Student Perspectives: The Application Process Continues

The post below is a new series we are introducing to our website.  A current student has been gracious enough to blog about her experience embarking on a career in health administration.  We will be titling these posts “Student Perspective.”  Should you be interested in blogging about your own experiences, please feel free to contact us.  We hope you enjoy the journey this student takes us on during her senior year in college and beyond!

I have now submitted 6 out of 9 applications for MHA programs, and I have found that the essay components for each of them are actually quite varied.  Generally, most programs require a statement of purpose, but the word count could be as high as 1500 words or as low as 500 words.  That is a world of difference, so it is especially important to keep this in mind as you go to write your statements.  How can you say what you want to say about yourself and your future ambitions in 500 words versus 1500 words?  Make sure you allow yourself enough time to ensure you get the same message across in a longer version versus

Another aspect to consider regarding supplemental essays is that some schools want you to be VERY specific to them and their individual MHA programs.  You need to distinguish not only, “Why healthcare administration, and why now?” but also, “Why will X school help you do achieve your specific goals?”  This is actually a very smart move on the part of the admissions offices at these different universities, as they want to assure that you have considered all facets of their programs: curricula, location, internships, research opportunities, etc.  Of course, this is also a huge challenge, as it is especially difficult to know the depth of what a particular program offers if you aren’t able to visit them in person and hear their program descriptions, get a feel for the location, and talk to current students in person.   It is for this reason that several MHA programs are starting to offer online webinars.

I have now participated in two online webinars for two different MHA programs, and I have been extremely impressed by the admissions offices of both of them.  First, the webinars are scheduled at a time that is convenient for most undergraduate students and people who are working (lunch time or very late evening).  Second, they are very efficient, usually running about 45 minutes and covering a depth of information about the school’s personality.  For instance, one of the programs went through a structured Power Point presentation about admissions requirements, the MHA curriculum, and distinct features of the program.  This presentation featured faculty and current students in addition to the admissions counselor, which was a great way to answer a variety of questions that we were allowed to pose at the end of the session.  Additionally, I learned from the webinar that this program is very catered toward students coming straight out of their undergraduate education.

This was very reassuring to me, as I am feeling a bit insecure about lacking full-time work experience in my pursuit of an MHA.   From the other webinar was a completely different presentation structure.  The only person to present was an admissions counselor, and the presentation looked particularly at the careers section of the school’s website.  It was very focused on understanding what graduates of the school are pursuing and doing now and whether any of those careers fell in line with our interests as potential students.  It seemed as though the admissions office really wanted us to consider whether now was the appropriate time to pursue a master’s degree or whether we need to take the time to get more background experience.   I got the feeling that this school truly wants what’s best for students rather than increasing its applicant pool to encourage more competition for enrollment.

My major takeaway from the webinars I participated in was encouragement and hope about my future career decision.  At both presentations, I felt as though I was getting reassurance that I am applying to programs that truly meet my interests and preferences for MHA programs.  Furthermore, I was very pleased with how willing the different admissions offices were to answer questions, following up to clarify questions they could not answer right off the bat, and how genuinely concerned they were with ensuring that each of us had deeply reflected on why exactly we want to enter MHA programs at this time in our life.

They both emphasized the importance of self-reflection in considering our future careers, and they did not want to force anyone to apply just for the sake of applying.  Coming from a background dealing with medical school and law school admissions offices before now, I find this to be very relieving.  Unfortunately, what I have experienced with medical and law school sis much more competition and a sense of anxiety in approaching the application process.  As I have been filling out my applications and writing my essays for these MHA programs of interest, I have felt nothing but excitement and anticipation about the future.

Clearly, admissions programs are becoming more technologically savvy in their recruitment sessions, and that is to the benefit of us all.  If you come across a program that offers a webinar, please try your best to make it, and be sure to research the different programs ahead of time just so you are stimulated to ask some questions once you are given that opportunity at the end of the webinar.  I guarantee that these webinars will not be a waste of time and will give you all of the information you need to write those more specific, supplemental essays.  Plus, they may even reignite your desire to pursue an MHA!

Best of luck to all of you who are writing your essays and hitting those priority deadlines.  We are all in this together!

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