Below is a pdf link to personal statements and application essays representing strong efforts by students applying for both undergraduate and graduate opportunities. These ten essays have one thing in common: They were all written by students under the constraint of the essay being 1-2 pages due to the target program’s explicit instructions. In such circumstances, writers must attend carefully to the essay prompt (sometimes as simple as “Write a one-page summary of your reasons for wanting to pursue graduate study”) and recognize that evaluators tend to judge these essays on the same fundamental principles, as follows:
- First, you are typically expected to provide a window into your personal motivations, offer a summary of your field, your research, or your background, set some long-term goals, and note specific interest in the program to which you are applying.
- Second, you are expected to provide some personal detail and to communicate effectively and efficiently. Failure to do so can greatly limit your chances of acceptance.
Good writers accomplish these tasks by immediately establishing each paragraph’s topic and maintaining paragraph unity, by using concrete, personal examples to demonstrate their points, and by not prolonging the ending of the essay needlessly. Also, good writers study the target opportunity as carefully as they can, seeking to become an “insider,” perhaps even communicating with a professor they would like to work with at the target program, and tailoring the material accordingly so that evaluators can gauge the sincerity of their interest
Overview of Short Essay Samples
Geological Sciences Samples
In the pdf link below, the first two one-page statements written by students in the geological sciences are interesting to compare to each other. Despite their different areas of research specialization within the same field, both writers demonstrate a good deal of scientific fluency and kinship with their target programs.
Geography Student Sample
The short essay by a geography student applying to an internship program opens with the writer admitting that she previously had a limited view of geography, then describing how a course changed her way of thinking so that she came to understand geography as a “balance of physical, social, and cultural studies.” Despite her limited experience, she shows that she has aspirations of joining the Peace Corps or obtaining a law degree, and her final paragraph links her interests directly to the internship program to which she is applying.
Materials Sciences Student Sample
For the sample from materials sciences, directed at an internal fellowship, the one-page essay has an especially difficult task: The writer must persuade those who already know him (and thus know both his strengths and limitations) that he is worthy of internal funds to help him continue his graduate education. He attempts this by first citing the specific goal of his research group, followed by a brief summary of the literature related to this topic, then ending with a summary of his own research and lab experience.
Teach for America Student Sample
The student applying for the Teach for America program, which recruits recent college graduates to teach for two years in underprivileged urban and rural public schools, knows that she must convince readers of her suitability to such a demanding commitment, and she has just two short essays with which to do so. She successfully achieves this through examples related to service mission work that she completed in Ecuador before entering college.
Neuroscience Student Sample
The sample essay by a neuroscience student opens with narrative technique, telling an affecting story about working in a lab at the University of Pittsburgh. Thus we are introduced to one of the motivating forces behind her interest in neuroscience. Later paragraphs cite three undergraduate research experiences and her interest in the linked sciences of disease: immunology, biochemistry, genetics, and pathology.
Medieval Literature Student Sample
This sample essay immerses us in detail about medieval literature throughout, eventually citing several Irish medieval manuscripts. With these examples and others, we are convinced that this student truly does see medieval literature as a “passion,” as she claims in her first sentence. Later, the writer repeatedly cites two professors and “mentors” whom she has already met, noting how they have shaped her highly specific academic goals, and tying her almost headlong approach directly to the National University of Ireland at Maynooth, where she will have flexibility in designing her own program.
Beinecke Scholarship Student Sample
The Beinecke Scholarship essay is written by a junior faced with stiff competition from a program that awards $34,000 towards senior year and graduate school. This student takes an interesting theme-based approach and projects forward toward graduate school with confidence. This writer’s sense of self-definition is particularly strong, and her personal story compelling. Having witnessed repeated instances of injustice in her own life, the writer describes in her final paragraphs how these experiences have led to her proposed senior thesis research and her goal of becoming a policy analyst for the government’s Department of Education.
