Graduate School and Scholarships
This handout is addressed to upper-class students who are seriously thinking about attending medical or law school, or who have decided to apply to graduate school. It can also be helpful to students applying for scholarships related to post-baccalaureate studies. This handout focuses on the personal statements or essays applicants are usually asked to submit as part of the application process.
For reasons addressed in a moment, students have a tendency to put off writing such essays until the last minute. While such procrastination is understandable, it is not very wise. A poorly conceived or slapdash essay can directly work against your chances of being accepted at the institutions of your choice. Conversely, a strong essay will greatly enhance the odds of your being admitted to the school you want to attend. So the primary message to you is
read over this handout NOW
to get a better sense of
a positive way to approach these essays.
Plan to do the kind of preliminary work I recommend for these essays NOW; there is lots you can and should do even before you start filling out application forms.
This handout is designed to address those issues that encourage you to procrastinate, and it provides concrete, specific strategies for gathering the information you need to write a powerful essay, as well as strategies for drafting such essays.