No matter what kind of graduate degree you plan to pursue, there is one essential skill by which all applicants will be judged: writing. Although a majority of people wouldn’t consider themselves writers, it is still a skill that every graduate student should have some competency in. If you write a research report, a letter to a client or emails poorly, it will not reflect well on you as a professional.
This is, in part, why admissions committees require essays as part of the application process. After all, if you can’t express yourself in a clear, concise, grammatically correct and typo-free manner, then you may lack the skills to succeed in whatever program you are aspiring to pursue.
There are various types of essays that graduate programs require, but personal statements and statements of purpose are the most common. The purpose of these essays is for admissions committees to get to know you better and determine what kind of student you will be in the program, as well as your professional goals as a graduate.
Before you start writing
Here are some ways to plan ahead and improve the quality of your essays:
How to structure your essay
Now that you’ve done all of that planning and brainstorming, it’s time to write your essay. Be sure to follow the basic structure of an essay by organizing into three main parts:
Review and revise
Make sure to read and revise your essay because your first draft is never your final draft. This includes proofreading each draft thoroughly. Give your essay to someone else to proofread as well. People tend to read their own work as it was intended in their minds, so it is easy to miss a mistake. If your essay contains typos, grammatical mistakes and spelling errors admissions officers will likely overlook the quality of the content you have written and no longer consider you as a viable candidate.
Be sure to customize
Customize each essay to the specific program to which you are applying. This is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. You may use some of the same elements and experiences, but each one should be individually crafted to a specific program. The more programs you submit applications to, the more writing you will be doing, but since writing is a universal skill required for just about every profession, remember that practice makes perfect.