MPH low GPA

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emann21

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Hi everyone,

I'm going into my senior of college and I don't have the best GPA. I'm a global health major and economics minor. It was on the rise from freshman year, where I was going through quite a transition. My fall semester (junior year) I had a 3.5 and my overall GPA was a 3.1. However, my spring semester was incredibly rough, because I dealt with the passing of two close relatives during both midterms and finals week and other issues as well. As a result, my GPA has suffered. Now it's approximately a 2.9.

I worked the past three years as a tutor for children. The previous summer I interned at WIC. This summer I am doing research with a professor and will likely be published for my work. I am also incredibly involved in service and various clubs on campus.

How can I ensure I have a strong application that helps to surpass my GPA?
I am beginning to study for the GRE that I will take in the fall. Does any one have any advice?
(I'm really looking to go to school in Philadelphia, if that's relevant.)

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JDGBruin1317

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This is a good question. I'm facing a similar situation. I'm an incoming Senior and my GPA isn't the highest either. I've had an increasing trend since freshman year with one dip because of my study abroad class. I'm interested in pursing a masters in public health as well. Because of my not so high GPA, I plan on taking a gap year to work and gain more experience. I'm thinking about taking the GRE this summer, so I know I have to have stellar scores to make up for my grades.

Have you thought about taking a gap year?
 

emann21

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This is a good question. I'm facing a similar situation. I'm an incoming Senior and my GPA isn't the highest either. I've had an increasing trend since freshman year with one dip because of my study abroad class. I'm interested in pursing a masters in public health as well. Because of my not so high GPA, I plan on taking a gap year to work and gain more experience. I'm thinking about taking the GRE this summer, so I know I have to have stellar scores to make up for my grades.

Have you thought about taking a gap year?

I have thought about taking a gap year. However, I'm a little unsure what I could spend the year doing. I have been looking into the HealthCorps, but I've heard mixed reviews. Do you have any idea what exactly you would like to do?
 
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Pudu2009

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This is a good question. I'm facing a similar situation. I'm an incoming Senior and my GPA isn't the highest either. I've had an increasing trend since freshman year with one dip because of my study abroad class. I'm interested in pursing a masters in public health as well. Because of my not so high GPA, I plan on taking a gap year to work and gain more experience. I'm thinking about taking the GRE this summer, so I know I have to have stellar scores to make up for my grades.

Have you thought about taking a gap year?

Admission to public health schools is very holistic. I would suggest applying this year and seeing what happens. Yes, you'll have to rock the GRE this summer, and you'll have to do a lot of research on schools and apply smart.
 

JDGBruin1317

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I have thought about taking a gap year. However, I'm a little unsure what I could spend the year doing. I have been looking into the HealthCorps, but I've heard mixed reviews. Do you have any idea what exactly you would like to do?

I've been looking into entry level jobs in different non-profit organizations or local health clinics and internships/fellowships, specifically at CDC. I was also thinking about applying for CDC's Public Health Associates Program (PHAP) next year.
 

Pudu2009

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Definitely if you have a plan for your gap year then take it. There are a couple PHAPers working in my division at the DC Department of Health and they love it. They are planning to apply to MPH programs this coming year for Fall 2017 (there's is a two year program), and their experience will really be an advantage (think of all those amazing LoRs!). I highly recommend applying for it if you plan to wait to get your MPH.
 

shamsham

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Like stated before, MPH programs take a Holistic approach when it comes to applicants. If you can show the admission committee that you can handle an MPH course load then you will get into at least a few programs. Try your best to score around the 80% for all sections of the GRE. That will prove that you have the critical thinking skills to handle the program. Also make sure you explain your low grades in the personal statement or in an addendum.

I found the Magoosh online GRE test prep very helpful. Try to take as many practice exams as you can, so you can master the test taking skills required to do well.
 
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Meecha

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I'm hesitant about getting into a MPH/PhD program. I have a low uGPA ~2.9 (state school, major: pathobiology and veterinary science) and GRE combined score is 310. I have extensive research background - I currently work at a regenerative medicine lab. I have 1 publication (abstract) where I am first author and some great LORs.
Would I have a chance of getting into a combined program?
 

wwmmkk

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@Meecha, If you have your heart set on a PhD, I would strongly encourage you to apply to MPH programs first and PhD programs after your earn that degree. Your GPA is below average for MPH programs, which I feel would make you an unlikely candidate for PhD programs unless you have a different Masters degree that you didn't mention. Your GRE score is average for most MPH programs (I'm assuming you did equally well on quant and verbal), so that doesn't outweigh your GPA much. If you apply to a mix of reach and target MPH schools this year, you may get into a strong program that will allow you to cultivate a better grad GPA. Your chances of getting into a PhD program then will be much higher. While they obviously will be impressed with your research experience, PhD programs take a less holistic approach than MPH programs and will really like to see a higher GPA and GRE score.

I feel like this is what everyone ends their advice with, but: Call the admissions departments at the programs you are interested in. Give them your stats and ask whether they recommend you apply to combined programs/PhD programs now or get an MPH first. The admissions people I have contacted at a few schools (Harvard, Tufts, Buffalo, Pitt) have been exceptionally kind and helpful.
 
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