Perhaps the best piece of advice I can offer on writing your admissions essay is to solicit feedback from many sources, especially faculty.You may feel that you have made a good case and that your writing is clear, but if a reader cannot follow it, your writing isn't clear.The best way to avoid writer's block is to write something, anything.
If you search for the perfect opening and delay writing until you find just the right angle, phrasing, or metaphor you may never write your graduate admissions essay.
Writer's block is common among applicants writing admissions essays.
Many applicants find it challenging to write a personal statement because there is no clear prompt to guide their writing.
An effective personal statement conveys how your background and experiences have shaped your career goals, how you are well matched to your chosen career and provides insight into your character and maturity. If you are asked to write a generic personal statement, pretend that the prompt instead requires you to discuss how your experiences, interests, and abilities have lead you to your chosen career.
Take a different perspective, however, and you will find that your admissions essay is not as daunting as it seems.
Your graduate school application provides the admissions committee with a great deal of information about you that cannot be found elsewhere in your graduate application.You likely will not (and should not) use all of the information that you gather. As you consider your essay, plan to discuss the information that supports your goals and what is most important to you. Discuss the ways in which your background and competencies overlap with the graduate program's requirements and training opportunities. Pay attention to whether faculty take on students or appear to have openings in their labs.Evaluate all of the information you gather and determine your priorities. Writing an effective graduate admissions essay requires knowing your audience. If you're applying to a doctoral program, take a close look at the faculty. Peruse the department page, faculty pages, and lab pages.Once you have a rough draft of your admissions essay, keep in mind that it is a rough draft.Your task is to craft the argument, support your points, and construct an introduction and conclusion that guides readers.Some graduate programs request that applicants write a more generic autobiographical statement, most often referred to as a personal statement.A personal statement is a general statement of your background, preparation, and goals.Granted, the argument concerns your capacities for graduate study and the outcome can determine the fate of your application. I believe this holds true for all types of writing, but especially for drafting graduate admissions essays.Many writers stare at a blank screen and wonder how to begin.But first, take note of what kind of essay is being requested of you.Here are the two main admission essays: A Personal Statement is a narrative piece describing how your character and experiences have formed you into someone who will contribute positively and effectively to not only the department but the academic discipline as a whole.