Personal Essays Graduate Applications

Despite their different areas of research specialization within the same field, both writers demonstrate a good deal of scientific fluency and kinship with their target programs.The short essay by a geography student applying to an internship program opens with the writer admitting that she previously had a limited view of geography, then describing how a course changed her way of thinking so that she came to understand geography as a “balance of physical, social, and cultural studies.” Despite her limited experience, she shows that she has aspirations of joining the Peace Corps or obtaining a law degree, and her final paragraph links her interests directly to the internship program to which she is applying.

She successfully achieves this through examples related to service mission work that she completed in Ecuador before entering college.For the sample from materials sciences, directed at an internal fellowship, the one-page essay has an especially difficult task: The writer must persuade those who already know him (and thus know both his strengths and limitations) that he is worthy of internal funds to help him continue his graduate education.He attempts this by first citing the specific goal of his research group, followed by a brief summary of the literature related to this topic, then ending with a summary of his own research and lab experience.Click here to download a pdf of ten short essay samples.Frequently, graduate school or scholarship applications provide an option or requirement for you to submit a resume to complement your other written material.Perhaps somewhere between these two attitudes is the most profitable approach when studying the work of your peers.In critiquing the work of others who essentially represent your competition, you should take a respectful stance both critical and kind, just as selection committee members are likely to do.The Beinecke Scholarship essay is written by a junior faced with stiff competition from a program that awards ,000 towards senior year and graduate school.This student takes an interesting theme-based approach and projects forward toward graduate school with confidence.All these things were helpful and valuable, but nothing motivated me more than comparing my fiction to the work of my peers.As I read their work carefully, both objectively and subjectively, I found myself thinking at times that I was sure I could write better than the others around me at the seminar table—then I’d read an artful, poignant story that made me wonder whether I could ever even compete.

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  1. The next time you drive past a noxious strip mall or lament your kids' obsession with mindless movies and cartoons or read an article charting the rise of the working poor, the demise of the American farmer, the decline of public education, or the ever-widening national waistline, thank the fast food industry.