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. In such circumstances, writers must attend carefully to the essay prompt (sometimes as simple as “Write a one-page summary of your reasons for wanting to pursue graduate study”) and recognize that evaluators tend to judge these essays on the same fundamental principles, as follows:
- First, you are typically expected to provide a window into your personal motivations, offer a summary of your field, your research, or your background, set some long-term goals, and note specific interest in the program to which you are applying.
- Second, you are expected to provide some personal detail and to communicate effectively and efficiently. Failure to do so can greatly limit your chances of acceptance.
Good writers accomplish these tasks by immediately establishing each paragraph’s topic and maintaining paragraph unity, by using concrete, personal examples to demonstrate their points, and by not prolonging the ending of the essay needlessly. Also, good writers study the target opportunity as carefully as they can, seeking to become an “insider,” perhaps even communicating with a professor they would like to work with at the target program, and tailoring the material accordingly so that evaluators can gauge the sincerity of their interest
Overview of Short Essay Samples
Geological Sciences Samples
In the pdf link below, the first two one-page statements written by students in the geological sciences are interesting to compare to each other. Despite their different areas of research specialization within the same field, both writers demonstrate a good deal of scientific fluency and kinship with their target programs.
Geography Student Sample
The short essay by a geography student applying to an internship program opens with the writer admitting that she previously had a limited view of geography, then describing how a course changed her way of thinking so that she came to understand geography as a “balance of physical, social, and cultural studies.” Despite her limited experience, she shows that she has aspirations of joining the Peace Corps or obtaining a law degree, and her final paragraph links her interests directly to the internship program to which she is applying.
Materials Sciences Student Sample
For the sample from materials sciences, directed at an internal fellowship, the one-page essay has an especially difficult task: The writer must persuade those who already know him (and thus know both his strengths and limitations) that he is worthy of internal funds to help him continue his graduate education. He attempts this by first citing the specific goal of his research group, followed by a brief summary of the literature related to this topic, then ending with a summary of his own research and lab experience.
Teach for America Student Sample
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.
Neuroscience Student Sample
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. Later paragraphs cite three undergraduate research experiences and her interest in the linked sciences of disease: immunology, biochemistry, genetics, and pathology.
Medieval Literature Student Sample
This sample essay immerses us in detail about medieval literature throughout, eventually citing several Irish medieval manuscripts. 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.
Beinecke Scholarship Student Sample
The Beinecke Scholarship essay is written by a junior faced with stiff competition from a program that awards $34,000 towards senior year and graduate school. This student takes an interesting theme-based approach and projects forward toward graduate school with confidence. 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.
Online Education Student Sample
Written during a height of US involvement in Iraq, this essay manages the intriguing challenge of how a member of the military can make an effective case for on-line graduate study. The obvious need here, especially for an Air Force pilot of seven years, is to keep the focus on academic interests rather than, say, battle successes and the number of missions flown. An additional challenge is to use military experience and vocabulary in a way that is not obscure nor off-putting to academic selection committee members. To address these challenges, this writer intertwines his literacy in matters both military and academic, keeping focus on applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), his chosen field of graduate study.
Engineer Applying to a Master’s Program Sample
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. Now, as the writer prepares to advance his education while remaining a full-time safety engineer, he proves that he is capable by detailing examples that show his record of personal and professional success. Especially noteworthy is his partnering with a government agency to help protect workers from dust exposures, and he ties his extensive work experience directly to his goal of becoming a Certified Industrial Hygienist.
Click here to download a pdf of ten short essay samples.
There are 4 essay basics
- Narrative essay tells a story from one person’s viewpoint.
- Descriptive essay describes characteristics and traits of the topic in detail.
- Expository essay provides information about various topics to the essay’s readers.
- Argumentative essay convinces the reader by using the demonstration of truth and falsity of the topic.
Narrative essay is a story about something that happened to you that you tell in order to make a point. Your story should be told for a reason for the reader to learn a lesson or gain the insight after or during reading or listening to your short narrative essay.
To write a descriptive essay you need to describe an object, a person or event. You should do this extremely vividly, so that the reader had the feeling of reaching or even touching it by himself. As descriptive and narrative essays have a lot in common, general advice for writing them can come in handy.
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Effective Descriptive and Narrative Essays Tips
- Tell a story about something that produced a powerful impression on you. It will help you to tell the story in the interesting way.
- Avoid lengthy descriptions and long introductions; it will make the beginning of your narrative boring.
- Make certain that your story has a point. Describe in detail what conclusion you have made of your experience and what you have learned.
- Use all your senses to describe background information such as characters, setting or even the plot of your story. Write the story in your own words and in your own style. Avoid your story to make an impression of the textbook content.
- The narrative essay has its focus on the story plot. Follow these simple writing steps.
- Tell the story chronologically.
- Share the purpose of the essay in the opening sentence.
- If it is possible- use the dialog. It will grasp the reader’s attention.
- Use vivid descriptions and sensory details to involve the reader while writing. All these details should relate to the main point, you, as a writer should make.
All these elements are connected and they need to be combined seamlessly. If you are not sure you understood all the narrative essay writing principles, explore short narrative essay examples available on our web-site or use our professional writing services.
Tips for writing a Narrative Essay
- Share your emotional and sensory details with the reader.
- Use vivid and colorful words to arouse the same feelings you have in the reader.
- Pay attention to the story elements supporting the point or statement you made in the first sentence.
- Don’t forget to make references to the point made in the introductory sentence.
- Make use of the sequence and conflict like it is done almost in every story.
- Don’t be afraid to use flashbacks and flash forwards. They will help to build your story to the climax.
- Use first person narrator to write a story. If it is necessary, include the third person point of view.
How to make your description vivid?
- When you write a narrative essay, avoid simple description of how anything looks like. Add descriptive details such as taste, smell, sound or feeling. It will make your story more vivid and interesting for the reader.
- Avoid abstract descriptions, as they will distract the reader from understanding of what you wanted to tell. Successful narrative essays let the readers visualize everything they have read. In order to provide full visualization use as many concrete details as possible. Try to involve the reader in your experience.
When the draft of your narrative essay is ready, it is necessary to revise it. This is the last chance for you to review, reorganize and modify your work with the goal of making it perfect. Pay attention that the ideas presented in your essay and they do not confuse the reader. Make sure that your message was conveyed effectively in the essay. The very last stage is editing and proofreading the essay according to the formatting style of the selected essay type.