Writing graduate school application essay | Tips, samples, resources
Even seemingly boring topics can be made into exceptional admissions essays with an innovative approach. In writing graduate school application essay you must bear in mind your two goals: to persuade the admissions officer that you are extremely worthy of admission and to make the admissions officer aware that you are more than your marks and a standardized score, that you are a real-life, intriguing personality. Unfortunately, there is no surefire step-by-step method to writing a good essay.
1. Answer the essay question
You would be surprised how often this basic principle is overlooked. Most essay questions are looking for specific information and thus help you segment your answer. The most common categories are : Where you’ve been, what you will do, where you will go after, and why do you want to be part of our program. Be sensitive to the question being asked, and try to answer it in summary form early in the essay. Don’t drift off setting the stage for the big answer in the third paragraph. By then, you’ve lost the reader.
2. Be Yourself
Fact is, you share 99.9999% of your genetic material with everyone else on this planet. You are born, you live and you die. In spite of that, your own life is the most unique thing about you, that separates you from every human that has ever lived or will ever live.
Use it to your advantage. Stop wasting time looking for the perfect essay that “worked for X” or the perfect book. Write your story. That’s what makes you interesting and makes the admissions officer get to know you. Express your passions, beliefs, and struggles honestly. You may think your life has been pretty average and uninteresting and not ‘admission essay material’. Don’t bet on it. It is your conviction or passion about what you genuinely enjoy that shows up in your writing and makes your essay ‘admission material’.
3. Use specific examples
To highlight aspects of yourself. If you say, “I am well versed in computers”. Follow it up with ” My shareware program was downloaded 159 times by non-family members in 1999 from Cnet.”. Specially, do not make open-ended comments like – ” I was fascinated by management” – Well ! What aspects fascinated you? Why?
4. Write. Sleep.Read.Repeat.
Like certain other phenomena, essays look different next morning and allow you to be more objective. Always reread your draft with a fresh mind each morning. This will help you catch errors and improve flow. Do this at least thrice. Have a friend check your essay for errors. Writing graduate school application essay
In our experience, it takes a good 4 weeks to polish a 2 page essay into its most potent form – no wasted words, ideas well defined and illustrated, establishes communication with the reader and lets him/her know you a little better at the end.
The essay is meant to convey messages, ideas, desires and emotions. The language is the vehicle. Don’t get lost in the beauty of word formations at the expense of losing communication. Use big words carefully. A baby does an excellent job of communicating without using a lot of perfect, grammatical language. Keep your eye on the message. The language should support that, not inhibit it.
Keep field specific tech terms to a minimum. ” I optimized the cutting angle of the tool to reduce flank wear while minimizing burrs”. Fascinating to you and your adviser and most probably no one else unless you are applying to an advanced technical program in the same field.
6. Avoid History Lessons
In most situations, reformatting your resume is not the answer. Your essay should not be a chronological narration of your life’s events. Pick a few aspects about yourself that you want to highlight and then use your life’s events to explain how they support what you say you are. It is okay to be selective in what experiences you highlight in your essay – being exhaustive is best left to your resume.