Sample Autobiography Essay For Graduate School

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Graduate School Sample Essays


Although it might seem like it simply involves luck, getting into graduate school involves more than just having your name randomly drawn out of a pile. Admissions officers are looking to distinguish candidates in any way possible. As more highly qualified candidates are applying to graduate school every year, the process of selecting students often goes beyond comparing test scores and grades to using more subjective measures like the graduate school application essay.

For some students, their graduate school admission essay is their first -- and best -- chance to grab the attention of the admissions department at the school of their choice. Prospective students should consider it their one chance at an interview with the school; in many cases, it's a better option than interviews since the applicant has the chance to set the agenda rather than being forced to answered a prepared set of questions.

Your graduate school personal statement needs to show the school you are applying to your unique qualities and how you would enrich their school if you were accepted. Below are some examples of successful graduate school admission essays that we've helped prospective students develop in the past.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to remind you of what is really important in life. A year and a half ago my cousin and good friend died suddenly. I was so sad thinking about all the experiences in life that she will miss by being taken at such a young age, and what a loss this was for the entire community to never know what good she could have accomplished, if given time...
Spending my early years in my family’s native Lebanon gave me a sense of history and permanence on this earth that seemed very at odds with the new life we started when my family moved to New Mexico when I was ___ years old. Life in Lebanon is, on the surface, much like it was hundreds of years ago, and if you were to take a picture of our street there and its inhabitants, I have no doubt with the exception of the particulars of people’s faces it would look much the same as a painting from long ago...
Life can be so shallow and unrewarding if you are living each day with no plan for the future and little thought toward helping others. This may seem like an obvious statement, but I come across people every day who haven’t had the opportunity to realize this truth for themselves just yet, and they are miserable because of it. I feel very fortunate that the goals I have formed for myself over the past few years are helping me make the most of every opportunity that presents itself, allowing me to live a life with true meaning...
Growing up in a small village deep in rural Russia I never could have dreamed that as an adult I would be doing cutting edge research on polymer science, but through hard work, a desire to build a future of advancement, and inspiration from those scientists who have gone before me, I have already fulfilled the first few steps of this amazing dream...
My husband often likens me to a flower. Not some delicate and fragile blossom that droops in adverse environments, but a strong and hearty plant that can make the most of what is offered and bloom anywhere. As the wife of an active duty military man, I have had to make many compromises in life, but with all of the challenges, opportunities have arisen. It may not have been my first choice to move every couple of years, but each new location has given me the opportunity to teach our two daughters more about the world we live in...
It must have driven my mother crazy to know that the minute a tomato left on the counter too long began to mold and decompose it suddenly became endlessly fascinating to me, and must therefore not be thrown out. Something about how organic systems began to break down drew me in and it seems that as far back as I can remember I’ve always been fascinated by how things work...
"Tell me, and I'll forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I'll understand." ~ Native American Proverb

These are words of inspiration for anyone who seeks to teach others some of the knowledge they have earned over the years. I am a very different person now than the one I was just a few short years ago. Events in my life, both planned and unexpected, have conspired to bring me to a place where I know for sure that teaching is in my blood and I am now seeking admission to the Ph.D. program in Instructional Design and Development at ____ University so that when I go before a classroom in the role of educator, I will be the best prepared and most competent teacher I can be...
In the two years that have passed since I earned my undergraduate degree, much has changed in my life. I returned to my homeland of Malasia after six years of living in the United States and began working for a major international company. I was hired as a researcher and, given my long standing interest in the medical field, was assigned several M&A projects researching that industry, and this subsequently became something of my field of expertise...
Growing up under a communist regime is not the most auspicious beginning for a budding artist, but I have found that if one’s innate talents can flourish in this most austere of environments, then just imagine what it can accomplish in more fertile ground. My family never had much money for food, let alone presents. I had few toys and little in the way of craft material, but as a child I didn’t see the bleakness of communism and instead discovered ways to create beauty by using the things around me...
I am passionate about becoming a tax accountant. This is probably not a sentence one hears everyday, if ever, but for me it is true. I know many people fear and loath taxes, and are frightened and put off by the complex laws that govern their applications, but I am just the opposite; they fascinate me...

Your graduate school personal statement may initially get only five minutes of an admissions officer's attention. In those five minutes you have to show that you are a good pick for the school.

Writing an amazing graduate school essay is probably far more straightforward than you might think. Graduate school admissions officers aren't looking for gimmicks. They're looking for passionate, motivated, and prepared applicants who are ready to hit the ground running in their program. Read on for more details in creating your best graduate school essay. If you're looking for one-on-one assistance, check out EssayEdge.com.

Know what the admissions officers are seeking

Don't make assumptions about your graduate school personal statements. Many programs simply ask you to submit a personal statement without any further guidance. Other programs will tell you exactly how they want the essay structured along with word count limits and formatting requirements. Review the prompt thoroughly and plan your essay before you begin writing to ensure that you create an essay that will be an effective and persuasive addition to your application package.

What should you do if the program doesn't give you any specifics? With greater numbers of applicants to graduate programs, the trend is toward shorter essays. This is especially true of graduate programs in the STEM fields. Unfortunately, longer essays tend to be skimmed rather than read thoroughly, and most any admissions officer will tell you that the best essays that they've read are always shorter essays. Think about what is absolutely essential, and write about those aspects of your experience with passion.  

Personal, personal, personal

Did we mention personal? Some graduate programs will ask you to write an additional essay about an issue within your chosen field. However, your personal statement should be about you as an individual. Write about issues only if they relate specifically to your personal experiences. For example, 'In Africa, a child dies every minute. This stark statistic prompted me to join an NGO aimed at providing nutrition and healthcare for children in Namibia.'

Keep your anecdotes focused on your life after you began college

It is common for graduate school applicants to start their personal statements with an anecdote about something that happened during childhood or high school. On the surface, this makes sense because that event was what started the journey that has culminated in an application to the program. However, graduate programs are for professionals, and writing about your childhood is more appropriate for an undergraduate essay than one for graduate school. If you feel that you absolutely must include something from your childhood, use it as the starting sentence of your concluding paragraph. 

Know your program and make connections

Securing acceptance into a graduate program is more about being the best match than about being the most highly qualified. Among applicants who meet the program's minimum requirements, they'll choose an enthusiastic and informed applicant over one with higher test scores and a better GPA who doesn't seem to know much about their program.

During your graduate studies, you'll likely do research, and graduate programs want to know that you can both participate in ongoing research as well as find a mentor for your own project. In your essay, write about professors in the programs whose work interests you and why. Also, there is life outside of the classroom. Does the school have a close-knit traditional college campus? Is it located in the heart of the city? Especially if you will be moving with your family, show the admissions officers that you will thrive in their environment.  

Finish with a strong statement about why the school is your top pick

This doesn't necessarily mean that the school is your only pick. However, generic essays have no place in the graduate school application process. Form letters aren't persuasive, and generic essays won't help your application package. If you can't sincerely write that the school is a top pick, then why are you applying there? Instead, focus on creating stellar essays for the ones that actually interest you. Help the admissions officers understand your overarching vision for your future career and how your time at the school will prepare you to realize these goals.

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