Category: Admissions (page 1 of 10)

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in the Application Process

Calah McQuarters, MBA'23 headshot

Calah McQuarters, MBA’23

“Impostor syndrome, also known as impostor phenomenon or impostorism, is a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.”

Recently, a prospective student asked how my application process for Heller was. I chuckled to myself and responded, “dramatic”.

I quickly let her know this was not because of anything Heller had done. Every student and admissions director I spoke to during my application process was kind and engaging (shout-out to the admissions office!). But that left the question, why was it so dramatic?

Well, the short answer is: me. However, the longer answer speaks to something I believe we all feel at some point in our lives, especially when trying something new. 

Prior to attending Heller, I worked in my hometown, helping to open a museum about the Historic Greenwood District and 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre (if you haven’t heard of this before, take some time today to learn about it!). Prior to that, I was in school, double majoring in Afro-American Studies and Political Science.

I tell you this to show how far my interests were from anything related to business! But when I decided to pursue an MBA, I did so with the same enthusiasm and vigor I had when pursuing my love of history and politics. Starting September 2021, I signed up for any and all virtual MBA fairs, signed up to take the GMAT, and got to work.

About a month later, all my work had stalled or stopped. I dreaded going to MBA fairs, just to be told I should think about not pursuing an MBA until I knew exactly what I wanted to do post-graduation. I got anxious every time I thought about studying for the GMAT. I felt so unmotivated. And as I reflect on that time now, I can see I was really just afraid. Afraid of not knowing, afraid of failing, and afraid of rejection. 

I don’t know about you, but oftentimes when I am trying something new in life, I tend to come down with a serious case of amnesia. I forget about all the accomplishments, skills, and lessons learned I have acquired over the years. Impostor syndrome starts to creep in, and sometimes it wins. But if I could go back and talk to myself during my one too many crying sessions, I would shake myself and say “REMEMBER!”

And that’s what I say to you now. The process of applying to anything, let alone a master’s program, can be daunting, but remember. Remember that everything on your resume was not an accident or chance (maybe a little grace in my case), but it was your talent meeting your hard work. The words your recommenders have to say about you are not lies, but reflections of the value you’ve brought to each room you’ve entered. And maybe you lack some experience and you just barely scraped together three recommendation letters, that’s okay! Remember your why and start planning for the memories you will create. 

Please don’t let the application process for you be as dramatic as it was for me! Breathe, take your time, and remember. (You should especially remember that the second application deadline for most programs is March 1st for domestic students, and the final application deadline for international students is February 1st :P)

The Waiting Game

With the first round deadline behind us, many applicants may find themselves with a lot more extra time… to worry. What if I don’t get in? How will I manage a move in eight months? How much will it cost?

I won’t lie: anxiety can definitely get the best of me. One sign that something might be wrong is sometimes enough to send me into a spiral, so I get it. It’s tempting to tell myself that the anxiety is somehow productive, that by thinking through every possible worst-case scenario, I’m actually preparing myself for said bad outcome, or that by imagining the worst-case scenario, I’m somehow preventing it. But the truth is, worrying about something completely out of my hands has no impact on the situation, and if I ever actually do get the bad news I was anticipating, I’m still just as upset. All I’ve really done is make the intervening days, or weeks, or months just a little bit worse for myself. Trust me when I say: I’ve been there, and I get it. But I’ve also learned a little bit about how to manage anxious thoughts during stressful situations, so with that in mind, I want to share a few tips to manage your anxiety during this time.

1. Channel your nervous energy. Have you been catching yourself refreshing your email for hours on end? Chewing your nails down to the quick? Tapping your foot so long it wears a hole in your carpet? While some people shut down when they’re anxious, other people find themselves absolutely bursting with energy. Find a way to redirect this energy, like taking a long walk while listening to a podcast or doing a quick work-out in your living room to let off some steam. You can also put that energy to a productive use by writing a thank you email to your recommenders or by engaging in some volunteer work (which will look great on any future graduate school or job applications).

