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Graduate School Essays

When asked to name the most important part of the application, many admissions officers answer the personal Personal Essaystatement, also referred to as the Statement of Goals and Objectives, Admission Essay, Autobiographical Essay, or Letter of Intent. Typically, admissions members are looking for interesting, insightful, revealing and non-generic essays that suggest you have gone fully through a process of careful reflection and self-examination. A persuasive personal statement may even help you overcome the handicap of a low GPA or graduate test score.

To be of value, the personal statement must bring light to bear on your ability, motivation, and special perspective. Do not bore the Admissions Committee by repeating application information. Make your statement fresh, lively, different. Try to answer the question, what's most important for us to know about you? This statement may be the first nonnumeric evaluation the graduate school has for you. It is your sales tool. Be careful, though. If you are required to answer a specific question, make every effort to respond to it. There are books located in Career Services that may help you.

Here are some tips:

  • It's what you say and how you say it.
  • Don't guess as to what the readers are looking for. Follow instructions.
  • Find an angle and tell a story.
  • Be personal, if appropriate.
  • Address any inconsistencies.
  • Grab the reader's attention with your 1st paragraph.
  • Be positive & upbeat.
  • Avoid controversial subjects.
  • Express yourself clearly & concisely.
  • Adhere to word limits.
  • Make clear why you are choosing this program/school over any others.
  • Avoid clichés
  • Be honest!

Salisbury University Writing Center- For assistance in writing/editing your essay, please contact the Writing Center.

Related Web Sites

  • Very good information on essays and personal statements.
  • Big help and tips for writing essays and more.
  • Essay Writing- Hints for practically all disciplines - business, medicine, sciences, psychology, math and more.
  • Writers Handbook- Must see site that has a form outline that you can fill out.
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