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My path to a college education has been filled with bumps, detours and roadblocs - MPA Application

Judieannah 1 / 6 1  
Apr 14, 2015   #1
An essay of 500-1000 words that describes a challenge facing your organization, field of interest, or a public policy issue. Discuss how your experience and proposed degree choice will help you address the challenge. Be sure to include why you want to pursue graduate studies at Baruch, and your career goals.

My path to a college education has been filled with bumps, detours and roadblocks. The path has not always been clear, but I've kept my eyes opened, focused on the road ahead, and the experience has made all the difference. It took me a bit longer to complete my undergraduate education, but I consider it to be my greatest achievement. I paid for it through struggles and sacrifice throughout a great deal of my life. Against all odds, and my tenaciousness, I am applying to the Executive MPA program at the School of Public Affairs at the tender age of 50 plus. I am honest enough to admit that my undergraduate academic history is not stellar, but it was my tenacity that got me through and I am counting on that same tenaciousness, natural curiosity, and the will to serve to carry me through. Shirley Chisholm once said, "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on this earth."

Compared to other industrialized countries, the United States lags behind in programs that are directly geared to the nation's healthcare system and preventative care. Children and the elderly are the most impacted segment of our society. The current economic struggles are exacerbating this situation as state and local governments seek to slash funding for public healthcare programs. This problem resonates deeply with me, and I hope to someday work on finding a solution. It is for this reason that I am applying to the graduate program in public administrations at the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College: I seek the skills and knowledge needed to become part of the solution of this ongoing problem.

My interest in healthcare evolved in 2006, when my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. This condition, coupled with her other existing age related diseases temporarily derailed my journey to acquiring a college degree. I was enrolled in a full course load but I dropped a few classes so that I could spend more time with my mother and became her primary care giver. I felt so helpless because I did not know how to help her. My entire working experience was primarily in the private financial sector. I was ill equipped to deal with my new responsibilities.

There are no social programs readily available to bridge the gap between healthcare accessibility and affordability for the most vulnerable of our society; women, children and the elderly. I was directly confronted with this issue. My first introduction to public healthcare came when I became the healthcare proxy and provider for my mother. I still remember the hurdles that I had to overcome in order to secure proper healthcare for her. One of my more notable experiences was accessing the medication that she needed for her cancer treatment. Although she had medical insurance through Medicaid/Medicare, she was not qualified for Medicaid prescription assistance because she exceeded the income limitations by $20.00. As a result, she was not eligible for prescription assistance and was forced to seek assistance elsewhere to cover the cost of her chemotherapy medication. I was able to access a charitable foundation through my employer which financed the monthly treatment. Without the CFAC coalition's financial assistance, paying for treatment would have been difficult and she would not have had any other recourse. This is one of many experiences that exemplify the obvious problems that plague our healthcare system.

I find my interest now lies in the public sector, primarily in public healthcare management. Medicaid/Medicare and healthcare rationing presents a range of problems to healthcare professionals who are desperately trying to navigate the minefield of bureaucratic red tape. With the introduction of the Affordable Healthcare Act, it is an infusion of optimism and hope in the arm of the nation's healthcare system. Everyone will be able to have affordable and quality healthcare through mandatory insurance coverage. This overwhelming endeavor will take several years before it is fully implemented and its effectiveness is at its fullest capacity.

I believe I am well prepared for graduate work. I have acquired the necessary background knowledge by taking courses in the areas of psychology and sociology, including research methods, statistics, psychological research and psychotherapy. I have assisted in organizing public health fair events sponsored by community block associations in conjunction with community districts; interacted with social workers and leaders and discuss areas in need of effective and quality care in low income communities. I've also helped in organizing workshops geared towards well care / health fairs including, but not limited to Blood Pressure and Diabetes screening; Obesity and eating disorders group support; distribute information on heart disease and breast cancer awareness and mental health. These activities only confirm my growing interest in public healthcare and managed care.

My interest in public healthcare management is to find ways to develop and improve the types of services available to the elderly, women and children on a systemic level. I want a chance to be involved in organizing, managing, developing, and shaping urban social policies related to healthcare management and preventative care. I believe the executive MPA program will prepare me to do just that. By studying in the program I will learn about established social systems, assessment and intervention strategies. Moreover, Baruch Collage's emphasis on urban issues appeals to me enormously. Baruch's MPA program will prepare me with the knowledge and training necessary to make a positive and progressive contribution to the ever-evolving landscape of civic service and public policy. I believe that I can be a contributing force in implementing the Affordable Healthcare Act to its full capacity. We must be able to achieve efficiency without sacrificing quality.

