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Successful Graduate School Essay Examples and Personal Statements

Filed in Education by on April 7, 2021

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It goes beyond saying that you are a thoughtful, intelligent, passionate, and unique individual. Well, you already know that but; you have to convince your choice of grad school Ad coms and Admin officers that you’re a cut above the rest and worthy of you being granted admission.

Graduate School Essay Examples

By reading the graduate school essay examples provided below, you should get a clear idea of how to translate your qualifications, passions, and individual experiences into words. But first, let us look at what exactly is a graduate school essay and what it should contain to be considered valid.

In this article, we have helped you with some of the successful graduate school essay examples, which aim to guide you in creating your essay.

What is Graduate School Essay?

The grad school application essay should contain; letter of intent, personal statement, statement of purpose, etc. This is your chance to breathe some life and personality into your application.

But unlike your undergraduate essay, where you might’ve offered a quipped story; your grad school application essay should be more focused on your academic and professional goals and why grad school is essential to achieving them.

Also, it should also give the admission committee a good sense of who you are and what you value at the same time. (No big deal, right?)

All that being said, a lot of the advice that helped you write your undergrad essay still applies: tell a unique story, use vivid examples, be genuine, and, perhaps most importantly, explain why you’d be an asset to the program—and why the program would be an asset to you.

Things to Include in Your Grad School Essay

Here are the 5 things to include in a grad school personal statement:

  • Engaging opening
  • Consistent use of opening imagery
  • A clear theme that ties the essay together
  • Solid structure
  • Good use of transitions

Graduate School Essay Examples

Every essay here comes from a successful grad school application. And you’re going to love their stories.

Master of Arts, Higher Education Administration

Bridget Sullivan
Boston College
Class of 2017                                                                                                    

Why this essay is great: This personal statement takes you on a journey, as Bridget discovers her calling as an undergrad, gets all the hands-on experience in it she can, and figures out the perfect way to make it her career: grad school. And not just any grad school—Boston College in particular!

There’s no doubt in your mind that she’s going to take advantage of everything BC’s master’s program has to offer, and she has the real-world experience to back her claims up.

Graduate School Essay Examples

I did not know higher education existed as a field until I came to college. Despite this, it has surprisingly been the field that has had the largest impact on my college experience. It has given me direction going forward.

The college has been my most important experience so far, in that it has allowed me to better understand how I interact with my environment and how others experience the world around them. Without the Student Affairs professionals I have interacted with over the past four years, I would not be where I am today.

I hope that in my future as a Student Affairs professional I can give students the great experience I have been privileged to receive. I will take the lessons I have learned and those that I will learn in the future to improve the college experience for many future generations going forward. 

Moreover, I have enjoyed being a Resident Advisor, a Parent Orientation Leader, and an Assistant Resident Director while attending the University of Massachusetts Lowell for the past four years. All of these jobs fall under the Office of Residence Life.

These opportunities have been cornerstones of my college education. They have taught me the long-term and transferrable skills of organization, conflict management, and supervision.

I have most enjoyed being an Assistant Resident Director, as I get to work with the Resident Advisors and Resident Director in a more administrative capacity. The ARD works closely with the RD to get the work done and hold RAs accountable.

I think my favourite part of being an ARD this year has been working with the RAs to make sure they have the best experience they can, while at the same time making sure they complete their work well and on time. I enjoy helping RAs and other students reach their full potential, and I feel that it is a learning process for me too.

The ARD position has shown me how much I value helping others on the path I have set for myself through my experiences with the RAs I supervise. Because of the ARD role I have been afforded, I have had the opportunity to see how this potential career may play out.

I feel confident about my ability to transition to the professional side of the field because the ARD position has already forced me to take on many of these steps. I tested the waters of the potential career in my RA role last year; this year as an ARD has shown me that I know I can succeed. 

I am passionate about student affairs and higher education because it is an opportunity to work with college students and help them grow and develop. I truly believe that there isn’t a more rewarding career than one that allows you to help others. This field allows me to assist others every day at a time in their lives when many students need it most. It was my developmental path, and I want to give that support to others.

