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Hi, 

Thought I'd start this topic for 2018 fall applicants specifically for Public Health.

I realise there is a general one for all applicants, but thought it might be useful to have one for just a Public Health field (in the most broad sense). I apologise if this post is redundant.

I just wanted comments on whether my choice of universities were too strong. Although these were the only programmes which matched my interests.

Feel free to comment/share your experience so far.

 

Undergrad Institution: Imperial College London, UK (Top for science in UK)
Major(s): Biomedical Sciences
Minor(s): n/a
GPA in Major: no GPA system in UK (Upper 2nd class)
Overall GPA: n/a
Position in Class: 
Type of Student: International female

Postgrad: MSc in Public Health (GPA 3.88) at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 160 (76%)
V: 167 (98%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
B:


TOEFL Total: n/a

Research Experience: 2 years in health services research

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: some teaching assistance

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points:

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:

Harvard, John Hopkins, UNC, UCLA, UCSF, Northwestern, Brown, Ohio State, Iowa, Standford

Edited by jjj02027

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Okay I'm going to jump in as I'm preparing to apply for Fall 2018 as well. 

Edit: I don't know why this shows up so large! Sorry!

Undergrad Institution: CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies at Hunter College
Major(s): Public Health & Human Rights
Minor(s): n/a
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Position in Class: Top 5%
Type of Student: Native American, older (40+), veteran

Postgrad: None

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 150 (38%)
V: 159 (83%)
W: 3.5 (42%)
They sucks, but I plan to retake them in a couple months.

TOEFL Total: n/a

Research Experience: 2 semesters research assistant, 1 1/2 years in independent research in East Africa
Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
External honors:

  • Fulbright Scholar, Kenya Student Research Grantee 2017-2018
  • Fund for Education Abroad, Rainbow Scholar Fall 2016
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholar Fall 2016
  • World Learning, SIT Access Africa Grantee Fall 2016
  • US Army, 3-Yr ROTC Scholarship Spring 1992

Internal honors:

  • CUNY Baccalaureate, Lesley F. Hughes Health Sciences Grantee Spring 2017
  • CUNY Baccalaureate, Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellow 2016-2017
  • CUNY Baccalaureate, Ketchum Memorial Scholar Spring 2016
  • CUNY Baccalaureate, S. Suthiana Impact Award Spring 2016
  • CUNY Hunter College, Dean’s List 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Currently volunteer at a queer immigrant organization in NYC helping to improve health outcomes, and serve on the board of a sex-worker health organization in Uganda; previously Combat Medic in US Army Reserves, sexual health educator, and health and wellness coach specializing in clients with chronic disease (HIV, diabetes, fibromyalgia).

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 

  • My first paper on is being reviewed for publication. 
  • My area of research is focusing on sexual minority stress, stigma and forced migration.
  • I've presented at a couple conferences

Special Bonus Points: My academic mentor is a highly respected academic in the field of sexual minority stress and LGBT health
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I don't know this will matter but I have a very popular twitter account that focuses on LGBTQ health with over 53k followers so I know that will show up when they google me.  

Applying to Where:

Harvard (PhD in Population Health Sciences, Social and behavioral sciences);

Columbia (PhD in Sociomedical Sciences);

NYU (PhD in Social & Behavioral Sciences);

Rutgers (PhD in Health Education & Behavioral Science);

CUNY SPH (MPH in Community Health Education) or (DPH in Community, Society and Health) 

Edited by Embee
Fix font size

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On 10/09/2017 at 8:25 PM, Embee said:

Okay I'm going to jump in as I'm preparing to apply for Fall 2018 as well. 

Edit: I don't know why this shows up so large! Sorry!

Undergrad Institution: CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies at Hunter College
Major(s): Public Health & Human Rights
Minor(s): n/a
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Position in Class: Top 5%
Type of Student: Native American, older (40+), veteran

Postgrad: None

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 150 (38%)
V: 159 (83%)
W: 3.5 (42%)
They sucks, but I plan to retake them in a couple months.

