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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
The Importance of Graduate Admission Essays
A great graduate admission essay can be the difference between being accepted into your dream college and being left out. Learn more about the importance of your admission essay.

With the recession generating nearly twice as many applications as normal, competition for the limited spots in graduate programs is fierce. The application process itself is often stressful, complex and time-consuming - all before courses even start. Preparation for the GRE, GMAT, LSAT or a similar entrance exam takes months, and then comes the transcript requests, letters of recommendation and financial aid applications. It is no wonder that many people feel that writing an essay is the least of their worries.

Unfortunately, this attitude usually means they are headed toward rejection. In fact, the quality of college application essays can often mean the difference between being accepted and starting the process over again at another school.

Depending on the graduate school's admissions process, the application essay may be either the final decision point for entrance into an academic program or the gatekeeper to personal interviews and eventual acceptance. Either way the essays are used to:

  • Review whether the applicant possesses graduate level writing skills and critical thinking abilities.
  • Discover the applicant's interest in the program and field of study.
  • Understand the characteristics that would make the applicant an interesting and valuable addition to the college.

The faculty reviewing the documents may choose to divide this information into a graduate school personal statement and other essays that address particular questions. In the case of a personal statement (also known as an autobiographical statement), the goal is to relay biographical information, convey reasons for selecting the school and the program, and - most importantly - sell oneself.

The importance of submitting an excellent set of essays cannot be overstressed. Unfortunately, college admission essay writing is a talent that applicants have only one chance to demonstrate. Essays must use correct spelling and proper grammar, convey the appropriate tone and be on-topic with the given subject. They should also be positive and avoid excuses or rambling. Anyone who has doubts about his/her writing abilities is encouraged to attend a college admission essay writing course or ask for an essay review by academic professionals. Reading sample essays from successful applicants can also be helpful. As with a resume or CV, the graduate school application essay should be informative, insightful and interesting. Capture the review committee's attention, and secure a place among distinguished peers.


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