Skip Navigation

Admissions

Admissions Blog

Keyword: personal statement

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.

Questions
If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail us or call at 410-955-3543. Best wishes on your application!

Keep CalmI remember applying to grad school and struggling with the personal statement. With the resume and transcript providing my educational and experiential history, I struggled with how to write about myself without repeating information that was already present in the application. Here are some framing tips that will hopefully help those of you experiencing the same thing.

The field of Public Health is aspirational. It’s not just about helping individuals, it’s about changing society to help millions. The Bloomberg School’s vision of “Protecting Health, Saving Lives—Millions at a Time” is exactly what the field asks of you. With that in mind, try answering these questions:

  • Where do you see yourself falling into that vision?
  • In a single, and very specific statement, can you express why you desire to work in public health?
  • What sparked your interest?
  • What continues to motivate you?
  • What excites you about the field?
  • Why did you chose the specific program you are applying to?
  • What will you do after coming to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health?
  • What will be your contribution to the field of Public Health?

Some other helpful tips:

  • Keep your personal statement 2-3 pages, double spaced (SOPHAS allows 18,000 characters for the Schoolwide MPH Application, however we ask you to be more concise.)
  • We encourage using legible size font such as 11-12pt
  • Most departments don’t conduct interviews, so share with the faculty what you’d want them to know after an interview.
  • Proof read! Proof read! Proof read!

Happy writing, and don’t forget to ask us if you have further questions!

young man writing his personal statementI’ve mentioned before, public health admissions is based on fit. Test scores and grades are important, but so are effective writing skills, research interests, and future goals.

Where can you show off the last three?

Your Personal Statement

All Bloomberg School degree applicants are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application.

Departmental Master’s and Doctoral Applicants
If you’re applying to a departmental master’s or doctoral degree, upload your statement to the Bloomberg Application. The application will accept a number of file formats including .doc, .wpd, .pdf, and .txt.

There are no formal word-count or formatting requirements, but we encourage you to use a legible font (Arial, Helvetica, Times Roman, etc. at 11-12 pts) and double-space. Be concise – two to three pages (no more than three).


If you’re through SOPHAS, compose your statement in a text only processor (e.g. Notepad). When you have a final version, cut and paste your statement to SOPHAS. Additional instructions may be found within the application.

SOPHAS limits statements to 18,000 characters. We ask you to be more concise - two to three pages (no more than three).

What Should You Address?

Most of our departments do not conduct interviews, so your personal statement is your chance to tell your story.

Explain why the program you selected is a good fit and how the Bloomberg School will help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Don’t just list your experience and education – that’s what your resume and transcripts are for - but highlight those experiences (in the classroom and out) that made you passionate about public health.

Maybe most important: share your hopes and aspirations within the field. What are your goals? Where do you see this degree taking you?

Take your time, proof read and provide your reviewers an accurate picture of yourself and how you plan to Protect Health, Save Lives--Millions at a Time.

question markDo you have a question about our application process/requirements/
deadlines/etc?

Do you need an answer now?

Perhaps the following questions and answers using past posts will help.

How do I apply to the Bloomberg School?

Do I really need to submit a standardized test score?

Will you waive your TOEFL requirement for me?

Who should provide my letters of recommendation and how should they do it?

Can you provide any guidance regarding the personal statement?

I previously applied to the Bloomberg School. How do I apply again?

What is the status of my submitted materials?

Is it John or Johns Hopkins?