Graduate schools are packed these days. With many out of work people going back to school to get a master’s degree the competition is at an all-time high. So how do you stand out from the crowd? Write a great admissions essay! Your graduate school admissions essay is your only chance to personalize your grad school application. It puts a human face to all of the transcripts and recommendations.
Understand What the Admissions Committee Wants
Admissions committees want to get to know you as an individual. They read hundreds, if not thousands, of dry and boring essays that are cookie cutter. Your graduate school admissions essay should be a window into your soul. They want to know what makes you tick. It’s perfectly acceptable to be professional yet personal. Show them what makes you unique.
Brainstorming is very important. Take a couple of days to spend time thinking about what you want to write on. Some questions to help you get started may be:
Who has made an impact on you?
What have been some of your greatest challenges?
Give an example of a time where you overcame a problem
Many people do not outline because they think it is adding an extra step. Outlining your admissions essay will make sure it flows together well. Essays that are not written using an outline can seem disjointed, and have poor transitions. Outlined essays typically read smoothly, transition well between paragraphs, and tie back to the thesis statement.
Write multiple rough drafts. No one ever created a winning essay on the first try. Write at least two drafts of your graduate school essay.
First off, you have to choose someone who is qualified to be an editor. Your friends and family are well-intentioned, but that does not necessarily mean they are good at editing. What makes a good editor? They have to be a good writer, be able to provide honest feedback, and be reliable.
You will want to choose no more than two. Too many cooks in the kitchen just causes confusion and more work. To help them with the editing process it’s a good idea to hand them an editing guideline. Remember, they are not just looking for grammar and spelling. They need to look for flow, tone, and readability. Also, ask them if the essay makes you sound unique.
Give them plenty of time to do a thorough job on your essay. At least six to eight weeks before it is due is a good timeline.