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.
A biography is simply an account of someone’s life written by another person. A biography can be short in the case of few sentences biography, and it can also be long enough to fill an entire book. The short biographies explain a person’s basic life facts and their importance, but the long biographies would go an extra mile and include more details to make an interesting read. You may find yourself in a situation which requires you to write a biography of a famous person, a close friend or a relative. For this reason, it pays to know how to come up with a biography and the important details that you should include in it. The lives of many people have interesting bits of information, but you ought to know what to capture in the biography and what to leave out.
What to include in a biography
The length of a biography depends on the type of information that should be included. The length will determine the nature of information and how extensively it will explain the life of a person. For instance, if you are to write a short paragraph about a person it will mostly capture the important details that identify the person compared to a pages-long biography that may even include the person’s childhood experiences and achievements shaping their life.
For a short biography, maybe a paragraph or two long, the following details should be captured:
- A person’s date and place of birth, at times with the date and place of death as may be applicable
- The person’s major achievements in life
- Their educational background and notable awards
- Work facts of a person and their contribution to that field if any
- A brief account of the significance of an individual in the community
A lengthy biography will bring out more details of a person’s life making it a bit more complex. His/her history will be brought out more clearly especially the details that shaped them to be the persons they turned out to be.
The target audience will also dictate the nature of the information that is to be included. The relation of the audience to an individual will have an impact on how the information is presented and the important details that they could be interested in. In a case where the audience is unknown, more details will have to be included. This mostly happens in the case of a several paged biography. You will have to scrutinize the person in a more detailed way and establish more people relating to the person. Focusing on the uniqueness of an individual can do wonders in this case and this might turn out to be inspirational to many people. The field that the person has majored in or had majored in ought to influence the direction that the biography will take as this will help to bring out the contribution of the individual to their field of study.
How to write a good Biography
A biography is meant to analyze a person’s life and interpret it as well. A good biographer will try to join the dots and explain certain actions and events that a certain figure was involved in. This will help in clearly bringing out the significance of a person’s life through their accomplishments or remarkable deeds.
Biographies are usually written in a chronological order. Some biographers could also draft them in a themed order that is early life, educational background, a person’s achievements or accomplishments. But some especially the short ones will focus on one area in a person’s life.
There are several sources of information that could aid one in writing an astounding biography. These sources of information can be grouped into either primary sources or secondary sources. The primary sources of information include materials like letters, newspaper accounts or diaries. A biographer can also make an arrangement to interview an individual they want to write about. This is also considered as a primary source of information. The secondary sources are reference books, other biographies or historical records that are related to the subject being written about.
Steps in writing a biography;
- Select the individual you want to write about
- Search for the basic facts that relate to a person’s life. The encyclopedia or almanac could be handy at this.
- Think about the details to add in the biography which can bring out clearly about the person’s life. Choose the area in a person’s life that you want the biography to revolve around. Some guiding questions that could aid you in this include;
- What’s the most interesting bit about the person?
- What is the significance of the individual to the society and the world in general?
- What qualities or adjectives will be best suited for the description of the individual?
- What actions or life events bring out the qualities or adjectives chosen above?
- What life events or world events shaped the individual or brought out the best in them?
- Did they face obstacles or take some risks in life? How did they handle the obstacles and did they happen to be lucky?
- What impact did they have in the world? Did they add value to the way people view certain aspects of life? Did they come up with a thing, idea or way of action that transformed the way things are handled or rather done in their societies or world in general?
- Carry out some additional research on the internet to answer some of the questions mentioned above. Ensure that you find information that will help you tell a story that many will love.
- After getting everything in order, you can proceed to write the biography. We have provided sample biographies in this site that you could check out in order to get the drift.
A biography template is meant to specifically aid a writer come up with an excellent biography. For this purpose to be achieved the writer needs to get his/her hands on a high-quality biography template, just like the ones provided on this site.
The best biography templates should provide clear instructions, and this should be in great detail to avoid the risk of the writer missing out some important facts. The templates available on this site will help you capture all of the details.
The biography templates should also be precise and avoid beating around the bush. Going round one idea or item will make the biography boring to read and it is prudent for the writer to be straight to the point. By doing this it will be easier for the readers to skim through and find the details they might be interested in with lots of easy. The writer will also save his/her time and concentrate on writing other things.
The general sections of any biography as outlined by our sample biographies will have;
- The name of the person
- A picture of the person
- An account of their early life
- The person’s family life
- The major achievements of the person
- The three main interesting qualities or facts about the individual
A professional Biography Template
A professional biography is a statement that could either be short or long that is written about a person, business or company. It should be engaging, informative and interesting for the readers to identify with the person or business entity being talked about. It has a sales pitch that is a little bit different. A professional biography template is meant to ease the process of generating printed professional biographies especially for an individual who wants to reach a lot of people or institutions.
Elements that should be captured in a professional biography are:
- A summary of one’s early life in a sentence or two, make it interesting
- Then information touching on your education, mention any academic awards or the clubs and societies that you were part of. Any work experience while in school.
- Talk about how creative and innovative you are with coming with solutions to the problems that you have faced as an individual, mention any situation that you were self-reliant in coming up with solutions
- Mention qualities that make you stand out for instance, being independent, principled or discerning to increase your trustworthiness.
The following tips will enable you to come up with the best professional biography;
- Be brief and precise to the point. This is to enable the reader to easily and quickly get to know about you.
- Be spontaneous in your writing
- Be as expressive as possible and avoid too much of self-editing while drafting the professional biography in the initial stages to capture as much information as possible
- Be friendly but not too informal
- Be as interesting as you could in order to get the attention of many people out there
- Write it in third person. Talk about your life as if someone else were describing it.
This site offers you a professional biography template that could aid in making the generation of professional biographies an easy and less time consuming task. You can also check out sample bios to figure out how to go about the whole process of coming up with a professional biography.
Personal Biography Template
A personal biography is a short account of who you are, your credentials and your notable accomplishments in life. Personal bios ought to be short, precise and relevant to your target audience. The use of personal statistics such as hobbies or family should be avoided. A personal biography template will help one to easily and conveniently come up with personal bios.
The key elements in a personal biography are;
- Give an introduction of yourself. Remember to write it in third person and include the year that your professional career started to be relevant. You could give a list of any relevant specializations in your field.
- State your educational facts and credentials. Mention the degrees that you have pursued and the respective institutions. Add any relevant experiences you have that are required for your career and mention the name of the society that you are legally a member of.
- Proceed to outline any notable achievements or awards you have earned in your practice. Remember that the information ought to be relevant to the audience being addressed. If you happen to be an author you could mention the magazines or any publishing house that has recognized your works.
- Your conclusion should mention any upcoming projects or works in progress that people should lookout for in the near future. Don’t forget to mention your current place of residence.
As you age, it is good to keep on updating your biography to reflect who you are at present time. You can make use of the personal biography template offered by this site to easily and in a more convenient way generate your own biography without missing out on the important details.
We also provide sample biographies to give you a feel of what your end draft should look like. If you have kids and you want to let them in on famous historical figures, this site offers biographies for kids. These will help them know the notable people who help shape the world to what it has become to be.