By Sofia Oviedo, MPH’23 in Epidemiology
When deciding whether or not I should pursue an MPH, I was worried about going into professional school straight out of undergrad and being in the same classes as individuals who had been working full-time for several years and already had careers. I’m here to share with you why I decided to attend Rollins right after my undergraduate studies.
Keeping the Momentum
I was honest with myself and knew that if I didn’t get my master’s right after finishing undergrad, I could possibly not have the energy to do the application process later. Additionally, I wanted to finish my schooling as soon as possible. I was already in the flow of school and decided to keep it going.
I was concerned about competing with students who were several years my senior with more experience for jobs after graduation. After attending several webinars hosted by the Office of Admission, I found out that about half of incoming students are coming straight from undergrad, which is still true. After doing some digging, I found that my department had very high rates of employment post-graduation, with a large majority of graduates finding employment within 12 months post-grad. This is true of Rollins MPH/MSPH graduates across departments. You can find more statistics about job outcomes of graduates here.
The Rollins School of Public Health has an extensive network not only within the school, but within Atlanta, across the country, and globally. My undergraduate school’s faculty and academic advisors that I asked advice for when deciding what school to attend knew of Rollins’s reputation and knew that the network could take me a long way. The school’s proximity to several public health organizations (federal, state, non-profit, private, etc.) is advantageous to Rollins students because employers either went to Rollins or know of the school’s reputation and want to hire Rollins students. Additionally, many alumni have gone across the country and around the world, so the network is extensive.
Cost of Living
I wanted the city experience, and Atlanta is more affordable compared to cities such as Boston, New York City, cities in the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia), Los Angeles, Seattle, and others. You can find more information about cost of attendance and breakdowns for cost of living here.
The curriculum, degree planner, and classes for my department intrigued me greatly. I knew that I wanted to be able to learn programming languages because of the demand for the skill, so those classes stuck out to me immediately. Since starting my MPH at Rollins, I’ve become proficient in SAS, R and SQL with no prior programming experience, so I definitely gained the skills I wanted to gain. Additionally, I had an idea of what my research interests were and many of the classes that were either part of the core curriculum or optional electives would allow me to dive deeper into specific topics and methodology. Go here to look at courses offered in each department as well as all of the RSPH courses in the course catalog.
After coming out of pre-med, I knew I did not want to go back into a competitive environment. I attended several of the webinars that had current student panels offered by the Office of Admissions to get a feel for what the environment at Rollins might be like. There, I found that many students spoke highly of Rollins’s very collaborative environment among not only students, but through faculty and student collaborations as well. Now, as a current student, I can say this is definitely true. It’s come full circle as I am now one of those current students on those panels. Rollins’s collaborative environment is something I make a point of mentioning for every panel I sit on. Visit the Office of Admissions website here to browse upcoming events.