Writing Your Personal Statement

By: Pauline Harrington – 2nd Year – Epidemiology

Many times Rollins Ambassadors have been asked by prospective students “what should I write about in my personal statement?” Though this is a simple question, the answer is not necessarily straightforward or the same for every applicant. When applying to Rollins, it is important to know that the review of applications is a holistic process that takes into consideration your transcript, GRE scores, letters of recommendations, resume, and personal statement. To learn more about the specific application requirements, please visit: https://www.sph.emory.edu/admissions/master/requirements/index.html.

But your personal statement is where you can tell the admissions team things about yourself that are not necessarily reflected on your transcript or your GRE scores. These are letters and numbers that represent you, but obviously there is much more to you than that! It also is an opportunity to expand on the experiences mentioned on your resume. Usually on your resume you are explaining the impact you had on a specific organization, but your personal statement might be an opportunity to explain the impact that experience had on you and what has led you to apply to public health school.

In addition to this, I am providing some more detailed ideas about what to write about in your personal statement. This is NOT an exhaustive list! It can also depend on what department you are applying to. This is based off of what I wrote about in my personal statement when applying to Rollins:

  • Explain why you are interested in public health specifically
    • Was there a moment when you knew you wanted to apply to public health school? Rollins specifically? Write about it
  • Describe what values you hold that are related to the public health field
  • Define your goals you have during your public health education and after your completion of your MPH
    • What are you hoping to do here at Rollins besides attending classes?
    • Even if you are unsure exactly what you want to do with your public health degree after completion, share some ideas of where you can see yourself taking this degree
  • Describe in detail the related experiences you have to public health and how they led you to apply to Rollins
    • Side note: you can relate many different experiences to public health! Even if you don’t have very much “public health” experience per say, make sure you connect other opportunities you’ve had in the past to the public health realm (this is not as hard as you might think. For example, I connected my AmeriCorps experience where I was teaching 7th grade math to public health in my personal statement)
  • Describe the type of person you are and why you think public health is a good fit for you and why you are a good fit for public health
  • Do your research on Rollins
    • Figure out what kind of research is happening here at Rollins and explain why it interests you
    • Learn more about Atlanta and how you can get involved in the community here
    • Write about what you think is unique about Rollins and why you want to come here, whether it’s because of the certification programs we offer, the Rollins Earn and Learn opportunities, or the Global Field Experience that is available to students