2. Indulge in smart self-care. Self care doesn’t always look like giving yourself permission to eat that entire gallon of ice cream (although sometimes it certainly can!). Take this time to indulge in self-care that actually makes you feel good and energized afterwards, like taking a bath, meditating, calling a loved one, getting coffee or dinner with a close friend, treating yourself to a healthy new recipe (whether you make it yourself or order take-out), or taking yourself out on a movie or museum date.

3. Put things in perspective. Imagine the absolute worst-case scenario: you’re rejected from every single school you’ve applied to. What then? I don’t mean to downplay the feelings of rejection and sadness that receiving a denial can induce, but at the end of the day, it truly isn’t the end of the world, and it doesn’t even mean you won’t ever go to grad school. Sometimes when you think the universe is saying “No”, it’s really only saying “Not yet”. You can spend the next year making sure you’re prepared for the next round of applications, and you’ll have a head-start on everyone applying for the first time.

4. Take break from social media. There’s nothing worse than taking a break from relentlessly refreshing your email only to go onto Instagram and be immediately confronted with someone else’s post about their acceptance. Especially if a lot of people in your immediate circle are going through the same process as you, consider taking a break, or at least setting limitations for yourself when it comes to social media. By the way, this goes double for sites like GradCafe, CollegeConfidential, or Reddit discussion boards. Remember: everyone’s situation is unique, and trying to “hack” the application process by following the tips that worked for a stranger on the internet is unlikely to actually pay off.

5. Put an embargo on app-talk. Everyone has that one great-aunt is probably just dying to tell you about how her friend’s sister’s son-in-law got into every single graduate school with a full ride. Get out ahead of it by giving a quick update, setting a boundary, and moving the conversation along (“There are a couple of schools I’m excited to hear back from, but I don’t want to talk about graduate school when I have all this delicious food in front of me. Aunt Betsy, tell me more about how your vacation was?”). The same tip goes for your friends, even if they’re in the same boat as you. Set aside ten minutes at the top of the gathering to compare notes, and then change the subject.

Happy Holidays from Heller!

Heller’s Office of Admissions wishes you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season! The Office of Admissions will be closed from December 24th through January 3rd and will be taking a little hiatus from the blog during this time, but we’ll be back with fresh content on January 3rd. In the meantime, I’ve compiled a list of five resources that prospective students and applicants may find helpful, as well as three things that I’ll be doing over the break that I would recommend that you do too!

Resources:

  1. How to Apply – find details on how to apply for each of our programs as well as the deadlines to submit your application.
  2. English Proficiency and Application Fee Waivers for International Students – international applicants can check if they will need to submit IELTS, TOEFL, or Duolingo test scores and whether they are eligible to have their application fee waived.
  3. Upcoming Events – coming up in January, we’ll be hosting several virtual sessions, including Is the Social Impact MBA Right for Me?Is the MPP Program Right for Me?, and The Heller Experience: Master’s Programs Current Student Panel.
  4. Financial Aid – Learn about the cost of tuition, our 100% tuition scholarships, and national service scholarships.
  5. Our Commitment to Equity, Inclusion and Diversity – Find information about Heller initiatives to further EID, EID research at Heller, diversity events, and much more.

Take a Break!

  1. Get some fresh air! During winter break, it’s so easy to just curl up and hibernate, but I’m planning to take at least one outdoor walk a day. Make an activity of it by ranking your neighborhood’s holiday decorations, going to a tree or menorah lighting, or window shopping.
  2. Have a spa day. This isn’t just for the ladies– men and non-binary folks, you deserve a little love and self-care too. I’m prescribing everyone reading this one required pampering day where you take a long bath or shower, throw on a face mask (homemade is fine), and relax for once.
  3. Do the thing you never have time for. Read a book, do yoga, go to the gym, whatever it is you normally don’t have time for, make time for it over this break.

I hope all of that helps; and I look forward to welcoming you all back to the blog in January!

