Age of Abundance
With the steady rise in MPH and accredited graduate programs in public health across the U.S., prospective students now have an abundance of options, and schools like U-M SPH have big challenges.
How to recruit in an age of plenty? "Be more strategic," says SPH Director of Admissions Adam Ancira-Corrigan, whose office has introduced a number of successful new strategies in the past two years. Here's a look:
Launched in 2014, this program recruits and trains volunteer ambassadors from current first- and second-year SPH students, who meet with prospective students throughout the year at both in-person and virtual recruiting events. Ambassadors also take part in virtual Meet and Greet sessions where admitted students can discuss specific SPH programs. In 2015, every admitted student who logged into a Meet and Greet session later enrolled in SPH.
Health Disparities Showcase
Held in March one day before Admitted Students Day, this evening session for newly admitted students presents three different SPH faculty who give presentations on their work on health disparities in specific communities. Attendance is robust, and survey results show the showcase to be a highly successful complement to Admitted Students Day.
Health Science Panel
In partnership with other U-M schools and colleges, SPH goes to Atlanta each year to showcase Michigan's many health sciences graduate programs to undergraduates from Emory and three historically black colleges and universities: Spelman College, Morehouse College, and Clark Atlanta University. The effort is key to recruiting a new and diverse generation of public health students to address the needs of underserved populations.
Public Health Power House
This open-house "one-stop shop" event takes place annually in both California and Washington, D.C., in collaboration with public health schools and programs at Emory, the University of Minnesota, the University of CaliforniaÐBerkeley, and George Washington University. Prospective students get a chance to hear about each of the schools and about public health itself-with the aim of finding the best academic fit for them. It especially benefits students who can't visit multiple schools. Last year's D.C. event attracted over 80 students from the district and nine other states.
Virtual Information Sessions
A year-long series of online, topical video sessions lets prospective students learn about issues like diversity and health disparities. At each session, a select SPH faculty member gives a snapshot of his or her work within a specific community, and students ask questions. Sessions draw from 50 to 80 prospective students, and Ancira-Corrigan says the series is helping SPH do a better job of recruiting prospective students from diverse populations.
Virtual Alumni Information Sessions
Admitted students connect online with six to eight SPH alumni, who field questions from the students and share their perspectives on public health and SPH. Sessions attract between 75 and 100 admitted students and take place, strategically, in March-well in advance of the April 15 admissions decision deadline.
SPH Admissions Ambassador
Anthony Su, a second-year MPH student in environmental health sciences, signed up to be a U-M SPH Admissions Ambassador last year largely because he wanted to give back to the school. His list of reasons why students should pick U-M SPH is long: great academics; friendly students; a wide variety of classes both within SPH and in other U-M schools and units; more than 100 U-M graduate programs ranked in the nation's top ten; and Michigan's four distinct seasons, each beautiful in its way. A California native, Su even likes snow, which he'd never experienced before. And he's happy to know that this fall, his SPH program, toxicology, will have an even bigger class than last year - possibly as a result of his and others' efforts.