I am very aware of the superb reputation of the School of Public Affairs. Its competitive internship programs and scholarship programs my interaction and networking with alumni have served to cement my interest in attending. Being alumni is an added advantage in my decision to pursue a graduate degree at your fine institution. I know that in addition to the excellent faculty, the computer facilities are among the best in the city. I believe that my struggles, perseverance and triumph throughout my undergraduate studies qualify me as a unique and ideal candidate for the School of Public Affairs Executive Program.

I am optimistic and look forward to the challenge of serving communities and participating in such a dynamic and challenging field.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 14, 2015   #2
Great first sentence!
This, coupled with her other ... it's good to put a noun right after the word 'this;... like: This condition, coupled with...

Always trim away the excess:
Although I have After several years as part of the corporate business sector, I find ...

It's important to change the beginning of this so that the reader is told exactly which of the three options you choose and what you are writing about:

"challenge facing your organization, field of interest, or a public policy issue."
It's not good that it goes right into talking about your mother's diagnosis... it seems like a reused essay that does not directly address he prompt.

Let's be subtler about this:
I am honest enough to admit that my undergraduate academic history is not stellar, but it was my t Tenacity got me through my undergraduate years despite untimely personal challenges, and I am counting on ...

Congratulations on the excellent direction you're going by entering this program!! : )
OP Judieannah 1 / 6 1  
Apr 14, 2015   #3
Thanks for your insight. Tell me; is the piece cohesive and concise? Did it address the essay questions as required? Thanks again for your input. Great help!!!
OP Judieannah 1 / 6 1  
Apr 14, 2015   #4
Regarding the Title:
Field of Interest: Public Healthcare Management

What are your thoughts? Does that title accurately fit the piece?

Thanks again for your insight!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 14, 2015   #5
I think that title is boring! : ) So.. maybe dwell on it awhile today, and see if you think of something that strikes intrigue into the heart of the reader. : )

And no, I think you could do a better job of responding to the questions in the prompt. That's what I meant about revising it so that it directly addresses them. You can start paragraph 2 with a sentence that specifically states what the issue is and which of the three options you chose. Show the reader clearly that you are responding to the question.

And you can start paragraph 3 with a sentence about how this program will help you meet the challenge. Be very specific!

And let's cut the stuff that is not helpful for pounding your main idea into the reader's mind (popularly known as "Obamacare") Cut it right out, it has no place in this paper. That's like Mr. Miagi trimming the Bonsai. Cut out all the excess and hit the reader hard with your main idea, your interesting concept.
OP Judieannah 1 / 6 1  
Apr 14, 2015   #6
Can you help me with some examples; i.e working title; attention grabbing sentences, etc. I'm completely fired here! I'm up against the clock!

Thanks again for your insight.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 14, 2015   #7
Shirley Chisholm once said, "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on this earth." -- I wanted to mention that I really like this quote.

You should use the word tenacity twice. Don't say tenaciousness, it's better to be consistent or it will seem incorrect or arbitrary or something.

Children and the elderly is are the most impacted segment of our society.

Okay, I see now that you are focusing on a specific issue and letting the reader see what it is. But now the paragraph is awkward because the first sentence has nothing to do with that point about children and the elderly. So I think all this content should be moved down lower in the essay:

It's already great, and I just want to offer these ideas in case they help you dig a little deeper and share more of your plan with the reader.
lcturn87 - / 435 236  
Apr 14, 2015   #8
I don't think you should say you were confronted with something full force. You can be directly confronted with an issue. I would change the sentence that describes the CFAC. My suggestion is to describe the charitable foundation exactly as stated. Then at the end of the sentence called the "CFAC. The next sentence I would discuss that without the coalition's financial assistance, paying for treatment would have been arduous or difficult. You discuss public health management in the 5th paragraph, but you say public administration, healthcare management in the 4th paragraph. Would it be easier to use public health management? Change the beginning of the 4th paragraph by changing it to, "I am interested". Then decide if you want to use public health management as previously stated. Then state, "because I want to find ways to develop". I don't know if you want to keep the last sentence but I suggest you changed armed with knowledge to equipped with knowledge.

In the next paragraph, it seems like you are undecided or continually stating what you would like to do. You have enough descriptions so you won't have to restate what you are interested in. Use another word rather than armed in this paragraph. You can delete it with describing the healthcare system and just describe it as hope in the nation's healthcare system. Delete the semicolon and start a new sentence with the word "Everyone". The last two sentences seem to veer off from discussing Baruch and back to your position. Read the paragraph without these sentences to see if you feel the same. Also, when you discuss Baruch in this paragraph, it should probably be discussed at the end of your paper. I suggest that when you discuss Baruch really devote a paragraph to how the program in this school will assist you with your goals. You seem as if you are doing this in the last paragraph.

