format for graduate school essay
How well you structure and organize your application essay can determine your fate. A well-written essay tells the admissions committee that you have the capacity to write coherently, think logically, and do well in grad school. Format your essay to include an introduction, a body, and a concluding paragraph. Essays are often written in response to prompts posed by the grad school. Regardless, organization is key to your success.
The admissions essay is often the least well-understood part of the graduate school application yet it is critical to your admissions success. The graduate admissions essay or personal statement is your chance to distinguish yourself from other applicants and let the admissions committee know you apart from your GPA and GRE scores. Your admissions essay can be the deciding factor in whether you are accepted or rejected by a graduate school. Therefore, it is necessary that you write an essay that is honest, interesting, and well organized.
Applying to graduate school can be a significant step toward reaching academic and career goals, which can make the admissions process even more intimidating. Along with gathering letters of recommendation, taking exams and submitting transcripts, prospective graduate students typically have to write personal statements to include with their applications. The personal statement is an oft-elusive element of the grad school application, but it fulfills a specific and significant need in the eyes of admissions committees. By learning about the personal statement and its role, getting familiar with this essay’s key elements and soaking in tons of advice from an admissions expert, graduate school applicants can prepare to write outstanding personal essays that can help them land spots in their ideal graduate programs.
Inspiration may strike at any time. Students can make sure they’re prepared to jot down any personal statement ideas, gather inspiration and organize their thoughts with Evernote, a popular note-taking app.
Stay focused on your academic field and use specific, discrete examples. Was there a clear moment when you knew you had found your calling? Did a particular class assignment, volunteer experience, or work project solidify your interest? Why exactly do you need grad school to achieve your goals? You can talk about special skills, like a foreign language, computer programming, and especially research in your essay. And you can talk about your academic achievements, internships, published work, and even study abroad experiences. They all make great graduate personal statement fodder. But relevancy is also key. Before stuffing your application essay with every accomplishment and experience from your time as an undergrad, make sure you’re only highlighting those that pertain to your intended graduate studies and future goals.
The grad school application essay—letter of intent, personal statement, statement of purpose, etc.—is your chance to breathe some life and personality into your application. But unlike your undergraduate essay, where you might’ve offered a quippy story, your grad school application essay should be more focused on your academic and professional goals and why grad school is essential to achieving them. It should also give the admission committee a good sense of who you are and what you value at the same time. (No big deal, right?)
A simple bridge truss was the first structure I ever analyzed. The simple combination of beams that could hold cars, trains, and trucks over long spans of water fascinated me. Having the tools to analyze the loads on the truss further increased my interest in structures. READ MORE>>>
You are a thoughtful, intelligent, and unique individual. You already know that – now you just need to convince top grad school adcoms that you’re a cut above the rest.
- 12 point Times New Roman font
- 1-inch margins on all sides
- 1.5 line spacing
For example, consider this statement from the description of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST) program, “HST students learn to carry their engineering and scientific expertise from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside and to bring clinical insights from the bedside to the bench.” If you were applying to this program, you’d probably want to include some background you have with scientific research or bedside interactions with patients. Your career goal or objective should also clearly show that this is the kind of work you want to do.