Students pursuing a graduate degree should begin the process of applying to a well-known, accredited program such as the ones offered by USF Health Online. While the process of meeting the requirements for admission are reasonably simple, there are certain areas of your application checklist you’re going to want to be prepared for.
For those who have not started their application, we offer the following tips to help you navigate the process and ensure you put your best foot forward in your pursuit of a higher education.
Take the GRE if Needed
Like many schools, the University of South Florida does not require applicants to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) standardized test for access to its online health informatics programs. It does, however, require a well-maintained grade point average from your undergraduate studies. Students who were unable to maintain an overall GPA of 3.0, and in particular a 3.0 in the sciences, may be denied on the basis of GPA.
With that said, students looking to show their readiness for graduate level coursework who have a GPA below the minimum benchmark may want to consider taking the GRE. The combination of a good score and a statement of purpose that reflects your personal and professional growth may be just what you need to overcome that lower GPA or lack of experience.
Practice Telling Your Story
Universities want to know who you are and what you’ve been up to since you completed your undergraduate degree. They also want to know that you can express yourself in a compelling and intelligent manner, which is why you’re asked to submit a Statement of Purpose, outlining why you are interested in the program and why you feel it will benefit you professionally.
This statement is also your opportunity to speak to any potential weaknesses in your application, be it your work experience or undergraduate GPA. Your ability to tell your story an efficient and interesting way will prove helpful in making an impression on the admission committee.
Collect Feedback for Your Statement of Purpose
Every writer needs an editor. Grammar, style, the actual content of your story and message. There’s a lot to consider when crafting just about any piece of written communication, but in particular, anything more than a paragraph in length. Gathering the outside perspective of colleagues, friends and family that you trust to provide honest feedback will help you polish your language, check for typos and create a document you can feel confident will help you stand out.
Polish Your Resume
You will have to submit a resume to be considered for the online health informatics program through USF Health. This document shows you have the professional experience and body of knowledge necessary to not only complete the coursework, but apply the lessons you learn while enrolled to your everyday work. For help with your resume, check out the following stories from USF Health Online’s interview with independent career consultant Bonnie Siegel.
Use Your Network to Your Advantage
Your professional work experience is obviously a vital component to acceptance, but you can also use your relationships with colleagues to your advantage. Applicants are asked to provide two letters of recommendation, either academic or professional.
It is times like these that your networking skills prove to be highly valuable. Letters from family and friends are not accepted, so you’ll want to make sure you have a few well-maintained relationships with management and co-workers that you can tap into. The higher up they are in your organizational ladder, the more credibility these sources have. So, remember, always be networking.
Get Ahead of Potential Issues
The last item on your application checklist comes in the form of transcripts from your previous educational institution. While USF Health Online can acquire transcripts for you, the following issues may interfere with or delay our ability to acquire that documentation on your behalf and require you to step in and retrieve the information yourself.
- Back Balance
Unpaid debt from a previous educational institution can not only pose a problem when it comes to attaining your transcript, it may also impact your ability to enroll at another institution altogether.
- Foreign Transcripts
In the case of international students, you must have transcripts from foreign universities reviewed by a National Association of Credential Evaluators (NACES) or Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE) approved agency to certify equivalency to a U.S. undergrad degree.