*You made many changes and I think your essay was easy to understand. I want you to think about my suggestions that can help you improve your paper.
OP Judieannah 1 / 6 1  
Apr 15, 2015   #9
Hello Kevin,
Thanks for the critique. It was well received. I've revised the entire essay once again and would like you to take one last look at it as it is due on 4/15/2015. Please give me as much feedback as possible. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 15, 2015   #10
I see that you got very specific at the end, there, talking about things that make you want to choose this program over others.

I like the way you write! It's going to impress the reader, and just as an exercise and because you asked, I'll give you a lot of criticism/challenges below:

I think it's a little bit cliche to start an essay with a quote. But it is REALLY cool if you put the quote in the middle of a paragraph, right after a sentence that is somehow related to the quote. Consider maybe putting that quote inside a paragraph, and I think it will be a lot more effective.

Now let's get even clearer with the introduction. It's vague right now.

You said, "programs that are directly geared to the nation's healthcare system..." but what programs are you talking about?
You said, "Children and the elderly are the most impacted segment of our society." The reader is thinking, "impacted by what?" So let's indicate

And then you mention that a difficult economy adds to the problem, and that makes it even more vague.
So I like some of the other paragraphs a little more for use at the start of the essay. What if we moved some paragraphs around to improve the reader's experience? For example, I really like this paragraph and wish it was closer to the top, to impress the reader right away:

I find my interest now lies in the public sector, primarily in public healthcare management. Medicaid/Medicare and healthcare rationing ...
That paragraph really is specific enough to keep the reader's interest.

There are no social programs readily available to bridge the gap between healthcare accessibility and affordability ... I thought affordability was part of accessibility. As the reader, I'm trying to nail down (in my mind) what is the most important, specific issue you are trying to tackle in this essay. "Bridging the gap" is metaphorical, and I don't understand about bridging a gap between accessibility and affordability. A great thing to do is make sure the reader knows precisely what you are suggesting, right away near the top of the essay. What are you specifically suggesting -- more funding from a particular source, or some kind of innovation, etc.?

...for the most vulnerable of our society: women, children and the elderly. -- I changed it to a colon instead of a semi-colon.

The reader is going to favor you, so don't worry!!!! : )
OP Judieannah 1 / 6 1  
Apr 15, 2015   #11
Thanks for the critique! I did move around a few paragraphs and yes, the piece made much more sense and it flowed much better.

Just want to say thank you to all the contributors who helped me in the past 24 hours, but especially to you! You've encouraged me to see the piece from the reader's perspective and for that I am grateful.

Now all that's left for me to do is dot my "i"s and cross my "t's and then here goes nothing!...
lcturn87 - / 435 236  
Apr 15, 2015   #12
1st paragraph: Is it a public administrations program or public administration program? Take the -s off if this applies. Also, I don't think you need a colon after Baruch College. Therefore, delete the colon and put a period in its place.

2nd paragraph: Change from became her caregiver to become her caregiver. I'm asking you to make this correction because you made care giver two words. I also think it would be best to change working experience to work experience.

3rd paragraph: The first two sentences don't seem to fit anymore in your essay. If you look at the first sentence in the 6th paragraph, it seems like you are addressing this issue. In this paragraph it is a continuation of you being a caregiver and helping to assist your mom.

5th paragraph: Changed the word discuss to "discussed" in the third sentence.
I was having difficulty following what you were involved with in this paragraph. Here is my understanding:
1) You help organized wellness workshops
2) You participated in health care fairs and you took participants blood pressure and screened them for diabetes.
3) During these health fairs, did you offer participants information for group support sessions with topics such as diabetes and eating orders? Did you also distribute information on heart disease, breast cancer, and mental health issues?

When I read this, I became really confused. You have to separate the wellness workshops from the health care fair description to make it easier to understand for the reader. If you read my questions you can have an idea of how to express this information in a sentence. If this is not what you did, then please explain.

6th paragraph: I had to read the first sentence more than once. I am going to ask you to say, "I am interested in public healthcare management because I want to...."The rest of this sentence is fine. You just need to change part of the sentence so you can grab the reader's attention. Change this sentence by adding a comma after program: By studying in the program,

7th paragraph: There needs to be a link between the programs and interactions you have had. If there is not, the reader may be left to wonder why you are making this statement. You can add "in conjunction with" after scholarship programs. You are trying to tie the two ideas together. You could also say along with. Place an before "alumni" in the third sentence.The last sentence should not be separated from the rest of the paragraph. You can include it as the last sentence in the last paragraph.

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