All You Need To Know For Tackling Your Graduate School Essay

By on November 29, 2012

The Graduate School Essay or personal statement is the most important component of your application to graduate programs. These essays give you, the student, a chance to talk about your personal, professional, and educational goals and achievements. If there is anything that you need to tell the admissions committee, you have to do so here. The admissions committee treats the personal essay very seriously. To write the perfect graduate school essay, you need to know a few important things.

What does the Admissions Committee see?

Your personal essay is a critical component of the application. The admissions committee evaluates your essay and evaluates your candidature based on:

  • The commitment and dedication you have for your field of study
  • Your writing ability and language skills
  • Your professional experience in your chosen field
  • Your academic credentials and potential
  • Your short-term and long-term goals
  • Reasons for you intending to pursue graduate level study in the chosen field
  • Your uniqueness

Things to know about the content and format

The personal essay is a statement about yourself and your goals. There is absolutely no need to include a lot of personal information unless it has been specifically asked for. Typically every graduate school requests for the following information to be included in your essay:

Achievements and Background

    • Make sure to relate your personal skills and abilities with the degree program you wish to pursue
    • Illustrate in detail why your personal characteristics make you the ideal candidate
    • Describe in detail, your relevant work experience and how this can help you in the program

Motivation and Goals

    • Describe to the admissions committee how motivated you are and how the degree program can help you achieve the goals
    • Be sure to mention how your goals logically correlate to your experience and achievements
    • Also, mention why you are choosing a particular school to pursue your course when there may be many other schools offering the same course of study
    • Short-term and long-term goals are very important. So mention them.

Be concise when you write, do not ramble on and on. Keep a check on grammatical and typographical errors. Avoid repetition of thoughts and ideas. Use vocabulary that you are confident about.

Additional Tips for the Essay

  • You may have a lot to essay but remember – less is more. Select a theme around which you frame your response. Do not simply list your achievements.
  • Do not plagiarize ideas from other resources. Try to avoid clichés in your essay. This does not go down too well with an admission committee as they are looking for uniqueness and originality.
  • Provide your reader with good examples that they can relate very well to. Help the reader understand your motives for pursuing graduate education at a specified university.
  • Ensure that your essay is answering the question asked.
  • Always proof-read your essay before submission. Check for spelling mistakes, typos, grammatical errors, etc. Making these mistakes in your essay only shows that you are clearly lacking in professionalism.
  • Use first-person narrative in your essays since the essay is about you.
  • When tracing your background, highlight those areas of your profile, which you think make you an exceptional candidate
  • Never exceed the limit specified for a personal essay and if there is no limit then your essay shouldn’t be more than two pages long
  • If there have been negative experiences in your life then talk about them only if you feel you have learnt something valuable from those experiences. Also, mention how that learning can help you add value to the classroom learning.
  • You writing style should be clear, consistent, and artful.
  • Format the essay well and according to standards unless the university specifies their own formatting requirements

Armed with these tips, you should now be able to write a meaningful and beautiful personal statement.

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