3 Reasons Why You Should Schedule an Ambassador Appointment

Ronunique Clark, MPP'23 headshot

Ronunique Clark, MPP’23

As a graduate assistant with the Heller Admissions Office for a 2nd year, I can say that I have enjoyed learning the ins and out of the admissions office. Being able to assist prospective students for programs at Heller and current students enrolled at Heller has allowed me to engage effectively with the process of higher academia. One cool part about my role as a graduate assistant is that I am able to dedicate time to speaking with applicants or potential applicants through what we call Ambassador Appointments. I am here to tell you three reasons why scheduling an Admissions Ambassador Appointment may be helpful!

1.  Connecting with a student who is currently in your program of interest

Currently in our office we have a student connected to the following programs: Public Policy , Social Impact MBA, Global Health Policy and Management, Conflict Resolution and Coexistence , and Sustainable International Development, with two of our graduate ambassadors  in a dual program offered by the school.  Speaking directly to someone who is currently a full time student in your program of interest seems like a cheat code to the game.  My co-workers and I are full time students navigating our respective programs everyday, so we know first hand what our program is about such as concentrations, classes, professors, and general student body life.

2. Get the answer to your questions

We love being able to answer any questions you have regarding the application process such statement of purpose, recommendation letters, or work experience. Or answering your general questions like “Why did you decide to choose Heller?” “What did you do before coming to Heller?” Just as we do when we are responding to your emails or answering your phone calls, we always want to provide you with the most adequate, updated information.  Now remember, we are employed by the Admissions office, which works directly with sensitive information, so most questions may not be answered such as “Could you tell me if I got admitted or not?” or “Has my application been reviewed yet?” To make sure everyone is on a equal playing field, there is certain information that we can not provide.  In addition to this, sometimes sending emails can be hassle waiting on a response, making sure it made it to the correct individual, and just overall technical difficulties.  Meeting with an graduate ambassador, you are able to receive answers to most of your questions whether they are big or small and if we do not know the answer at the moment we will work to find it and follow up with you about it.

3. Booking an appointment is easy because we are flexible!

Making an appointment with a graduate ambassador is super easy and we are more then flexible.  We utilize a Ambassador Portal link that lists all of our ambassadors and our available appointment slots. Don’t see a time that works for you? No worries, we will work with you to find a suitable time. Once you have registered for an Ambassador Appointment you will receive three confirmation emails; first email is confirming that your appointment has been made the second email will be your reminder email which you will receive 24 hours before the appointment, and the final email will be sent 2 hours before your appointment time with a link to connect us via video. Yes, I know, a lot of emails but we don’t want to miss you! Also, if you do not want to utilize our virtual option we will be more then happy to chat with you over the phone.  We understand life can get in a way of a lot and sometimes we do not have control over what can happen in our day. These meetings are not mandatory so you can schedule whenever you need.

What I think is the most fun part for prospective students is getting to know us, as we all come from different backgrounds in our educational and work experience sometimes you may be surprised to hear that you had or have the same career and academic goals or that are educational and work experience focused on a different path but led us here. Conversations with graduate ambassadors are suppose to be relaxed, engaging, and ultimately helpful for you as you are making your decision regarding graduate school. If this has relieved your anxiety of what an Ambassador Appointment entails then sign up for one using this link here. We look forward to connecting with you 🙂

Hello Heller! Shiko Rugene’s Acceptance Story

Headshot of Shiko Rugene, Social Impact MBA'22

Shiko Rugene, Social Impact MBA’22

I received my acceptance letter on July 20th, 2020. As I sit here and try to rack my brain to remember the feelings I had when I received the decision letter, it feels almost impossible. I know I’m speaking to the choir when I say how out of this world 2020 was. In June, we were at the height of the pandemic, still sanitizing our groceries with Clorox wipes and trying to wrap our brains around this new way of life. I was spending all my time in my studio apartment in Berkeley, California, having recently lost my job due to the pandemic like many others. Around that same time, in May, the whole world witnessed such horrific police brutality, leading many of us to the streets in response. With the world on lockdown, everything seemed to be falling apart, but we finally had a moment to reckon with and question many of the injustices around us.

