Graduate school admission applications and writing the personal essay
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Graduate School Admission Applications and Writing the Personal Essay Rosemarie Sena Center Career Development Services The Application Process Applicants will usually be required to submit some combination of the following: Graduate Admission Test Scores (GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, etc.)

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Graduate school admission applications and writing the personal essay l.jpg

Graduate School Admission Applications and Writing the Personal Essay

Rosemarie Sena Center

Career Development Services


The application process l.jpg
The Application Process Personal Essay

  • Applicants will usually be required to submit some combination of the following:

    • Graduate Admission Test Scores (GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, etc.)

    • Application Form with a Personal Essay

    • 3-5 Letters of Recommendation

    • Academic Transcripts

    • Portfolio

    • Financial Aid Forms

    • Application Fee

  • And may be asked to interview


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Hints for Filling Out Application Forms Personal Essay

  • Make a copy of the form

  • Read each question carefully

  • Make notes on copy about what is being asked and about what you don’t understand

  • Call university/program with your questions

  • Have some one else proofread application for you

  • Word process application

  • Consider applying online


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What is a Personal Statement or Admission Essay? Personal Essay

  • The personal statement paints a picture with words of who you are.

  • It should NOT be a repeat of the information found elsewhere on your application.

  • It is an opportunity to tell the university of your choice why they should grant you admission.

  • It is important to convey enthusiasm, commitment, motivation, and determination in your essay.


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Personal Statements and Admission Essays Personal Essay

Ask yourself

  • What’s special, unique, distinctive, or impressive about me?

  • What are the origins of my career interests? How did they develop?

  • What are my career goals?

  • Are there any discrepancies in my academic record that should be addressed (e.g., great grades but low admission test scores)?

  • What skills and personal characteristics enhance my chances of success in my chosen field?

  • What makes me competitive?

  • What have I learned about my field through internships and/or research?


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What’s important is what you say and how you say it. Personal Essay

Be sure to answer the admission committee’s questions.

When appropriate, use a theme for your personal story.

Maintain a positive and upbeat tone.

Be honest.

Grab the reader’s attention in your opening paragraph.

Avoid potentially controversial subjects.

Remember the 3 C’s: clear, concise, and correct.

Proofread, proofread, proofread!

Guidelines and Hints for the Personal Essay


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Read instructions carefully Personal Essay — different schools want different items.

Be sure that you follow any guidelines for length and margins.

If no guidelines are given, go with the standard—no more than 2 pages double-spaced with one inch margins all around.

Try not to be too perfect or too idealistic.

Use real life experiences to illustrate a point—put yourself in the essay.

Guidelines and Hints for the Personal Essay


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Resources for More Info & Help With Personal Essays Personal Essay

  • For more tips, a tutorial, & editing services for all types of graduate school essays:

    • www.essayedge.com

  • Common Business School Essay Questions:

    • www.princetonreview.com/mba/apply/articles/application/essayBook3.asp

  • Attributes of a Great Personal Statement for Law School:

    • www.princetonreview.com/law/apply/articles/application/essayBook1.asp

  • Tips to Get Started on the Medical School Essay:

    • www.princetonreview.com/medical/apply/articles/essays/tips.asp


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