TOEFL Total: n/a

Research Experience: 2 semesters research assistant, 1 1/2 years in independent research in East Africa
Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
External honors:

  • Fulbright Scholar, Kenya Student Research Grantee 2017-2018
  • Fund for Education Abroad, Rainbow Scholar Fall 2016
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholar Fall 2016
  • World Learning, SIT Access Africa Grantee Fall 2016
  • US Army, 3-Yr ROTC Scholarship Spring 1992

Internal honors:

  • CUNY Baccalaureate, Lesley F. Hughes Health Sciences Grantee Spring 2017
  • CUNY Baccalaureate, Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellow 2016-2017
  • CUNY Baccalaureate, Ketchum Memorial Scholar Spring 2016
  • CUNY Baccalaureate, S. Suthiana Impact Award Spring 2016
  • CUNY Hunter College, Dean’s List 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Currently volunteer at a queer immigrant organization in NYC helping to improve health outcomes, and serve on the board of a sex-worker health organization in Uganda; previously Combat Medic in US Army Reserves, sexual health educator, and health and wellness coach specializing in clients with chronic disease (HIV, diabetes, fibromyalgia).

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 

  • My first paper on is being reviewed for publication. 
  • My area of research is focusing on sexual minority stress, stigma and forced migration.
  • I've presented at a couple conferences

Special Bonus Points: My academic mentor is a highly respected academic in the field of sexual minority stress and LGBT health
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I don't know this will matter but I have a very popular twitter account that focuses on LGBTQ health with over 53k followers so I know that will show up when they google me.  

Applying to Where:

Harvard (PhD in Population Health Sciences, Social and behavioral sciences);

Columbia (PhD in Sociomedical Sciences);

NYU (PhD in Social & Behavioral Sciences);

Rutgers (PhD in Health Education & Behavioral Science);

CUNY SPH (MPH in Community Health Education) or (DPH in Community, Society and Health) 

Hi!

Thanks for the reply! A similar post like this was really popular last year, but I'm not sure why it's so quiet this year! You have such extensive experience I don't think your GRE scores will actually matter, but obviously higher scores will help too.

I didn't go into any detail above, but my research interest are in the elderly, and am hoping to study frailty, comorbidities, and polypharmacy, using electronic health records. My list of universities is continually changing at the moment, as I'm still unfamiliar with US universities, being mostly UK based. I assume your focus in New York is because you are already based there?

I wish you all the best in your application.

Best,

Dani 

Edited by jjj02027

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Hi All,

I recently submitted my applications and have been lurking these forums for a while, so I thought I would introduce myself. Can't wait to hear back from these schools and am super excited about entering the public health field. The waiting game is torture! Who's with me on this?

In a nutshell, I am interested in studying medication use in inpatients. Drugs can be very expensive, very harmful, but also life-saving. Consequently, there is much work to be done on optimizing their use in hospitals. Here are my basic stats:

Undergrad Institution: Big state school

Major(s): Biology

Minor(s): n/a

Undergrad GPA: 3.4

Overall GPA: 3.6
 

Graduate Studies: PharmD (GPA 3.98) 

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 160 (76%)
V: 158 (80%)
W: 4 (60%)

Research Experience: Competitive summer internship at prestigious academic medical center (4 months; paid), several research projects throughout school with mentors (~1 year; unpaid), claims data analysis (~4 months; paid); 2 publications (1 I am first author)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: a few scholarships & awards given throughout graduate program

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: none, other than those stated above

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: a bunch of extracurriculars, including president of student organization and appointments to several school committees

Special Bonus Points: probably really good LOR's (but don't know for certain); two are from graduates of the programs I am applying to, which happen to be my top choices

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Know how to program in Stata and am teaching myself R currently. R is great!

Applying to Where: Hopkins (PhD, HPM-HSR & Policy Track), Harvard (SM1, Pharmacoepi), BU SPH (MS, Epi), Brown (PhD, HSPP, Pharm. Health Services Track), UNC (DPOP PhD), UPenn (MSCE - Pharmacoepi)

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Undergradaute: N.E. private university
Major(s): History
Minor(s): Philosophy 
GPA in Major: 3.9 something
Overall GPA:3.85
Position in Class:
  Not sure? Top 10%?
Type of Student: International female

Postgrad: MPH in Biostatistics and Epidemiology (GPA 3.85ish so far) at Johns Hopkins University

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 162 (90%)
V: 159 (73%)
W: 5.0 (90 something...Idk lol)


Research Experience/Pertinent Activities: several years total in academic public health research as well as disease surveillance for the CDC and state/local health departments. Also worked briefly at NIH and the Smithsonian. Currently RA in Global Epidemiology (vector borne diseases) and working with CBOS on climate change issues in Baltimore. 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Fulbright scholar, various scholarships  in undergrad, Summa Cum Laude, High Honors in History, a few publications and conference presentations etc.

