Writing Your Graduate School Admissions Essay

Essay by mrjatinchopra January 2004

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First Things First

The first thing you should know is that graduate school applications require essays that fall into two major categories:

· the general comprehensive personal statement, which allows maximum latitude when you write.

· the essay, which requires responses to very specific questions.

Getting Started

Your essay will be just one of hundreds read by members of an admissions committee. Admissions committees want essays that stand out and are thought provoking. In order to set yourself apart from others, it's important to base your essay on an in-depth and analytical look at who you are. Start by trying to answer the following questions as clearly as you can:

· What are your career goals?

· Why are you pursuing this specific career?

· What do you hope to gain by fulfilling these goals?

· How will a graduate education facilitate these plans?

· What are your long-term life goals?

· What makes you different and unique?

Taking these factors into consideration, you also want incorporate other important information, such as:

· your academic background

· your non-academic experiences (i.e.,

volunteer work, job experience, world travel, recreational activities, etc.)

· your most significant accomplishment to date, whether it be academic, vocational, athletic.

Also, it is important to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have:

· read the school catalog carefully;

· researched the program; and

· thoughtfully considered your reasons for applying to this particular school.

It may help to think about what attributes you want to demonstrate to the readers (for example, effective communication, self-confidence, flexibility, maturity, etc.). What do you want the admissions committee to remember about you?

Find Your Voice

· Review your personal history: You want to reveal facts that illustrate a unique dimension about yourself, or relate to your professional goals. In defining...