Writing Essays For Grad School

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A traditional autobiography may be hundreds of pages and can cover dozens of mundane interactions in minute detail.

A graduate school autobiographical essay, however, should be much shorter and to the point, highlighting achievements and life events that are relevant to your studies or display an important aspect of your character.

Outline relevant information that's not already in your application packet.

You might mention charitable work, any hardships you've overcome, lessons you've learned in your job or ways your life has caused you to choose a particular career path.

In your essay, they want you to demonstrate self-reflection, critical thinking skills, the ability to apply what you learned across broad real world scenarios, and what you would do differently if you encountered a similar situation in the future.

Although you don’t need to cover every one of these aspects within your essay, this can give you an idea of what is important to the admissions officers.

If, for example, you're applying to grad school in political science, you might introduce a quote from Thomas Jefferson or present a scene rife with political conflict.

Because you're not writing an argumentative paper, it's easy to forget the importance of a thesis statement.

Don't be afraid to let your personality shine through by, for example, mentioning your passion for good food or animal welfare, but don't stray away from your central topic, and avoid using colloquial language or slang.

It's also important not to add unnecessary detail that clouds the focus of your essay or needlessly takes up space.

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