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All these things were helpful and valuable, but nothing motivated me more than comparing my fiction to the work of my peers.As I read their work carefully, both objectively and subjectively, I found myself thinking at times that I was sure I could write better than the others around me at the seminar table—then I’d read an artful, poignant story that made me wonder whether I could ever even compete.
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.
Later paragraphs cite three undergraduate research experiences and her interest in the linked sciences of disease: immunology, biochemistry, genetics, and pathology.
This sample essay immerses us in detail about medieval literature throughout, eventually citing several Irish medieval manuscripts.
Perhaps somewhere between these two attitudes is the most profitable approach when studying the work of your peers.
In critiquing the work of others who essentially represent your competition, you should take a respectful stance both critical and kind, just as selection committee members are likely to do.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.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.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.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.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.