On November 1, 2017, MyHealth Career Navigator founder and Associate Dean at UC Berkeley School of Public Health Jeffrey Oxendine hosted a webinar on how to strengthen your applications to public health graduate school programs. The deadline to apply to graduate programs in public health via the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) is fast approaching. Here is a recap on top tips for strengthening your public health graduate school application.
Do Your Homework
What specific career are you interested in pursuing within public health? What are the missions of the schools you are applying to? What are the schools looking for in an applicant? Do your homework on what types of public health programs you want to apply to that fits your career aspirations. Make sure that the schools you are interested in offer the degree program you are looking for.
Attend Events and Build Relationships
Attending pre-application advising events and prospective student events can help you build important connections with admission officers and students that can serve you well when you apply.
Get Relevant, Paid Working Experience
We stress often that getting work experience before applying to graduate school will help you both grow as a person and improve your chances of admittance. Graduate schools look at applicants holistically now when reviewing, so having work experience shows schools that you can succeed in a professional environment and that you already have experience working in public health. Writing your statement of purpose and preparing for interviews become more interesting when you've been out in the real world than if you just apply straight from undergrad. Working for several years after undergrad can expose you to different career paths which will help you when deciding on what specific graduate programs to apply to. Read this article: The Importance of Paid Work Experience Before Graduate School
Eliminate or Address Doubt
Applying to go to graduate school is stressful, but it can also be an enlightening and rewarding experience. If you find yourself plagued with anxiety and doubt when thinking about or working on your application, don't ignore it. Ask yourself: Where is my doubt coming from? Am I just anxious about the application or is it something more? Take the time to address any doubt you are experiencing by talking to a trusted advisor and doing inner-reflection about why you want to go to graduate school. Having clarity about your graduate school and career goals help tremendously in getting to the next step.
Give Your Self Time and Make It A Priority
Graduate school applications require focus, so do not attempt to do everything last minute. Schedule time in your schedule each week to work on your application. Start as early as possible in researching degree programs, crafting your personal statement, and asking for recommendations from professors and past supervisors. Crafting your story will entail multiple revisions; give yourself time to build a strong application.
Strengthen Your Story and Packaging
Get and Incorporate Feedback
No one succeeds on their own. Getting feedback on any aspect of the application process (i.e. the personal statement, your interview skills) can make a huge difference in the quality of your application. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for help with your essay and advice on your application.
Persistence and Perseverance
Applying to graduate schools is a daunting task, but all your hard work and long nights will be worth it when you have an acceptance letter in your hand. Remember, all you need is one school to accept you. Keep working on your essay until your authentic voice comes through so that even a stranger can tell you are passionate about public health. Keep attending open houses and talking with graduate students. Don't give up.