So far my academics and daily practice have not been linked nor intentional. I am excited to be able to make this so by starting a graduate program in higher education. Understanding my former responsibilities in terms of theory and learn how to turn new theories into practice is a process I cannot wait to begin. 

I know the Lynch School of Education can assist me in achieving this goal through their program in Higher Education Administration. The opportunity to study in the Boston area will give me a multitude of professional development opportunities that would be hard to find anywhere else.

If I am admitted, I will work hard to maximize my time at the Lynch School and become a young professional who can innovate and improve upon current practices in the field.

Master of Arts, Arts Administration

Haviland Johannesson-Forgit
Castleton University
Class of 2018

Why this essay is great: Haviland draws a remarkable line from her undergraduate studies and goals to the present day. She’s been on a clear path for a long time, and grad school has always been part of the plan and the logical next step for her career.

Her unwavering commitment to arts education and dance as a means for furthering social justice will serve her well professionally—and it probably impressed the graduate admission, folks, too. Haviland also references specific features of Castleton University’s graduate program, showing she’s genuinely interested in the school and its unique strengths.

Graduate School Essay Examples

While contemplating how I should approach my personal and professional goals and how earning an advanced degree will support them, I came upon my application essay for Goddard College that I wrote close to three years ago:

“Oftentimes, children who lack positive, authoritative figures and emotional support end up making unwise choices that stay with them and induce prejudice and judgment from other people who may be ignorant to what caused these children to make the choices in the first place.

This cultural stigmatism that exists in our society often leads to these children being segmented into a disenfranchised group as adults. The misunderstanding and neglect that occurs in communities towards socially disenfranchised children go against everything that I was raised to take in regard when attempting to understand a person.

I envision my studies reaching children and young adults in many different communities. It is my goal to immerse myself in rural, inner-city, and lower-income communities and meet these children before or in the midst of their time when the decisions they make can influence where their life may lead. I believe that the teachings of dance as a holistic lifestyle will provide outlets of knowledge and self-expression for these children and young adults that will lead them in positive directions.”

In this essay we were expected to write about our intentions and ambitions for our studies; to address the passions that acted as the drive for our work during our attendance at the college as well as after graduation. In returning to this essay, I was pleased to discover that my ambition and dedication to using the performing arts as a source of structure and reliability for youth in this country has not changed.

When applying to Goddard College for my undergraduate degree I knew that I would want to continue on to pursue my graduate degree afterwards to enhance myself as a qualified candidate working in my field. Earning my advanced degree will enable me to go forth in the world as a confident and learned individual prepared to create the positive opportunities I envisioned years ago.

While earning my advanced degree, I intend to learn the details and structure that is needed to successfully run arts organizations. The closeness that Castleton University has with the Association for Arts Administration in developing its program for the MA in Arts Administration encourages me; it assures me that the quality and rigour of the program at Castleton is the right fit for my personal and professional aspirations.

The efficacy of the program combined with the professional portfolio of projects demonstrating a mastery of skills in a range of areas in the arts and the six-credit culminating internship is exactly what I am looking for in an advanced degree program.

My background in the performing arts is broad. Not only have I have spent many years performing in productions of theatre and dance, but I have also devoted my time and learning to other aspects of performance arts, whether it be technical, political, and social.

My time attending Goddard College has proven to be extremely educational in training me in areas of social justice and cultural realizations of privilege, class, and human rights. With an accomplished and culturally diverse faculty and staff, the College requires its students to incorporate this training into their degrees, which makes for globally conscious citizens.

What I stand to bring to Castleton University’s campus is a vibrant love for the performing arts accompanied by acute social awareness training. My dedication to improving myself as an individual in my career is resolute; earning my advanced degree is vital to my continuing as a professional in a field so important to the foundation of our culture. I look forward to the opportunity of earning my Master of Arts in Arts Administration at Castleton University. 

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I’m quite this article was helpful, if you have any questions regarding graduate school essay examples or contributions to make, you can use the comment box below.

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