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This essay offers some suggestions for avoiding common pitfalls in the preparation of these components, and for making them as strong and persuasive as possible. In brief, the most effective statements of purpose are those that are specific, well written, professional in tone, scrupulously accurate in spelling and grammar, and tailored to the particular institution to which the application is addressed.
The statement should avoid sweeping philosophical generalizations, avowals of political or other ideology, or ruminations about the nature of historical knowledge and its essential role in bettering the human condition. Summaries of extra-curricular activities and achievements, no matter how outstanding, are usually best confined to those having a direct bearing on the professional field to which you are seeking entry.
While it is certainly appropriate to discuss how you became interested in history, and to include something about your long-range career goals, such matters should be kept brief and to the point. Remember that your application is one of many being read by busy faculty members who have numerous other time-consuming obligations as well.
Keep your tendencies toward loquaciousness well in check, and observe word limits strictly. The strongest essay is one that sums up your scholarly interests and immediate academic objectives in a clear and straightforward fashion.
Your statement should be quite precise about the time period, geographic regions, or kind of history you want to study, and perhaps even the specific topic you wish ultimately to investigate. You should briefly indicate how your undergraduate reading, research, and course work have shaped your particular interests and have prepared you to pursue them further.
At the same time, bear in mind that the earlier phases of graduate education involve primarily general training rather than research on a specific topic.
Therefore, your statement should convey an openness to the acquisition of a wide range of historical knowledge and research skills rather than an obsessive fixation on a single narrow topic.
An application from a college senior whose sole purpose in life is to study the Battle of Antietam or the fall of Malacca to the Portuguese in would probably raise warning signals for most graduate admissions committees. It is entirely appropriate, indeed desirable, to tailor your statement of purpose to the institution to which you are applying.
Feel free, for example, to mention professors with whom you would like to work or specific strengths—such as particular manuscript holdings or degree programs—that make the institution attractive to you. Such specificity should avoid elaborate praise or flattery and a fawning, excessively deferential tone is likely to be counterproductive.
The statement of purpose is also the place for you to address briefly any anomalies or ambiguities in your record that might given an admissions committee pause, such as a non-standard grading system or courses whose content is not clear from the transcript e.
If your undergraduate background in history is weak, it might be advisable for you to describe in more detail than would otherwise be necessary the evolution of your academic interests, and to make plain that your commitment to the discipline is now firm.
The quality of the essay is probably more important than its substantive content. The members of the admissions committee who pass upon your application will evaluate your statement for the evidence it offers about the quality, clarity, and originality of your mind; your maturity and sense of direction; your skills as a writer; and your capacity for careful attention to detail.
A thoughtful, well-crafted, coherently organized essay can go a long way toward favorably disposing a committee on your behalf. Conversely, a shallow, formulaic, hastily written statement marred by poor organization, awkwardness of expression, or even worse outright grammatical errors or misspellings, can seriously undermine an otherwise strong application.
I have seen application essays where misspelled words or grammatical errors had been heavily circled or underlined by previous readers, with an exclamation point in the margin. The letters or recommendation are highly important as well. You should select with great care the professors you ask to write on your behalf.
While you obviously cannot quiz a professor in detail about what he or she will say in a letter of recommendation, it is in order for you to ask an instructor in advance whether he or she feels able to write a reasonably positive letter for you.
If possible, select instructors whose scholarly work might be known to those who will be reading the letters. Admissions committees evaluate the writers of recommendation letters, as well as the subjects of those letters! Sometime, particularly at large institutions, it is junior faculty members, or even graduate teaching assistants, who know the applicant best and who write the most useful and perceptive letters.
Where feasible, however, try to supplement letters from beginning or relatively unknown instructors with others from more established scholars. If you wish to obtain a letter from a professor with whom you studied a year or so in the past, or who taught you in a large lecture course, spend a little time talking with that individual about your work in the course, your general undergraduate program, and your scholarly interests, to refresh his or her mind.
The more specific a letter of recommendation, the greater the weight it tends to carry. Each admissions decision reflects a variety of factors and subjective judgments by fallible human beings.
But the tips offered above should help maximize your chances.If you are already a graduate student at WSU College of Nursing and want to change your degree plans, please submit the following materials: graduate program interview questions, statement of purpose addressing why you want to switch or continue and a current résumé to [email protected] Writing Your Statement of Purpose The following is an excerpt from the American Historical Association’s Perspectives newsletter and should be helpful when submitting your statement of purpose.
The essay, entitled “Graduate Applications: The Important Elements,” was written at the request of the AHA’s Committee on Women Historians. You’re considered a freshman for application purposes if you’re applying to WSU for the academic year immediately after graduating from high school or you have not attended any college courses since attheheels.comon: PO Box , Pullman, WA, Your journey starts here Join the thousands of students across Washington and online who are working to shape the future.
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The priority date for admission applications is January Location: PO Box , Pullman, WA, Your nursing personal statement should include a story or anecdote which illustrates how you became interested in nursing as a career. The story can be a personal, family experience or an incident which occurred during volunteer work or an internship.