A graduate essay is a term that can puzzle, but it is not so sophisticated. In our case, it means a specific piece that a student composes for the grad school admission board. The official name of the document is a “personal statement.”
This paper is a close relative of an admission essay that you compose when you apply for a college. Similar to the college application, you have to be present yourself as a perfect candidate. You try to overplay your possible competitors, as there are fewer spots than applicants, especially in famous universities.
The personal essays for graduate school are the most potent aces that students can play at this stage. When admission boards know nothing about you as a person, it is your chance to get acquainted. A short piece of writing must convince the board that they should accept your application and invite you. To ensure that, it is not enough to present the list of your achievements – if you aren’t an established researcher already, many students have similar pros.
Making a good personal statement is not some “mission impossible.” The key is understanding of what the schools really seek in those documents. Their needs are practical: your qualification and experience must meet the grad school’s criteria and match their primary goal – improving the university brand.
It can be a catch. Some students try copying successful examples of such applications without in-depth understanding of their pluses. It is not a working approach. Instead, you need to master the format of the personal statement. Then, apply its requirements to yourself and compose a bright, original document that does you justice.
What is a personal statement for graduate school? In this article, we’ll share the writing guideline. It served excellently to many candidates who were accepted in grad schools.
Approaches to Writing a Personal Statement for Graduate School
The essence of this document is proof. You compose it with several specific purposes:
- Proof of having the necessary qualification;
- Proof of having the motivation to work hard;
- Proof of your capabilities to bring benefits to grad school.
There is one more point that the committee considers while reviewing your application. It is the writing style. The thing is, you need to demonstrate impressive skills in academic writing.
First, it shows that you are familiar with the academic rules and specific writing features. Second, you should prove that you can expose your idea clearly. Finally, university studies always involve loads of writing tasks, and your essay demonstrates your abilities to cope with them.
Admission boards want and need to make sure that you can achieve success. The key point is to add fame to the school. Your contribution must be significant and valuable. In other words, they need to ensure that you can conduct your research, complete is successfully, and earn the degree.
The Personal Statement Correct Structure
Writing this document is often complicated because the student needs to talk about many things, but the essay is short. There is a question: “how long should a graduate school personal statement be?” It occurs every time as students start to work on this job. The optimal length is about 500-600 words, the same as for the college application essay. It can be longer, especially for some famous schools. Check this aspect related to the grad school of your choice.
The reason for such a limitation is simple. There are tons of applications, and the officers can’t afford to spend much time reading and evaluate each personal statement. Being concise is a mandatory requirement. The size restriction impacts the structure and the contents of the document as well. A student has to provide specific information in a definite order.
The graduate school personal statement outline matches the standard essay structure with the Introduction, the Body, and the Conclusion parts.
Like in other essays, you have to grasp the audience at once. The issue of how to start a personal statement for grad school is always burning. Hence, in the introductory part, you provide basic information about yourself and your reasons to apply. The information you provide should be the following:
- An introductory section about yourself. Mention your name, the current placement, and a couple of the most critical academic achievements. Then, state the purpose of writing this document – that you apply for grad school;
- Describe your academic goals. This information should present your motivation to excel in the chosen field for the admission officers. Don’t go into detail here – leave it for the Body sections;
- Explain your choice of this university. The goal is to prove that you know precisely what you will face and readily make the most of your chance. Be very specific about the courses you plan to take, scientists you want to learn from, and other details.
The main section of the personal statement usually consists of three paragraphs. You have to explore the opening section and present more in-depth information on the following matters:
- Goals in the academic field;
- Previous professional achievements;
- Evidence that you suit this particular school.
As for the contents of the Main Body particular sections, focus on the following:
- Explain why you choose this school in more detail. One essential tip is to mention only a couple of reasons – it shows your focus. The admission committee wants specific and reliable information about your future plans. Note also that your reasons to apply should match your general academic goals;
- Describe your strong sides. The goal is to demonstrate that you already match the criteria of this university. Thus, your qualification allows you to bring more success to this school. Mention your publications, successful projects you took part in, and other concrete achievements. It is excellent to present yourself as an established researcher who can cope with any professional task brilliantly. Make sure to adjust your advantages to the school’s requirements and policies;
- Appeal to future goals. This piece should relate to long-term academic plans. The goal is to explain how you will use the knowledge and degree obtained in this university in your career. It is proof that you will make a weighty contribution to their university brand for the admission board.
The final section is the summary of your personal statement with a “high-note” final. Include the following details:
- Sum up all arguments in favor of your candidature;
- Relate them to your academic purposes and the requirements of the program and the grad school;
- Basing on these data, finish the essay with a claim that you are an ambitious researcher who matches the criteria, and will undoubtedly add more glory to this grad school.
It is what you should write about in the personal statement.
The Grad School Personal Statement Tips for Writing It Easily
All tips for writing a personal statement for graduate school start from the research recommendation. Your first step is to collect as much information about the grad school of your choice as possible. Read about its programs, courses, and conditions as possible. Then, you analyze this information.
- List all the requirements separately, then list your advantages – qualification, skills, professional experience, and achievements. Match them to create a foundation for the statement of goals for graduate school. Practical accomplishments are the best evidence. Still, if you lack them – apply to other relevant qualities that build you the foundation for success in that field;
- Get familiar with the examples of personal statements. See how the successful applicants presented their advantages. Examine the means they used to persuade the admission officers and how they built the structures. But you must not copy them – it is a plagiarism, and it will ruin your academic reputation for good;
- Make an outline. Note again that it should be a narrative, with all components related to each other and supporting each other. You need a thesis statement too. It is simple: you are the best candidate. Using the outline, develop the “plotline” and pay attention to the most impressive evidence;
- Use active voice and write in the first person. Mind your vocabulary: it has to show your intelligence, but don’t use rare and sophisticated terms. Keep your phrases clear and concise, but not banal. You may use some specific terms if your field requires it but limit such words to a minimum;
- The personal statement for grad school format demands you to be 100% correct in grammar and spelling. Use the automated spelling checkers, but don’t rely on them only. Reread the document after completion and fix the mistakes. Then put the paper aside and rest. You will need more than one revision, so take your time and refresh your mind;
- If possible, get professional feedback. Refer to your college professors and ask them to evaluate your goal statement for grad school. They can detect the details you might not think of;
- Note that you might need to compose several such papers, should you consider several universities. Make sure that each application is individual and unique. It has to match the exact school and course. If it is your case –prepare a separate personal statement for each option.
Writing a grad school application essay is a demanding job. If the current application fails, you can’t apply again until the next year. Thus, you need to pay all effort to make an essay winning the place in grad school for you right now.
One more option is to address the professional writing agency to order this document. We have specialists in writing personal statements with outstanding records of successful applications. If you want to be sure of success – we’ll be glad to help you.