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Preparing for Grad School Admissions Essays: The Top Questions

Preparing for Grad School Admissions Essays: The Top Questions

Graduate school admissions essays always involve similar questions. The questions generally fall into seven basic categories. Most schools allow you to choose between several questions so that you can easily write an honest essay that is relevant both to your past and to your future.

Most schools will ask you to write two or three essays for admission. Many times you’ll need to write an essay for the school and another essay or two for the specific program or department to which you are applying. Different schools will often have overlapping questions which can help you write the essays more quickly. The following are real questions from different graduate schools and programs that fit into each of the major categories.

Career Plans

Schools want to understand what you expect to gain from their program and where you plan to go. Your future career plans and steps reflect on the training they provide, so they want to be sure that you’re worth taking a chance on. Common questions include the following:

Autobiographies and Personal Experience

Schools also want to know about you – who you are, your opinions, your feelings about school and life. Often, they’ll ask you to tell them about your past personal experiences that apply to your future career goals.

What personal experiences have contributed to your desire to go to graduate school or to join this specific program? Describe your life up to now: family, friends, home, school, work, and particularly those experiences most relevant to your interests in this field. What is your approach to life? What is your philosophy of education (insert your field here)? How has your personal life created that philosophy?

Related video: Top 10 Tips for Graduate School Admission


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