Applying to Where: UMD (Toxicology and Environmental Health),  Oregon State (Environmental Health), Pittsburgh (Environmental Epidemiology), UMN (Environmental Health), Michigan (Environmental Health), maybe Columbia (Climate and Health), JHU (Environmental Epi and Exposure Sciences)

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed honestly-and REALLY behind. I've selected my schools and have started to contact references but I need to flush out my statement of purpose! AH. I think a large part of my procrastination is due to the assumption I won't get in anywhere haha. Anyone else scared of this?

 

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On 9/21/2017 at 3:22 PM, eek_ said:

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed honestly-and REALLY behind. I've selected my schools and have started to contact references but I need to flush out my statement of purpose! AH. I think a large part of my procrastination is due to the assumption I won't get in anywhere haha. Anyone else scared of this?

 

Absolutely! It's only natural to feel this way--whenever we put ourselves out there, we risk rejection. You seem to have some really excellent, distinguishing experiences, though. I think these will count for a lot and set you apart from other applicants. Plus, your test scores and academic history are both stellar.

Just crank out that statement and get those letters in. You're almost at the finish line!

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On 21/09/2017 at 8:22 PM, eek_ said:

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed honestly-and REALLY behind. I've selected my schools and have started to contact references but I need to flush out my statement of purpose! AH. I think a large part of my procrastination is due to the assumption I won't get in anywhere haha. Anyone else scared of this?

 

Feeling EXACTLY the same here. I have even changed the list of unis since my first post, so I will probably update it after I have submitted all my applications. Good luck to you applications.

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Thanks all!

Have you all had much luck reaching out to professors you'd like to work with our department heads? I'm not quite sure what to expect or the etiquette/protocol that it entails. Is this something you HAVE to do? Is it encouraged? Does it not really matter? I hear mixed things!

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Over the span of my career, my vision is to become an independent researcher focusing on the dissemination and implementation of pragmatic programs designed to prevent chronic disease and enhance quality of life in at-risk/underserved populations through physical activity and lifestyle behavior changes.

Undergrad Institution: Adelphi University
Major(s): Exercise Science
Overall GPA: 3.65
Type of Student: White male, late 20s
Graduate Institution: Northeastern University
Major(s): Exercise Science
Concentration(s): Physical Activity & Public Health
Overall GPA: 3.78


GRE Scores
Q: 164 (87%)
V: 163 (93%)
W: 4.5 (82%)

Research Experience: Research assistant for all 4 semesters during graduate program, 3+ years as a senior research assistant at the University of Colorado School of Medicine

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Poster presentations and published work (co-primary author) related to my field of interest

Special Bonus Points: LOR coming from well-known name in my field, as he has been co-author on multiple works I’ve been involved with

Applying to Where:
These are all subject to change depending on mentor availability. Still waiting on a few responses…
Harvard, Population Health Sciences PhD

Emory, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education PhD

UNC Chapel Hill, Health Behavior PhD

Washington University in St. Louis, Public Health Sciences PhD

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On 9/28/2017 at 6:59 PM, eek_ said:

Thanks all!

Have you all had much luck reaching out to professors you'd like to work with our department heads? I'm not quite sure what to expect or the etiquette/protocol that it entails. Is this something you HAVE to do? Is it encouraged? Does it not really matter? I hear mixed things!

Typically, most programs will stipulate if you need to reach out beforehand or not. Even if they don't require it, most will still recommend you do so. After all, you don't want to end up at a program where you don't have a good mentor match. 

I've gotten a few responses so far, still waiting on some. If you don't hear back, it's okay to send a small note off about 2-3 weeks later. Professors are often busy and miss/forget about some emails.

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On 9/28/2017 at 8:59 PM, eek_ said:

Thanks all!

Have you all had much luck reaching out to professors you'd like to work with our department heads? I'm not quite sure what to expect or the etiquette/protocol that it entails. Is this something you HAVE to do? Is it encouraged? Does it not really matter? I hear mixed things!

This really depends on the program. For some, prospective students are required to contact a mentor and establish whether there is a good fit. The UNC HPM department, for example, won't admit a student unless a potential faculty advisor has been identified beforehand and that professor is willing to work with the student. On the other extreme, communication with faculty is discouraged until students are selected for consideration in later stages of the admissions cycle. Oftentimes, this aspect of applying is unclear on program websites. I would suggest reaching out to each school that you're planning on applying to.