I applied to Heller because I wanted to be part of an institution where social justice was front and center. A place where I could be with peers who were driven and persistent about challenging systems and influencing change. The Social Impact MBA program felt ideal to me for two reasons: 1) I wanted to learn what it would look like to influence business to be more accountable to our society and 2) more practically, I knew I needed the hard skills that would position me to take on the management and leadership positions I sought after.

With Heller operating remotely and so much uncertainty looming, my decision to join felt a lot more challenging than I hoped when I applied. When I thought about graduate school, I imagined being in community with other students, with faculty and professors. I imagined study sessions with classmates, being in a large lecture hall and the buzz of being in a place like Zinner forum where students share ideas and meals together. I knew that I wanted to be at Heller, but I was afraid that learning remotely just wasn’t going to fulfill me. I had to make a decision soon. 

As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I knew that I had a strong network of peers who I could lean on to help me with my decision. Many were completing their degrees remotely at the time and had first hand experience. Though they spoke of the flexibility afforded to them by Heller, they also spoke of the challenges of not being amongst other students and with community. With that in mind, I chose to defer and start my degree in 2021, a decision that I’m so glad I chose.

Letter to My Future Self: Calah McQuarters

Calah McQuarters, MBA'23 headshot

Calah McQuarters, MBA’23

Dear Future Calah,

Stop, breathe in, and take a moment to fully live in this amazing moment. You did it! You endured, persevered, conquered, learned, fell down and got back up. Now you’re at the finish line a little wiser, a lot stronger, and at least half ready for whatever this new season will bring. I am very proud of you. 

You made it graduation, so you passed all your classes (hopefully with all A’s). But hopefully that’s not all you’ve done. I hope you really learned from your classes and professors and maintained the skills you gained along your MBA journey. I hope you developed real relationships with your peers that will last for the long haul. After all, your cohort is truly a group of world changers. I hope you took advantage of every guest speaker, working group meeting, and free food opportunity you had capacity for. And most of all, I hope you took time to leave Heller just a little bit better for the dreamers coming after you. 

Calah McQuarters, M.B.A., we did not see this coming when we were young, dreaming up our life. But that’s what happens when you accept the plan for you that’s so much bigger than just you. However, this degree and title means nothing if you haven’t grown internally as much as you have added to your resume externally. So here are some personal ways I hope you’ve grown. I hope you learned to have patience and grace for yourself and those around you. I hope you let go of the perfectionist inside you and learned to live in the beauty of imperfection that is this world. Knowing us, we’re still working on that one. I hope you have learned to be okay with the unknown and to find excitement in discovering more about you and your unconventional path. 

Now, all this growth and accomplishment hasn’t come without hard work, but I know you have put in the work! You have probably read more pages of material in the past 16 months than you had in the 23 years before starting the program. You have also likely learned the hard way how to manage your time between classes, work, extracurriculars, and moments of self care. Hopefully, you didn’t bite off more than you could chew, but again, knowing us, you probably did, more than once. Lastly, you have no doubt used your voice and your action to be the change you want others to experience as future Heller students. 

So what’s next? Are you staying in the Boston area or going off to start a new adventure elsewhere? Are you starting your career in consulting or going back to nonprofit work? Whatever you do and wherever you go, I hope you hold on to the learner in you. I hope you don’t let the questions and unknowns overwhelm your excitement and curiosity. I hope you take time to celebrate this noteworthy moment in your life and I hope you remember, this is just the beginning! “Don’t be afraid of work that has no end.” That’s your motto, so let’s get to work!

Love.

