Graduate School Application Essay Workshop

By KAITLYNN LITTLE, reporter
Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018

Career Services and the Writing Center partnered to host an informative and practical workshop, Tuesday, Oct. 30, to help students in their process of applying for graduate school.

Terry Ehresman, director of Career Services, explained to students that now is the time to 1) decide if they want to go to graduate school, 2) do research to figure out the requirements and deadline for their program, and 3) give themselves plenty of time to write the personal essay.

Ehresman also gave students a tour of his Career Services website. It provides important internet links and career guide pdf’s that he has gathered for students’ success.

“Part of the services offered by Career Services, is grad school advice. And so, whether that’s “How do I know if I should apply,” “Will a grad school degree help my career,” “If so, how do I decide which school to go to,” “How do I write the paper?” These are services I offer one-on-one for students anyways, so this was just a form to do that in more of a group setting” Ehresman said.

Dr. Rachel Griffis, assistant professor of language and literature, presented a powerpoint titled “Strategies for Writing the Essay.” Her two main points began with “it’s all about you” and “your dream school.”

“Writing these statements—like I mentioned in the presentation—these statements are some of the most difficult rhetorical documents to write. Job, scholarship, and fellowship applications are also kind of in that same genre. These short things that can only be like 500 words or 1000 words, are so difficult to write, so students can benefit from getting guidance specifically in this genre,” Griffis said.

Students were given a handout of an example of a bad personal essay with edits marked in red. After reviewing it, they were given a packet of four good example essays and discussed what qualities made it excellent. Lastly, Ehresman handed out a “Personal Statement Worksheet” that provided questions to help students start brainstorming and write down some ideas for him and Griffis to read and give suggestions.

“I’m in the process of applying for graduate school. My plan is to apply to master’s programs for applied mathematics. Right now my plan is to apply for between 5-10 programs, just depending on what I find and what interests me, and what would be a good fit for me. This workshop was really helpful just to get some general writing tips and kind of keep alert for what’s expected,” senior Shelby Stowe said.