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2 hours ago, pharmah said:

This really depends on the program. For some, prospective students are required to contact a mentor and establish whether there is a good fit. The UNC HPM department, for example, won't admit a student unless a potential faculty advisor has been identified beforehand and that professor is willing to work with the student. On the other extreme, communication with faculty is discouraged until students are selected for consideration in later stages of the admissions cycle. Oftentimes, this aspect of applying is unclear on program websites. I would suggest reaching out to each school that you're planning on applying to.

Yes-that's what I've been noticing as well! I wish it were more clear. I've actually been contacting the department/program coordinator first to get a sense of what is appropriate for their program and what is not. So far, I think that strategy is working OK.  Plus, they are less intimidating ha!

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On 29/09/2017 at 1:59 AM, eek_ said:

Thanks all!

Have you all had much luck reaching out to professors you'd like to work with our department heads? I'm not quite sure what to expect or the etiquette/protocol that it entails. Is this something you HAVE to do? Is it encouraged? Does it not really matter? I hear mixed things!

Just to jump in on this.

I decided to contact professors only 2 weeks ago, and overall, it has been useful. I've chatted informally with a professor regarding research fit, whilst others have replied with short emails saying they'd consider me once I am accepted onto the course. I've also had several replies saying that they do not supervise PhD and directed me to another professor/department with potential research fit. A soft reminder after 2 weeks definitely helped with response rates. All in all, I would say there is no harm in reaching out.

On a separate note, I was wondering what everyone's plans were for funding arrangements? As an international student, I am a little worried about the lack of secure funding opportunities...

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On 28/08/2017 at 5:38 PM, jjj02027 said:

Applying to Where:

Harvard, John Hopkins, UNC, UCLA, UCSF, Northwestern, Brown, Ohio State, Iowa, Standford

Ended up applying to the following:

Harvard, JH, UNC, UCSF, Columbia, NYU (All Epidemiology PhD) & UCLA (HPM PhD)

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On 10/9/2017 at 3:18 PM, jjj02027 said:

Just to jump in on this.

I decided to contact professors only 2 weeks ago, and overall, it has been useful. I've chatted informally with a professor regarding research fit, whilst others have replied with short emails saying they'd consider me once I am accepted onto the course. I've also had several replies saying that they do not supervise PhD and directed me to another professor/department with potential research fit. A soft reminder after 2 weeks definitely helped with response rates. All in all, I would say there is no harm in reaching out.

On a separate note, I was wondering what everyone's plans were for funding arrangements? As an international student, I am a little worried about the lack of secure funding opportunities...

Have two phone calls scheduled for further talks myself after some soft reminders, so I'm in agreement with you1 As for funding, I'm not 100% familiar with all of the programs that you're applying to, but I feel as if most would guarantee funding for at least the first two years, if not all four. After all, any program worth its weight won't burden you down with loans or leave you hanging in the breeze. Probably the best way to look at programs (which I've seen elsewhere on these boards) is which of the programs will fully fund you and is the best fit? That's your top choice.

On 10/9/2017 at 3:22 PM, jjj02027 said:

Ended up applying to the following:

Harvard, JH, UNC, UCSF, Columbia, NYU (All Epidemiology PhD) & UCLA (HPM PhD)

I'm impressed you've already gotten your applications in! I'm still slogging through mine.

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Hi everyone,

Just trying to see what you all think of my profile and whatnot.  My GPA isn't great from undergrad or masters, but you tell me what you think.  I'm applying to 11 programs with the hope that someone will accept me! I haven't submitted my applications as I was waiting to hear back from professors but think I may submit in the next week or so anyway.

Undergrad Institution: Rutgers 
Major(s): Public Health
GPA in Major: 3.7
Overall GPA: 3.128

Type of Student: female late 20s

Postgrad: MPH from GW in Global Health - 3.4 GPA 

GRE Scores:
Q: 159 (73%)
V: 156 (73%)
W: 4.5 (82%)

Research Experience: '

  • Almost 3 years with CDC in southern Africa (that's where I am now), as a co-investigator on a well-known HIV study
  • 2 years in clinical research (HIV care in children/adults) at a hospital in DC
  • A few months as a field interviewer on a behavioral HIV research study
  • 1 year undergrad research assistant at an AIDS program


Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

  • CDC global health fellowship 
  • Scholarship from GW to do practicum work abroad
  • A few different undergrad scholarships
  • First-author on a peer-reviewed paper (based on my master's thesis)
  • Girl Scout Gold Award (like eagle scout but for girls)


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

  • All the above research jobs were paid (except the undergrad RA), 
  • Masters practicum with UN agency abroad doing trend analysis/end of year reporting
  • Was an Emergency Medical Technician in college for 3 years
  • Peer educator/HIV test counselor in college
  • Volunteered in Central America with a small NGO for a summer and two weeks throughout the school year


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 

  • Presented at 3 conferences on different research (Ryan White programs, LGBTQ language, HIV in children)
  • Started a student group in grad school that provides medical leadership to Haiti


Special Bonus Points: Two of my LORs come from CDC epidemiologists (not sure if this counts as special bonus points as neither are directors or that "well-known" scientifically but they're both supervisors with tons of epi/global health experience) 


Applying to Where: UW (global health metrics), Rutgers (Epi), Tulane (epi), oregon (epi), UC Berkeley (epi), Columbia (epi), UCLA (epi), Harvard (pop health sciences - global health and population), GW (epi), Hopkins (International health - global epi), and probably Emory (epi)

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On 9/10/2017 at 9:25 PM, Embee said:

Okay I'm going to jump in as I'm preparing to apply for Fall 2018 as well. 

Edit: I don't know why this shows up so large! Sorry!

Undergrad Institution: CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies at Hunter College
Major(s): Public Health & Human Rights
Minor(s): n/a
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Position in Class: Top 5%
Type of Student: Native American, older (40+), veteran

Postgrad: None

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 150 (38%)
V: 159 (83%)
W: 3.5 (42%)
They sucks, but I plan to retake them in a couple months.

TOEFL Total: n/a

Research Experience: 2 semesters research assistant, 1 1/2 years in independent research in East Africa
Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
External honors:

  • Fulbright Scholar, Kenya Student Research Grantee 2017-2018
  • Fund for Education Abroad, Rainbow Scholar Fall 2016
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholar Fall 2016
  • World Learning, SIT Access Africa Grantee Fall 2016
  • US Army, 3-Yr ROTC Scholarship Spring 1992

Internal honors:

  • CUNY Baccalaureate, Lesley F. Hughes Health Sciences Grantee Spring 2017
  • CUNY Baccalaureate, Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellow 2016-2017
  • CUNY Baccalaureate, Ketchum Memorial Scholar Spring 2016
  • CUNY Baccalaureate, S. Suthiana Impact Award Spring 2016
  • CUNY Hunter College, Dean’s List 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Currently volunteer at a queer immigrant organization in NYC helping to improve health outcomes, and serve on the board of a sex-worker health organization in Uganda; previously Combat Medic in US Army Reserves, sexual health educator, and health and wellness coach specializing in clients with chronic disease (HIV, diabetes, fibromyalgia).

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 

  • My first paper on is being reviewed for publication. 
  • My area of research is focusing on sexual minority stress, stigma and forced migration.
  • I've presented at a couple conferences

Special Bonus Points: My academic mentor is a highly respected academic in the field of sexual minority stress and LGBT health
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I don't know this will matter but I have a very popular twitter account that focuses on LGBTQ health with over 53k followers so I know that will show up when they google me.  

Applying to Where:

Harvard (PhD in Population Health Sciences, Social and behavioral sciences);

Columbia (PhD in Sociomedical Sciences);

NYU (PhD in Social & Behavioral Sciences);

Rutgers (PhD in Health Education & Behavioral Science);

CUNY SPH (MPH in Community Health Education) or (DPH in Community, Society and Health) 

Wow! I think you're super impressive with all you've done outside the classroom.  I think your non-traditional background makes you super competitive.  I think the GRE will hurt less than your not having a Masters - schools like Harvard and Columbia explicitly say on their websites that a masters is not required but "highly preferred."

Still, I think with your background it seems like you have a good shot? I have no idea what people were like last year who got into these programs.  Does anyone have the link to the thread last year?

Best of luck!

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17 hours ago, ianmleavitt said:

Have two phone calls scheduled for further talks myself after some soft reminders, so I'm in agreement with you1 As for funding, I'm not 100% familiar with all of the programs that you're applying to, but I feel as if most would guarantee funding for at least the first two years, if not all four. After all, any program worth its weight won't burden you down with loans or leave you hanging in the breeze. Probably the best way to look at programs (which I've seen elsewhere on these boards) is which of the programs will fully fund you and is the best fit? That's your top choice.

