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Keyword: application requirements

Welcome matOur most recent posts were directed toward admitted students beginning their Bloomberg School education in the 2013-2014 Academic Year.  But even as we in Admissions prepare to roll out the red carpet for incoming students, we are also preparing to guide another batch through the 2014-2015 application.

I can’t believe I just typed “2014-2015,” but it is indeed just around the corner. In fact, the application for degree programs beginning summer or fall of 2014 will open September 1, 2013.

That’s just four months away!

What can you do now?

  1. Review “How to Apply,” the application requirements and deadlines and our FAQ.
  2. Subscribe to this blog and stay informed about changes to the application, application process and any upcoming deadlines.
  3. Arrange to take the GRE or other appropriate standardized test.
  4. Begin the credentialing process if you have international academic records.
  5. Schedule an English Language Proficiency Exam if you’re required to take one.
  6. Come visit and take one of our scheduled campus tours.

And as always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

LettersOn our website, we state that degree applications should be accompanied by three official letters of recommendation.

You’ll find details regarding the submission of recommendations within the online application.

I’ll also provide an overview here.

Who should provide letters of recommendation?

Your letters should come from a) supervisors who know your professional work or b) faculty who know your academic abilities. A mix of the two is best.

Avoid letters from friends, family and personal colleagues – we already know they’re your biggest cheerleaders!

How should your providers submit their letters?

We prefer that recommendation providers submit through the online application, but paper letters sent officially are also accepted (including those from your university’s letter service).

If your provider submits on paper, they should place their completed letter in an envelope, seal and sign their name across that seal, and postal mail the document to Admissions Services. Your university letter service should send their packet to the same address.

What information do you need to provide?

Regardless how your providers choose to submit, you’ll need to enter the following into the “Recommendations” section of the online application:

  • provider’s name
  • contact information
  • whether you’ll  waive the right to view the letter
  • whether the provider will submit on or offline.  

As soon as soon as you click save, your online providers will receive an email with instructions for submitting their recommendation.

What does it mean when you waive the right to view your recommendation?

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, students have the right to access to their education records, including letters of recommendation. You may, however, waive your right to see letters of recommendation, allowing your providers to write and submit evaluations confidentially.  Signing this waiver is not required as a condition for admission, financial aid or any other service or benefit from the School of Public Health.

Some final recommendations (pun intended)

Remember, letters of recommendation should be received before the application deadline. Request your letters well in advance of your program’s deadline and follow up with your providers to make sure the letters were submitted.

Best wishes!

Woman with computerYou've had a lot of questions! We spent quite a bit of last week answering email inquiries and I kept a tally of the questions asked.

Below are the top five questions from the first week of the new year.  I’ll answer them briefly now, provide links to additional information, and address each one in detail later this month.

  1. Have you received my transcripts/test scores/letter of recommendations?

We’re happy to check, but if your application is submitted, you can monitor its status by logging into your online application.

Also see “Welcoming the Flood” and “Our Process – Part 2: What Happens When I Click Submit?”

  1. Will you waive my TOEFL/IELTS scores?

Admissions will waive the English language proficiency test score required of international applicants if:

1) you completed a four-year degree from an accredited U.S. institution

2) you’re from a country listed on the quick reference list.

  1. Attached (to my email) are my transcripts/test scores/letter of recommendations.  Please add them to them my application.

Emailed attachments are considered unofficial. Many of our programs will not review an application unless the supporting materials are official.

  1. Can I add a fourth recommendation provider?

Absolutely! Admissions staff can add them on the administrative end.

After entering your first three providers, email admissions your fourth provider’s name, contact information, whether you will be waiving the right to view the letter, and whether the provider will be submitting on or offline.

  1. I attended a school outside the U.S.  Do I really need to submit a credentials evaluation? Can’t you just review my official transcript?

Regardless of your citizenship, language or home country, if you attended a post-secondary institution physically located outside the United States, you must have your academic records evaluated by an NACES-approved credential evaluation agency.

An official transcript from an international institution will not suffice.

I hope this helps!

Student writingThe personal statement is one of the most important components of your application. Many of our departments do not incorporate any type of interview in their decision making process, so your personal statement is your chance to tell YOUR unique story. 

A few dos and don’ts

DO
Explain why you chose the program you’re applying to. The Bloomberg School offers nine degrees from ten academic departments, as well as fellowships, certificates and institute classes. You should explain why you think the specific program you selected is a good fit and how the Bloomberg School will advance and help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

DO
Discuss how your professional background/research/academic training relates to your public health goals. Address the evolution of your interest in public health and your hopes and aspirations within the field.     

DON’T
Simply list your experience. Keep in mind that your application is reviewed holistically, so the committee can see where you went to school and what jobs you’ve held by your transcripts and resume. Tell them how your experience has made you passionate about public health.

Practical matters

Keep your statement to less than three pages and make sure your name is at the top of each page.

Beyond that, we don’t have any formatting requirements. Use your best judgment. Maybe consider using an easy to read font sized between 10 and 12 pts. Also think about double-spacing your statement.

THINK CLEAR AND CONCISE.  Your reviewers will enjoy reading focused and legible statements.

We require all supporting materials (transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, etc.) to be submitted officially.

What on earth does this mean?

It means they must arrive in an envelope sealed and signed (often with a stamp) by the issuing institution.

Personal copies, even if they are your original documentation, are considered unofficial.

Materials sent as email attachments are also considered unofficial and in some cases, are not even opened.

What happens if you submit materials that are unofficial?

Your application will not be sent for review until it’s complete. Several of our departments will not consider your application complete unless all materials are official.

Do we ever accept electronic documents?

Some universities use secure electronic delivery systems to submit transcripts. This is perfectly acceptable. You may provide them with the following email: admiss@jhsph.edu.

We receive most test scores using a similar secure process initiated by the testing agency.

We actually prefer your recommendation providers submit electronically. They do this by following the instructions sent them when you enter their name and email in your online application. If they would rather submit offline, it’s fine. You can indicate that preference in your application and we’ll wait for your paper recommendation. It just has to be official!

In case you’re still not sure about this official thing, below are some examples.

Example of official document

Example of official document

Official Example #3

Official Example #4

[edited September 24, 2013 to update email address]