American Humanics? Anyone?
October 2, 2005 7:46 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone had any experience with the student organization American Humanics?

It offers a certification program for college students wanting to enter the non-profit field. I'm just wondering if anyone has gone through it - or if you are familiar with it and were in a position to hire, if it would be something that would appeal to you on a resume. Also wondering if anyone has used it when applying to grad school. I've done my basic research, just wondering if anyone has any personal reccomendations. Thanks!
posted by fillsthepews to Education (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This doesn't answer your question directly, but there are two reasons to get a certification - to learn, and as a credential for hiring. The American Humanics certification is interesting because it is only offered through participating schools (for example, at LSUS, certification requires courses plus 300 hours of internship plus a few other things). That, to my mind, means its more than something that generates money for an organization (as, unfortunately, many certifications are). Or, in other words, if you're interested in working for a non-profit, you might well want to do everything that the certification requires, anyway.

On the other hand, I can't see the certification (per se) having any value when applying to grad school - coursework and internships and other job experience pretty much stand on their own merits. (I'm assuming that "grad school" means some sort of professional masters degree, rather than a PhD program; for a PhD, the certification would almost certainly have no value whatsoever.)
posted by WestCoaster at 8:10 PM on October 2, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the response! I guess I should clarify that I have done a lot of internships and also paying positions in the non profit field. However, I am finishing my degree in English, and want to get my master's degree in something related (undetermined at this point) to non profit management. I'm scared this will be a problem, since the correlation between english and non profits isn't exactly obvious, especially because the bulk of my coursework isn't applicable. Basically, I'm looking for ways to channel all my "real life" knowledge of non profits and charities into something more "academically" tangible. I should also add that the only money it would set me back would be the money to attend the mandatory conference, and I would hope to cover some of that through fundraising. I appreciate all the input I can get from people in this field.
posted by fillsthepews at 9:16 PM on October 2, 2005

English is completely applicable to npo's and they know it. With any luck, you have learned how to write well, speak comfortably and ask for money - all hallmarks of a a good npo administrator.
posted by jmgorman at 6:13 AM on October 3, 2005

You may well be overestimating the competition to get into Masters degree programs (it sounds like you're looking for public policy, public administration, public affairs, or even an MBA), and you want a school that has a non-profit management track within their program. (There also appear to be schools that offer things like a Masters of Education with a focus on administration/management.)

If you contact several schools that you're interested in (always a good idea, and they love to hear from prospective students), I think you'll find that the most important factors in getting admitted are (a) college grades and (b) graduate school test scores. Full-time, relevant job experience (which it sounds like you have) can compensate, to some extent, for poor grades and/or poor scores; any relevant job experience, including internships, is certainly a plus.

In general, because graduates of these programs aren't going into high-paying positions, the competition to get admitted isn't that fierce, except perhaps at the very best (think Harvard School of Government). Having an undergraduate degree in English, quite frankly, is NOT likely to be a problem, given your interests and experience.

If you do have poor grades and/or poor test scores, I'd guess that there are some lesser schools that would still admit you (for example, there are hundreds of schools offering an MBA, including many that offer this in the evenings and/or weekends).

Again, I think the best advice here is for you to (a) identify a few schools that you're interested in, and (b) call them up and talk to an adviser about your chances in getting admitted. (And think about whether a long-distance or part-time degree is preferable to a full-time program.) Don't worry about your degree in English or lack of certification until you've talked to them.

P.S. Also, admission application deadlines are approaching, yes? (Although it is possible to do a late application if you have stellar grades and/or test scores.)
posted by WestCoaster at 1:12 PM on October 3, 2005

Response by poster: Thank you both so much for all your pointers. As I take all this under consideration and look around a bit more, I am starting to feel like my options aren't so limited. That's always a good feeling!
posted by fillsthepews at 6:15 PM on October 3, 2005

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