any of them. I'd consider looking at Drexel, GW, and BU as well.
     
    wwmmkk likes this.
  49. Cassatrass

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    Mildly anecdotal, but I submitted 5 and nobody asked about it. I got into every program applied to and am attending Emory. Thus, I don't think it'll matter either way!
     
  50. JDGBruin1317

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    I believe Emory will read the first 3 LORs even if you send all 5, but you can always email admissions to make sure. If you have 5 strong LORs it definitely won't hurt to send all of them to your schools!
     
  51. mightyhopeful94

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    Undergrad School: UC
    Undergrad GPA/Major GPA: 3.15/3.44 (last two years)
    Major/Minor: Public Health
    GRE: based on diagnostic test 152 V/ 151 Q; (I am still studying so hopefully the real scores will be better)
    Experience/Research (please, be brief):
    - 2 yrs as research assistant in undergrad in tobacco study
    - 1 yr involved in campus health education
    - 2 months research internship in health behavior research
    - 1.5 yrs clinic coordinator
    - 1 yr currently as research assistant in nutrition study

    LOR: 1 from undergrad professor, 1 from research internship, 1 or 2 from current supervisors
    Interests: Chronic epidemiology, health disparities
    Applying: MPH Epi - UCLA, San Diego State, UC Irvine

    Are there any other programs I should apply to? Also is there anything I can do to improve my chances for funding?
     

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