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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.

Essay 1
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...
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Essay 2
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...
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Essay 3
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...
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Essay 4
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...
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Essay 5
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...
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Essay 6
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...
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Essay 7
"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...
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Essay 8
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...
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Essay 9
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...
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Essay 10
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...
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