Thursday, October 1, 2015

My English Isn’t Great. How Do I Write a Great Grad School Essay?

By Oluwaseyi Oni
Student Ambassador,

Emory University

Does the fact that you are not completely fluent in the English mean that you are at a disadvantage with your graduate school essay? Not necessarily.

The component of the application that is fully under the control of the applicant is the statement of purpose or the personal statement. It is, therefore, prudent to work hard to get the best you can out of this portion of your application.

First and foremost, you must begin the process early. Prepare what you're going to write by conducting thorough research to find out what is distinctive about the school where you are submitting your application. This will help you see things from the school’s perspective and allow you to write accordingly. Your aim should be to make the admissions officers identify with you by seeing your side of the story. You should also have a clear, in-depth knowledge of the specific program you want to study.

Your essay gives you the opportunity to show the admissions committee why you are qualified to fit into their unique setting while enriching them with your unique skills, talents, experiences, and personality. It should contain information on why you have chosen that school and the program of study, as well as your interests, goals, and the career path you intend to take. Take time to reflect on relevant past experiences and how they have impacted you. Think of what it is about you that would make them choose you out of countless other applicants.

Write down the ideas you really want to pass across to the admissions committee but also stick to the topics specified by the school and follow the instructions given. Plan how you want to structure and organize the ideas to allow for smooth movement from one idea to the next.

Think about how you want to begin and end your essay. The beginning should be captivating, and should make the reader want to know more about you; End the essay by concluding strongly that, based on the information you discussed in your essay, you are the right candidate for their program.

Next, write the first draft. Fine-tune your draft and correct the errors in spelling and grammar. Read it out loud so you can hear how the ideas flow into one another and catch any other mistakes you might have made. Allow other people – for instance, a professor or friends who are good in English – to proofread the essay and point out any oversights. Additionally, books and online resources can be helpful in explaining how to write college graduate school essays, and how to improve your writing in general.

The challenge of a less-than-stellar English proficiency does not have to limit the success of your graduate school essay. As long as you give yourself enough time to prepare for the essay, do the requisite research, and keep a good dictionary by your side, you should be able to deliver a compelling argument to get you into the school you are hoping to attend.

Oluwaseyi Oni, originally of Nigeria, is pursuing a master’s in public health at the Rollins School at Emory University in Atlanta. She began the program in fall 2015.

1 comment:

  1. well that is amazing i hope i can get enough books and time to enhance me preoare a good essay


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