I'm impressed you've already gotten your applications in! I'm still slogging through mine.

I agree re funding. I've decided it's too early to worry about funding since I have no offers yet anyway ;P.

I actually have 2 of my applications to finish yet, but I have the 'big' schools out of the way which means most of the burden is off. With hindsight, I rushed a little bit too much as I ended up with lots of typos on my SOP!

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17 hours ago, ewriad18 said:

Hi everyone,

Just trying to see what you all think of my profile and whatnot.  My GPA isn't great from undergrad or masters, but you tell me what you think.  I'm applying to 11 programs with the hope that someone will accept me! I haven't submitted my applications as I was waiting to hear back from professors but think I may submit in the next week or so anyway.

You have amazing experience so I think you would stand out in that way. I'd be hopeful, especially if you have found professors with good research fit? 

Edited by jjj02027

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Hi all -

I last applied during the 2016 cycle before I had any work experience. Hopefully things work out better this time around ;)

Undergrad Institution: Liberal Arts College
Major(s): Chemistry
Overall GPA: 3.4
Type of Student: US citizen, Asian, Male
Graduate Institution: Top 5 SPH
Major(s): Global Health
Concentration(s):
Overall GPA: 3.8


GRE Scores
Q: 164 (87%)
V: 163 (93%)
W: 4.5 (82%)

Research Experience: 4 years in undergrad, multiple projects during masters, and now a 1+ years at a researcher at my graduate university

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 1 first-authored published manuscript, 3 co-author published manuscripts, 8+ manuscripts under review

Special Bonus Points: Much better LORs this time around

Applying to Where: Epidemiology PhD programs at UNC, Hopkins, Harvard, Columbia

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3 hours ago, jjj02027 said:

I agree re funding. I've decided it's too early to worry about funding since I have no offers yet anyway ;P.

I actually have 2 of my applications to finish yet, but I have the 'big' schools out of the way which means most of the burden is off. With hindsight, I rushed a little bit too much as I ended up with lots of typos on my SOP!

RE: typos in SOPs - get your computer to read your SOP to you. I caught like, 10 typos in mine (example: moment instead of momentum, addition instead of addiction) that way that I didn't catch after reading the bloody thing 100 times.

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1 hour ago, storm_jonas said:

Hi all -

I last applied during the 2016 cycle before I had any work experience. Hopefully things work out better this time around ;)

Undergrad Institution: Liberal Arts College
Major(s): Chemistry
Overall GPA: 3.4
Type of Student: US citizen, Asian, Male
Graduate Institution: Top 5 SPH
Major(s): Global Health
Concentration(s):
Overall GPA: 3.8


GRE Scores
Q: 164 (87%)
V: 163 (93%)
W: 4.5 (82%)

Research Experience: 4 years in undergrad, multiple projects during masters, and now a 1+ years at a researcher at my graduate university

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 1 first-authored published manuscript, 3 co-author published manuscripts, 8+ manuscripts under review

Special Bonus Points: Much better LORs this time around

Applying to Where: Epidemiology PhD programs at UNC, Hopkins, Harvard, Columbia

Would help if you were a bit more specific about stuff but I mean your scores are awesome so I feel like that's a good start!  Did you not get in last time around? Or just not into a good program?

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Hello all-

This will be my first year applying to PH PhD programs. I was wondering if anyone knew pros/cons to applying awhile before or near the application deadlines? I know pre-med applicants apply long before the deadline and the deadline is typically considered "too late". Anyone know if that's the case here? 

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4 minutes ago, west_k said:

Hello all-

This will be my first year applying to PH PhD programs. I was wondering if anyone knew pros/cons to applying awhile before or near the application deadlines? I know pre-med applicants apply long before the deadline and the deadline is typically considered "too late". Anyone know if that's the case here? 

A bunch of the schools I've looked into say they won't even start looking at the applications until after the deadline.  So I think you're fine no matter when you apply!  It takes the stress off doing them early, but I wouldn't freak out too much and rush just to get them in a month early. :) 

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Hi all,

I applied last year and found this forum extremely useful, although I didn’t make many contributions to it. I vowed that if I got admission, I would give back this year. I thought I would share my thoughts and experience with the process in case it helps those of you currently applying or thinking about it.

