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.
The Easy Essay ℗
Where was this when I was in school?
The Easy Essay is the 2+2=4 of writing. Just as 2+2=4 works at all levels of mathematics, the patented and free Easy Essay Process works at all levels of expository/proof writing and appears to eventually help the logical thought process itself. The Easy Essay is being used by children who can write a simple sentence and is being taught as a college class. This process is useful in TBI, ADHD, Sp Ed and dyslexia through and beyond the SAT and GED exams. It can be learned in 5 minutes by following simple prompts and can be later used or taught without a computer. The program is effective in any language (see translator) and is limited only by the capacity of the user. Post graduate students are using it to organize their master's thesis' and a doctor is using it as a template for organizing the chapters in a book on new medical procedures, as the program can expand from the basic five paragraph essay to a 17 paragraph essay (e.g. the skeletal aspects of a chapter). Doctors ask their patients to use it and can then give better service, in less time and the patient doesn’t forget anything. The patient simply enters the thesis, “I need to see the doctor.” and then follows the prompted process. Businesses use it for quick, organized memos, reports (e.g. “Mr. Smith needs to rewire his kitchen.”), and more. Businesses often ask for a one page summary. US Presidents have done this. If the concept is acceptable, then more can be asked for. If not, the reader has not wasted their time. The program is perfect for both sides of this equation. Thusly, The Easy Essay is helpful for virtually anyone who desires to better organize their written or verbal communications.
A SIDE EFFECT OF THE EASY ESSAY IS THAT USERS APPEAR TO BEGIN TO COMMUNICATE MORE LOGICALLY, AND AUTOMATICALLY WITH CONTINUED USE, THEREBY MAKING IT USEFUL NOT JUST IN EDUCATION AND BUSINESS, BUT IN LIFE.
One example posting which justifies our faith, and hopefully yours, in the program is:www.ehow.com
How to Outline a Term Paper
The dreaded term paper. If you haven't written one you will. They are favored by teachers and feared by students at all levels of academia. But writing a good term paper is quite possible if you plan ahead, and follow some important steps. Once you learn the steps you can use them for many writing tasks you will encounter once you leave the classroom and enter the boardroom.
• Easy Essay Writing Website
• Purdue University Writing Lab
[They list just two references and eHow is a huge site. The Easy Essay is in good company, as they list us before Purdue and in The 100 Top Tools for Writing the Best Admissions or Scholarship Essays they list our program above Stanford. We are probably the only site that is also used in Sp Ed.]
>> An Interview with The Easy Essay's Designer Barry Morse <<