Online Education Student Sample
Written during a height of US involvement in Iraq, this essay manages the intriguing challenge of how a member of the military can make an effective case for on-line graduate study. The obvious need here, especially for an Air Force pilot of seven years, is to keep the focus on academic interests rather than, say, battle successes and the number of missions flown. An additional challenge is to use military experience and vocabulary in a way that is not obscure nor off-putting to academic selection committee members. To address these challenges, this writer intertwines his literacy in matters both military and academic, keeping focus on applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), his chosen field of graduate study.
Engineer Applying to a Master’s Program Sample
This example shows that even for an engineer with years of experience in the field, the fundamentals of personal essay writing remain the same. This statement opens with the engineer describing a formative experience—visiting a meat packaging plant as a teenager—that influenced the writer to work in the health and safety field. Now, as the writer prepares to advance his education while remaining a full-time safety engineer, he proves that he is capable by detailing examples that show his record of personal and professional success. Especially noteworthy is his partnering with a government agency to help protect workers from dust exposures, and he ties his extensive work experience directly to his goal of becoming a Certified Industrial Hygienist.
Click here to download a pdf of ten short essay samples.
Please the deadline to submit this essay is in two day time. Please I need a constructive criticisim in editing this essay.
What are the errors? Does the essay answer the question? What are the cliche and corrections to be made? Thanks in anticipation for editing my essay.
In an essay not longer than one page, describe the skills you would bring to the WAB internship as well as how WAB can contribute to your career path.
My Career Interest and Skills
I was born and raised amongst five siblings, in a poor Christian Family in Aba, Abia State in Nigeria. Growing up in the times of economic hardship, life was not an easy walkway for my family. My parents owned a small retail shop where they sold plastic bags to meet the family's needs. Despite the fact that most poor families in the city where I lived couldn't afford to educate their children, my siblings and I were sent to school and were bred to ingest good moral principles which amount to respecting people, valuing leadership and possessing a life's goal.
I prioritized education at a young age as I realized it was my easiest opportunity to become prolific in life. In high school, I was intrigued by energy, was keen to learn about production facilities and my curiosity to ascertain knowledge influenced me to embark on several research projects and ask questions about scientific inventions. My dedication towards my studies has enabled the discovery of my prospective and passionate career interest - to become an Electrical and Computer Engineer skilled in utilizing scientific principles to design, modify electrical prototypes, test automated facilities and recommend solutions to correct malfunctions and improve efficiency and run time in production systems of client based firms.
Upon high school graduation, my plan to acquire a college education was not realized immediately due to my financial instability. I never felt discouraged but pressed ahead firmly seeking ways to acquire financial support for education. A breakthrough moment was perceived when I came across a testing agency that host International examinations used in securing admissions and scholarships to study abroad. I applied and took the Scholastic Aptitude Examination (SAT) and earned a high score which secured me a Deans Scholarship to study Computer Science and Mathematics at Voorhees College.
I maximized various avenues via my membership in voluntary based organizations at Voorhees College to enhance personal and professional growth. I was the Public Relations Officer of the Voorhees Rotaract Club, an affiliation of Rotary International and implemented several community service based projects. Being the Voorhees College Student in Free Enterprise's Secretary, I implemented a "Save a Child Abroad" project to raise books and stationery that would be utilized in supporting the education of less privileged kids in Nigeria.
Currently a transfer student with a 3.9 CG.P.A studying Physics and Computer Science at Dillard University, I have become a participant in the Louisiana Alliance Minority Program and I been able to conduct scientific projects for publications. I am currently seeking to gain a valuable experience through integrating my skills to solve real and complex technology problems in the environment and to amplify my knowledge on my prospective career, and for accomplishing my intent, I would not hesitate to accept an internship offer from WAB.
In conclusion, hard work, passion, creativity, positive curiosity, and perseverance - the depicted theme are the arts which I would employ during the course of an internship at WAB to reach her goal and also, my personal goals. Through working with skilled professional and cutting edge technology in a fast growing and paced environment at WAB, I would ascertain scientific knowledge, valuable experience and networking opportunities that would empower me to jumpstart my career, nurture and develop a diversified career growth in other specific interests and roles in the technology industry.