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Chances of Being Admitted in MPH with Low GRE/GPA but Extensive Experience?


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Hi All!

Just wanted to get your two cents on MPH admissions. I'm extremely nervous to apply because I feel as if my numbers are quite weak. I've heard the application process for an MPH is holistic, but I'd like to hear your experiences for those of you have applied. I plan to apply to Environmental Health Sciences programs (specifically IH) and my top choice is UCLA, CUNY, and perhaps U Michigan.

Here are my stats:

Major/minor: Biology/chemistry with a concentration in Ecology and Evolution from an R1 institution; graduated 2014
GPA: a sad, sad, sad 2.989
GRE: I take them next week, but according to my practice scores it's ~45th percentile Quant/~65-68th percentile Verbal
-I have extensive research. I researched 2.5 years during my undergrad in a behavioral ecology lab which resulted in 2 publications and a poster presentation at my university's honors college. During the two different summers in my undergrad, I did research internships in Costa Rica (via Duke University) and at my university's off campus ecology lab. Both of which I received scholarships for. Currently, I work in a pediatric cancer lab and also have extensive experience in handling large research animals (from mice to monkeys).
-I was also a teaching assistant during my undergrad. One semester of ecology and one semester of vertebrae morphology
-Whenever I can, I volunteer at Planned Parenthood and the Women's Center. Additionally, I am a member of my local AIHA chapter, whose president kindly offered to be my mentor.

LORs from: My current PI, my PI from undergrad, my industrial hygiene mentor, and my advisor
Personal statement is in the works! I will be visiting UCLA's campus to speak with professors and financial aid about the program/research. I'm hoping meeting with some faculty might also help me out. Won't be counting on it too much, but you never know! :) Any advice is helpful, thank you!

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Similar boat, GPA is 3.00, GRE was (gonna retake it) around 50% quant, 60% verbal. 3 years research experience, no pubs. But I did present at a few conferences, won 1st at all of them. Great LOR. My situation is, I plan to basically continue the research my same lab did for my undergrad. What I mean by this is, I plan on joining a lab that shares a similar concept and uses the same biophysical methods. I'm hoping that the POI will see that I will already join their program basically running and will need very little training, so that'll convince them to take me on and push my application forward despite my poor academic performance. Secondly, the field I am looking into is relatively small, with my previous PI already personally familiar with most of the people I would be applying to, so i'm hoping she'll be able to personally contact them and help make my application look good. Basically, my hope is, if the POI likes me enough, they will push me into the school.

It's very hard to say though. Each application is different, each committee is different, and luck plays a huge part of this all. I saw someone on here say something along these lines, and I think it sums it up best: "When you look at the average GPA and GRE scores admitted, that means they accepted some below that score, and some above it." So even if your academics/GRE are low, that doesn't mean it's all over. If anything I'd really talk to your advisors and PI, once you have a list of schools narrowed down, show them and see what they think, and see if they think you have a chance. 

Btw, I do plan on applying to Harvard with the stats I have. I don't know if I'll get accepted, but I'm hoping based on the reasoning I stated above, the POI will be able to push me through their system. Good luck. Hope I was able to help!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On ‎9‎/‎1‎/‎2017 at 9:09 PM, yummy_lemons said:

GPA: a sad, sad, sad 2.989

I'm assuming that this GPA represents your overall.  How was your major specific GPA? And did your GPA increase the last two years or remain steady. The biggest problem is that you look like you might struggle with the more rigorous courses. So if you can highlight where you would excel, you're fine - just be smart about which schools you apply to (great fit, etc.). If you cannot prove academic chops, your application may not make it to what I call the "small pile" - the pile that looks at the full application holistically after meeting bare minimums.

Once you reach that small pile, it looks like you're a fantastic applicant... so good luck! 

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