The Entrance Essay

Purpose

The entrance essay provides an opportunity for you to differentiate your qualifications from other candidates. It can have various names such as personal statement, letter of intent, statement of purpose, autobiographical statement, and objectives of graduate study.

Help

Meet with your career counselor regarding content. Consult the Writing Center  on your writing style and grammatical accuracy.

Content

  • Explain what you want to study and what motivates you to pursue an advanced degree in that subject: What are your academic interests? How did you get interested in the field? What do you hope to get out of graduate school?
  • Offer insight into why you are applying to this particular program: How will this graduate program add to your skill set and knowledge base?
  • Outline what experiences you have in the field: What kinds of relevant research, academic, clinical, personal, or field experiences have you had that prepared you for graduate study? What sets you apart from other applicants?
  • Expand upon what you plan to do with your degree: What are your career goals? What do you hope to contribute to your field?
  • Address anything that is not flattering in your application: For example, did you receive a poor grade in a significant class? Are your GRE scores below average? Are there any problems or inconsistencies in your application materials (test scores, grades background check) that you should explain? 

Structure

Adhere strictly to all content/format guidelines and page/word number limits. If no specific guidelines for format or content are offered, be brief and state your points clearly.

Style

Engage your reader. Avoid flowery wording. Be compelling and offer an interesting opening paragraph and supporting paragraphs that help the reader understand why you are applying to this type of graduate program. Each paragraph should be focused and have a topic sentence that informs the reader of the paragraph’s emphasis.

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