Graduate School Essay Overview


In addition to your GRE scores and undergraduate GPA, your essay responses will play an important role in the admissions process.

Most programs ask you for two different types of essays in their applications. The first type is a statement of purpose, standard for almost every program (regardless of whether it is engineering, science, or liberal arts). While there are small variations in statements of purpose from program to program, the main points are generally the same. The desired length usually ranges from 250-700 words and the prompt and might ask you to expand on several points:

  • Experiences, both academic and personal, that have influenced your life
  • Academic or professional background that would make you a value to the program
  • Your goals for the program
  • Your goals after completing the masters program
  • Specific areas of focus or specific professors with whom you would like to work

Writing the statement of purpose, which asks you to incorporate many different topics into one coherent essay, is a daunting task for many applicants. Adding to the pressure is the knowledge that this statement of purpose could play a vital role in one’s admission to a given school.

In addition to a statement of purpose, many programs ask for a writing sample from your undergraduate work, or for a current essay on an assigned topic. The actual topic of the writing sample varies but will likely be closely related to the focus of the program. For example, at the University of Texas-Austin, the English masters program asks applicants to submit either poetry or prose for their creative writing program.

If you would like assistance with the process of developing a strong statement of purpose, PowerScore has developed a team of experts who have firsthand experience in graduate admissions. Our admissions counselors can help you select a topic, write a complete essay, or edit and polish an existing draft.

For additional information on our Graduate School Admissions Consulting programs, please visit our Grad School Admissions page or call us at (800) 545-1750.