Tips for a Stronger Application

The Future Public Health Leaders Program is comprised of a team of individuals who are focused on finding ways to maximize student success. In that continued effort, the FPHLP team worked together to make a list of tips that can help applicants submit a stronger application in every component: The essay, letters of recommendation, resume, and transcript.

Don't Write How You Talk
When we talk casually, we interrupt ourselves, we repeat ourselves, and we use words and space fillers that make unclear points.

Conversational tone is the intentional use of personal language that appeals to the casual reader. This tone is great for blogging or journaling, but not for writing an essay for admittance into a competitive program.

Stick to the Question
When tasked to address a specific question or topic, do not refocus the question onto another subject of your choosing. Wandering off topic, no matter how insightful your comments may be take away from the strength of your essay.

Do not leave any part of the question unanswered.

Write to your strengths, not to what you think reviewers want to hear.

Send to Someone to Proofread
It is important to make sure someone else has proofread your essay to check for spelling and grammar errors. Some applicant reviewers will not give a second look to an essay or resume that is full of errors, as it can demonstrate that the applicant may not see the importance of paying attention to detail.

Stick to a Deadline
Create a timeline to finish your first draft that includes time for someone to proofread and to make your revisions. Stick to your timeline.

Beware of Word Count
Remember that reviewers are charged with going through a large number of applications. Sticking to the word count will increase your chances of having a successful application. Answer each and every aspect of the essay question to the best of your ability, AND within the character/word limit provided.

Pick diverse recommenders (i.e. not all faculty) who know you, and can speak to your character and abilities.

Early in the application process, visit your recommender during office hours or schedule an appointment to discuss the FPHLP application and your future goals.

Give recommenders a due date and send reminders and let them know how to upload their information.

Provide your recommenders with a copy of your resume and a short brief personal statement.

Provide Relevant Information
Placing information and experiences on your resume that is relevant to the position/internship program that you are applying for demonstrates to reviewers that you understand what they are looking for and that you have the interests, skills, and experiences they need.

No Longer than a Page and a Half
Keep it concise. It is often said that important first impressions are made in the initial 30 to 60 seconds a reviewer takes to scan a resume. A longer, wordy resume can be off putting to reviewers who have to look over many applications in a short amount of time.

List Accomplishments Not Responsibilities
Instead of listing your job description, list the things you did, how well you did them, and your results. Highlight key achievements within the context of your responsibilities, and qualify your results whenever possible. Including how your achievements benefited the job, program, or experience you had can better help reviewers understand how you can help them if you were admitted.

Size and Font Consistency
Review your resume to ensure that the font and size remains consistent throughout the document.

Please no font sizes smaller than 11.5.

Your transcript does not have to be an official University copy.

As long as your overall GPA is a 2.7, don't be afraid to apply.

Review our Application Guide & Checklist for more details about the application and tips for completing your application.