Current Calah

Hello, Heller! Calah McQuarters’ Acceptance Story

Calah McQuarters, MBA'23 headshot

Calah McQuarters, MBA’23

My sister knew I had been accepted to Heller before I did. It was Friday, April 1st (what a horrible April Fool’s Day joke this could have been), exactly one month after I had pressed submit on my first grad school application (they really meant 4-6 weeks!). After ending a long week at work, I was chatting with my sister about what she wanted to do for the evening when I decided to go through my email and delete the many promotional emails I had received that day (a daily occurrence). In the midst of talking, scrolling, and deleting, I saw an email from “The Heller School”. Now as a prospective student and applicant, I received MANY emails from the Heller School so initially I didn’t think much of it, but after seeing “Application Update” on the subject line, I got quiet and my heart started racing. 

In the months leading up to Friday, April 1st, there were many days filled with questions, uncertainty, a few tears (okay, a lot of tears), and all around dread through the admissions process. As a person that didn’t come from a business background and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, I encountered many moments of imposter syndrome, self doubt, and discouragement from administrators in other MBA programs. However, Heller was the one school that was different. When I expressed my inexperience and slight disdain for traditional business programs, Heller students encouraged me. When I expressed uncertainty due to my age and limited work experience, Heller students reassured me. And when I expressed my desire to find a program that would equip me with the necessary skills to change current systems, not further enable them, professors, administrators, and students all let me know Heller was exactly where I needed to be. 

My sister, noticing my silence and change in facial expression, asked what was wrong. I told her I got an email about my application. I ran down the hall to grab my laptop and after returning, we sat down on the couch together very slowly, both of us freaking out. I said a quick prayer while logging in and paused for just a moment before clicking on my status update. When I did click and the page switched over, my brain stopped working. I was looking at the screen and my eyes were racing around the page, but I could not make out any words. It was like I literally forgot how to read! So how did I know I was accepted? My sister screamed and if I remember correctly, she may have punched me.

After a few minutes, my brain rebooted itself and I was finally able to read for myself that I had been accepted as a Social Impact MBA candidate at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. In addition to excitement and relief, I felt peace. I knew without a doubt that the journey that led me to that moment was worth it all and it was just the beginning. 

Now, it was time to find a place to live in one of the biggest cities in the US, in a crazy market, in a pandemic, but that’s another story 4for another time…!

Hello Heller! Brielle Ruscitti’s Acceptance Story

Brielle Ruscitti, MS GHPM/MA SID'24 Headshot

Brielle Ruscitti, MS GHPM/MA SID’24

Throughout my undergraduate career, I planned to go to medical school. I studied biology, shadowed doctors, participated in research but when it came time to study for the MCAT, I hit a wall. Through my undergrad, I realized that becoming a physician wasn’t the path for me and that my passions lay other places. I had developed a passion for fostering social change, worked with global health non-profits and had completed international development research projects. I had my own version of a quarter life crisis and scrapped my medical school plans.  After some thinking, graduate school was my new plan, and I was specifically looking at social impact MBA programs, which indirectly lead me to Brandeis. I knew I wanted to be on the East Coast and through the classic Google search, I stumbled upon Brandeis, starting reading about Heller and, not too long after, started my application.

At the time, I had recently graduated and was working as a third grade teacher, trying to make plans for the next year. I remember trying to plan ahead when I would make the move to Boston, if I were to be accepted, but was concerned I was planning for something that wasn’t guaranteed. I’m sure you can imagine that I was counting the days to when my admissions letter was going to be released, and I quite literally did: I estimated that it would come on Valentine’s Day, a Monday, and with the two hour time change, my letter should come by three pm… I told myself that was the best case scenario.  Three o’clock passed and I hadn’t received an email. After repeatedly checking my inbox, I headed out to my afternoon duty to help with student pick up and other end of the day activities.  At this point, I assumed that I would hear later and casually checked my email heading back to my classroom. That’s when I saw it: “There has been an update to your portal” and my admissions decision had been released.  Since running isn’t allowed in the hallways, I walked as fast as I could to my computer to check my portal and anxiously checked my letter and read that I had been admitted. I told my co-teacher first, because she was right there.  All I said was “Oh! I got in!” She laughed, shook her head and congratulated me. I laughed and quickly called my partner to share the news and messaged a few other family members.

