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Admissions Blog

One of the most common questions from prospective students is “What makes a competitive application?” While the standard response is a strong academic history, solid GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a well-written personal statement always remains true, I wanted to provide a bit more insight into how you can be a strong, competitive applicant.

Degree and Program Fit
Before thinking about the components of the application, think about your research interests and the impact you want to make in the field of public health. Then look at the program to which you are thinking of applying to at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Do your interests and the degree program match?  If the answer is yes, then you can start crafting your application to show how your interests align with the program. If the answer is no or not quite, then the best strategy is to take a step back and look at the other departments/programs within the Bloomberg School. Research and interests at the Bloomberg School can be very interdepartmental, so making sure you’re applying to the right program based on your goals and interests is very important to becoming a competitive applicant. Never hesitate to contact Admissions Services or department and program coordinators to help you figure out your degree program fit.

Prerequisite Program Requirements
While many of our degree programs don’t have special requirements prior to applying or starting a program, some do. For example, the MPH, DrPH and most MAS degrees require previous working experience. The MPH, the MAS in Spatial Analysis for Public Health and the MSPH/RD in International Health require certain coursework. Look closely at the program’s website to make sure you meet any prerequisites.

Standardized Test Scores
When reviewing applications, JHSPH completes a holistic review. This means that test scores alone will not prevent an applicant from being admitted. However, as a component of the application, it is important to take time to study for the appropriate test (see the Standardized Test Score Chart to ensure you take the appropriate exam).

Admissions Services does not provide average test scores due to the wide variety of statistics from department, program, degree track and admissions cycle. Be sure to check the program and/or department website for any information on average test scores.

Personal Statement
Most of our application review committees do not interview applicants, especially for masters’ programs. Therefore, it is important to use the personal statement to share with the review committee your interests and goals in public health and why you are interested in the program. Remember, the committee also sees your transcript and CV/resume. You don’t need to repeat that information. Focus on what motivates you to work in the field of public health and the impact you want to make in public health. Doctoral applicants should indicate their interest in a current research project happening in the department or working with a professor. However, this is not required for masters’ applicants so don’t name drop or imply different interests simply to sound better.

A final note on the personal statement. Long is not necessarily better. Some of the best personal statements are concise while providing insight to the applicant as a person. Be sure to follow any specific instructions on length given by a program or department.

If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail us or call at 410-955-3543.

Best wishes on your application!

Will you be in Philadelphia next wee? We’ll be there for the annual American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Meeting and Expo and This is Public Health Graduate School Fair.

This year APHA is considered almost local to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as it’s only an hour away via Amtrak in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The Bloomberg School will be at the expo and available to answer any questions you might have about programs, degrees, the school itself, and how to apply. This year our booth numbers are 138 and 140.

If you aren’t registered for APHA, but are in the Philadelphia area and want to meet us or learn more about public health, APHA is offering two wonderful opportunities. The first is the APHA Student Visit Day. For $40, high school, college, and graduate students can attend the first day of APHA (Sunday, November 3) with a student ID. Students will have access to the expo hall as well as all the sessions. The last day to register is this Saturday, November 2.

The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future will also be attending. If you are interested in environmental health, issues regarding sustainable living and practices, this center is a wonderful opportunity for students. They will be at booth number 535. Also attending the expo will be the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. This program focuses on family engagement tools, public policy, and promoting flourishing and resilience. Learn more during APHA and stop by their booth, which is located at number 427.

Following APHA, the School will be attending the Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health’s This is Public Health Graduate School Fair on Wednesday, November 6 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. This fair is intended for all prospective public health graduate students and is free. Admissions Services recommend registering online prior to arrival.

Whether at the expo or at the This is Public Health Graduate School Fair, we hope to see you all in Philadelphia!

Last week, the American Public Health Association and the Bloomberg American Health Initiative co-hosted a half-day forum on Policies That Work to Reduce Gun Violence.

Gun policy expert Daniel Webster, ScD began the first panel, which focused on policies. Jeffrey Swanson, PhD from Duke University is an expert in firearms as well as mental illness and violence prevention. Policies on licensing and stronger protections for victims of domestic violence were also topic points featuring Cassandra Crifasi, PhD and Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice’s April M. Zeoli, PhD, MPH.

The second panel focused on interventions and was segmented into different populations by speaker. JHSPH Alumna Shani Buggs, PhD, MPH spoke on high-risk individuals with group and cure violence intervention, Northeast Methodist Hospital’s Carnell Cooper, MD informed on emergency department and surgical experiences with hospital based interventions, and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Heath’s Charles C. Branas, PhD shared his research on reducing blight in urban areas. Wrapping up the panel, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health’s Linda C. Degutis, DrPH spoke on gun violence research.

The forum was live-streamed from Washington D.C. and the recording is now posted for viewing. The research and experiences shared by all the speakers highlighted the successes and challenges within gun violence prevention policies. Each also shared a call to action that supported the larger goal of ending gun violence.

Everybody has their own Public Health Story; the story of how we discovered Public Health and had our “That’s what I want really want to do!” epiphany. On an even smaller level, we each have our niche Public Health interest, or our area that we are passionate about. Sometimes that niche is a well-known problem, while others are not as well-known and lack much needed attention.

It is for this reason that Global Health Now, along with NPR’s Goats and Soda blog and the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) sponsor the annual Untold Stories of Global Health Contest. In 2019, two winners were chosen: Improving Autism Diagnosis in Turkey and the Impact of Light on the Quality of Care that Health Workers Deliver.

If you came across a global disease that lacks the attention it needs to serve the affected people in your Public Health Story, whether it’s through your own research or your travels, I encourage you to submit the 150-word nomination. The deadline is September 30, 2019.

Let’s keep improving Global Health by sharing those untold Public Health stories.

Not sure if the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is the right school for you? One way to find out is to visit. Admissions Services is hosting our annual Open House on Monday, October 14 from 1 to 4 p.m.

After a welcome from the Dean, visitors will have the opportunity to speak with representatives from all the academic departments and degree programs. Additionally, representatives from Admissions Services, Career Services & Disability Support, Financial Aid, Housing, Student Assembly, SOURCE (the community engagement and service-learning center) and Student Life will be available to answer questions during a meet and greet. Finally, visitors will have break-out sessions with their program or department of interest.

If October 14 is not a good day to visit, campus tours are available on select Fridays from 3 to 4 p.m.