Hello everyone and happy Wednesday!!
It is almost the end of February. This month has been a busy one for me. I have written four quizzes, submitted four short papers, and gave a presentation all in the past five weeks of school. I am currently getting ready to submit a poster for presentation at a conference in Washington, DC early next week. It may be an anxious time for you too as you wait for the admission letter from the schools you applied to last fall or if you are lucky are deciding which school/program to go to (congratulation on your admission!), or you are still waiting. If I remember correctly this time last year I had received about three letters of admissions and I was waiting on others (I applied to 10 schools!)
So how I did I make the decision to attend the University of Minnesota?
The U was actually not my first choice but one of the highest on my list. Johns Hopkins University in Maryland was actually my top choice but its program was also the most expensive and no funding opportunities were available for Master's students. When I heard from the other programs, the story was the same. No funding. The U of M has many funding opportunities for graduate students, in addition to scholarships and fellowships. Most graduate students at the U of M fund their education through research or teaching assistantships.
Soon after I accepted the offer of admission from the University of Minnesota, I started connecting with instructors in my department to find out about available research assistantships. Most instructors were gracious to get back to me with information about their research and were open to tell me if they did not have any openings.
Moreover, you are not limited to your academic department for graduate assistantships. If you have experience or skills in other areas (such as your undergraduate degree or previous work experience) you can apply for assistantships in other schools or research centers at the U. The best way to find out about these is to visit the online graduate assistant employment services, where you can find a list of positions you can apply for. Most of these are tied to tuition reimbursement on top of your pay! This is a very rare funding opportunity not widely available in other universities, in my own experience and opinion.
2. Tuition rates
The U of M has one of the lowest tuition rates in the country when compared with other schools of similar size and prestige. For example, it would have cost me on average $20,000 more if I had selected the other programs I was admitted to (that's a big difference!)
3. Academic rigor and university ranking
The U of M School of Public Health ranks number 10 in the country. That is a very good position given the huge number of competitive programs in the nation!
4.The rest was easy
Make the right choice and select the U of M, you will be proud you did:-)
Until next time, Kwaherini! (goodbye in Kiswahili)