My immediate feeling after reading my letter was relief. I felt like I knew what I would be doing, where I would be going, and that I could start planning for my future. My partner and I planned to move to the East Coast together and my acceptance cemented our plan – 30 hour road trip, here we come! After I processed what happened, I realized I could start finalizing plans and getting excited. I was excited for my future, the program and my Brandeis experience.

I had applied to other programs in the area, but knew that the Heller school was my top choice. The dual degree program design and field practicum would give me the opportunity study, gain experience, and fine tune my passion and knowledge before starting my career.  We are now about a month into school, and I know I made the right decision. While it is just the start of my time at Heller, I am excited for all that is to come!

What Are the Application Requirements?

Working in admissions, you start to develop answers to common questions. “What’s the cut-off GPA?” “Is my background a good fit for this program?” “Is the GRE required?” But the most common question, the one I get the most, is “What are the application requirements?”

Now, you might be thinking that I’m going to spend this blog post laying out the different programs’ application requirements and what you should be preparing when you’re getting ready to apply. Maybe even some tips and tricks for how to strengthen those application requirements, or how to stay organized when you’re applying. But you’d be wrong! You can always find application requirements on our website, but today, I’m going to flip the script and ask you to think about what your application requirements are.

Huh?

Okay, here’s what I mean. When I was applying to graduate school, I applied to eleven programs (for those of you out there wondering, that’s way too many). Looking back, I’m still not sure why I put myself through that, but I think most of it came down to two things: first, I was terrified that no school would accept me, and I didn’t really have a plan for what I would do if I didn’t go to graduate school at that time, and second, I had no real idea what I was looking for. Yes, I knew I wanted a master’s in English Literature, yes, there were some areas that I was interested in living, but other than that, I really had no clue.

I share all of this as a cautionary tale: don’t be like me! Before you start applying to graduate schools, take a minute to think about what your requirements are. If you’re not sure, here are some things that it might be helpful to consider:

  • Do I have the opportunity to teach or work as a research assistant? If you intend to go into academia or research, this should be a really important question for you. Participating in research and teaching while in graduate school is a great way to start an academic career and build experience. Notice, however, that I also said “opportunity”: at Heller, although many of our students do work as research assistants and teaching assistants, it’s not considered part of your funding and thus, you’re not obligated to do it. If you know you don’t intend to stay in academia or teaching, I would recommend being cautious of schools that do require it: your time might be better spent in an internship or part-time job building skills that translate more directly to your future career.
  • Are there clubs, organizations, or leadership activities that interest and excite me? I won’t lie to you, this is probably a bigger factor in undergraduate programs, but you still shouldn’t discount it when you’re applying to graduate school. Especially if you’ll be coming from out-of-state or don’t have a support group already in the area, joining extracurriculars is a good way to network and make new friends outside of your program. Leadership experience (even if it’s for a club or organization) can also be helpful once you’ve graduated to put on your resume or as an example to draw upon during interviews. Heller and Brandeis clubs and working groups include Black Graduate Student Association, Brandeis Graduate Outdoors Club, Brandeis University Africa Forum, Disability Working Group, Gender Working Group, Graduate Student Association, Heller Myanmar/Burma Advocacy Group, Heller Startup Challenge, Heller Student Association, Impact Investing and ESG Working Group, Net Impact (Heller Chapter), Open Air Journal and the Racial Equity Working Group.
  • What kinds of access will I have to professors and other outside resources? This question is going to be different for every person. Some students do best in close-knit environments where they get a lot of individualized attention, while others are happy to keep their head down and never go to office hours. Personally, I think that Heller’s faculty to student ratio provides for a really close community and there are a lot of benefits to that (the faculty and research staff to student ratio is roughly 1:6!), but some students might be happier in larger programs where the faculty/student ratio is higher.

These may not be important factors for you. You may care more about working with a specific professor, with not having to write a thesis at the end of your program, living in a certain area or in a big city, taking classes online, a great campus gym… the list goes on and on. But whatever your priorities are, make sure that you’re not only focusing on what schools might let you in: think carefully about what you want the next years to look like.

