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Entrance Essay

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/or objectives of graduate study.


  • Align your content with the prompt provided on the application.
  • 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?
  • Answer why the timing is right for you to attend graduate school: Why are you ready to pursue this endeavor?
  • Address specific curriculum, research opportunities, or experiences that you are excited to participate in for this specific program: Are there any classes you would be excited to take or professors that you would like to work with on their research?
  • 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? Do you have a gap in employment or experience? Are there any problems or inconsistencies in your application materials (test scores, grades, background check) that you should explain?
  • Each essay should be unique and tailored to the specific programs: No two should be exactly the same!


Strictly adhere 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.


Engage your reader. Avoid flowery wording and maintain a professional tone. 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.


Create drafts of your entrance essay well in advance of your application deadline and meet with your career coach regarding the content. Consult the Writing Center on your writing style and grammatical accuracy.