Last year, I applied to 8 programs (nearly all top ranked public health schools), interviewed with 4 schools, and was admitted by 2. One of my main takeaways from the process is that the most important factor in admission is narrative (although you might also note that I benefited by casting a wide net; you never know who will find your application appealing)! You must identify the common thread in your studies, work, research, and tie it all together into a story that demonstrates a logical transition/progression. If you are hoping to shift from what you did before to what you want to study going forward, the application and interview are not the time to make that known. Although plenty of people change paths during their PhD studies, schools are looking for people with direction, so if you provide evidence that you have too many interests or hope to shift focus, it will put you at a disadvantage (in my opinion). Programs will try to classify you based on topic of past research; embrace your category (for now)! Maybe this is obvious to you, but to me it wasn’t (at first). I wanted to pursue a PhD to develop my own area of expertise and research questions, which were not necessarily perfectly aligned with my work experience. So, I would recommend trying to show general area cohesion across all parts of the admission process: in your statement of purpose, in identifying faculty with whom you would be interested in working, and during your interview.

I only contacted faculty at one school in advance of the application, and in my case, I think it hurt me for admission to that school, but helped me with admission to others. The faculty members who I spoke with gave me direction (including that I needed to show more focus with my interests), which I applied to other schools, but I think it hurt me for that school. Be careful in who you pick to talk with first (unless you feel highly confident that you have it all together)! Although I did not reach out to faculty at most of the programs, I did a significant amount of research to identify faculty at each school with whom I would be interested in working, and I included a paragraph in the statement for each school detailing who those people were and why. I typically identified three faculty members for each school (because I didn’t know who would have time/space for taking on another advisee, if my application/narrative would be appealing to that person, etc). The schools that I didn’t receive interviews from were also those that I did not feel a strong match with faculty or had trouble seamlessly tying them to my narrative, so I probably would have been better off to just recognize that and skip those programs.

Be sure to follow up and follow up again if it is taking longer than anticipated for a decision. I sent thank you emails after each interview and was told I would hear back within X weeks. I only received admission to one program within the time frame they had specified at interview. The other three programs took far longer to release a decision after interview than they had specified. For two of the three, I did nothing and just waited. The third program that was taking longer, I emailed, let them know I was still very interested in their program and was waiting to hear from them before accepting another program. This offer turned into an acceptance. The other two that I did not email turned into rejections. I chose not to email them because after interview, I had already received admission to what I thought was my dream, perfect program. At that point, I wanted these two programs to reject me. I didn’t want to mislead them by inquiring about my status and feigning interest. I also didn’t want to insult the program by withdrawing my application after interview but before receiving their decision (I’m not sure if this would be taken as an insult, but it seemed wrong to me). I might have been rejected by these schools anyway, but to be on the safe side, if a school that you are very interested in is taking a long time to decide, I would recommend reaching out to let them know you remain highly interested. If their program is your top choice, you should let them know that. However, I would be cautious in wording because what you think is your top choice may change (and you also don’t want to seem desperate or pushy)!

Ultimately, I decided to turn down my dream, perfect program in a top ranked public health school to go to a small, relatively new public health program at Washington University in St. Louis. This was the last program to which I applied because I didn’t even know it existed until in my paranoid state of wondering whether I had cast the net wide enough, I read through from A to Z the entire list of accredited public health programs to determine whether I should add more. Previously, I had explored programs based on rankings of schools of public health, and that is how I missed the program at WashU, which provides 100% full funding (tuition and stipend) and is housed in an awesome institution. You wouldn’t come across the program in the rankings because WashU doesn’t currently have a school of public health. Because the program is still growing, lots of resources are being devoted to its growth, making it an ideal time for you as a student to benefit. I completed my MPH at a top ranked public health school, which was awesome, but I also feel ecstatic over the rigor of WashU’s program and quality of research opportunities here. If you haven’t considered it, I highly recommend checking it out.

Some logistics stuff… I didn’t submit my initial SOPHAS application until pretty late… 11/28/2016. So, if you’re rushing to get stuff together, it won’t necessarily hurt you. I was extremely careful in entering my courses, etc, to make sure there wouldn’t be delays with verification. I also filled in all the sections even if they weren’t required. I detailed every relevant experience with an explanation and what I learned from each one.

I hope these notes help! I know the application process is so excruciating, but it will soon pay off! Good luck to you all!

 

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