What is the Quantitative and Analytical Statement?

First of all, let me start by saying that if you’re a master’s program applicant reading this post and panicking, thinking, “What the heck is a Quantitative and Analytical Statement?”, worry not. This post is just for the PhD applicants out there.

If you’ve applied to the the PhD program before and are reapplying again this year, you might have noticed that there’s a new portion to our application, the Quantitative and Analytical Statement. Today, I’m going to walk you through why we’ve added this component, what information you should include, and how you can use the statement to your advantage on our application.

Why did we add this component? If you applied for the Fall 2021 or Fall 2022 entry term, it’s likely that you noticed that we’ve made the GRE optional for the last two years due to COVID-19. Students had the choice to submit GRE scores if they had already taken them, but if you weren’t able to sit for the test, you weren’t required to report them. For some students, not being able to take the GRE greatly helped their application, but for others, not taking it had a disadvantage: students who had been out of school for years and not working in an academic or research setting had no way to demonstrate that they had the requisite quantitative skills to make them successful in a research based program. Similarly, faculty members reviewing the application were left in the dark as to some students’ current quantitative ability: for example, would it be better to take an applicant who had great grades in their quantitative classes more than fifteen years ago, or an applicant with average grades three years ago? Who would be better equipped to take our required quantitative courses? And thus… the Quantitative and Analytical Statement was born.

What information should I include? Although many of our students and faculty do perform a great deal of qualitative research, many of our courses teach students the skills to conduct quantitative and mixed methods research. In your first semester, for example, you’ll take Introduction to Stata Programming and Data Management (which covers creating simple datasets and accessing existing ones, modifying and managing data, and performing simple statistical analysis), Research Methods (which is designed to prepare students in the Heller PhD program to be able to understand and interpret empirical research and to design their own studies), and Applied Regression Analysis (which teaches students about assumptions underlying the regression model, how to test for violations, and corrections that can be made when violations are found).  So in your Quantitative and Analytical Statement, you have the chance to demonstrate that you have the background to succeed in those classes. How do you do this? I’d like to think our website lays it out pretty succinctly, so I’ll quote here: “In the Quantitative and Analytical Statement, applicants should detail why they believe they would be successful in a research-based program; i.e., quantitative classes you have taken, research experience you hold, peer-reviewed research papers you have authored or collaborated on, statistical software you are familiar with and the projects you have utilized statistical software for, etc. Experience with qualitative data analysis and software may be noted but should not be the focus of the statement.” In short, in the absence of your GRE scores, your Quantitative and Analytical statement is an opportunity to demonstrate that you have the ability to succeed in our program that might not otherwise be demonstrated or highlighted in your application.

How can I use this to my advantage? Glad you asked. First, it works to your advantage because now you have a choice. If you have the ability to sit for GREs, you can now choose whether you want to submit them after you see your scores. If you have high GRE scores, particularly in the Quantitative section, I would really encourage you to submit your GRE scores. If, however, for whatever reason (you’re not able to take the test, you’re not a good test taker), you don’t get the scores you had hoped for in the Quantitative section, this QAS gives you the opportunity to highlight the parts of your application that would make you a good candidate. We already review your application holistically, but the QAS lets you lay out the case for your success. Let’s talk about an example: if you know that you don’t have strong  GRE scores but still believe that you could succeed in the program, your QAS could talk about the high grades in the quantitative classes like statistics or economics you took in your master’s program. You could talk about your five years of work experience in a research lab, and the research projects using and analyzing national data sets that you’ve worked on while at that position. You could talk about how you used Stata in your previous position, or your experience interning for a politician that required you to summarize the methodology of findings from previous studies and synthesizing and communicating the results of data analysis .  And just like that, your application would demonstrate that you are perfectly capable of succeeding in a quantitative research program.

I hope that helps answer some of your questions about this requirement, and we look forward to reviewing your application.!

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