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Common Graduate School Admissions Essay Questions

essay writing Common Graduate School Admissions Essay QuestionsAdmission to a graduate school almost always requires some sort of written statement as a part of the application. The importance of the statement varies from school to school and from field to field, but overall there is an assessment occurring of the applicant's academic worthiness via his or her communication skills.

Although the essay could be one general question, such as "what is your approach to life," most universities world-wide now break the question into six or more sections, each answer requiring somewhere between 400-600 words, the equivalent of roughly two typed pages.


Some graduate school essay questions either totally or partially focus on specific information. The information here tends to be goal-oriented, no small part of the rubric used to evaluate the candidate. These questions tend to be worded in a way that ask "what" questions, usually concerning your academic interests, research experiences and academic objectives.

Despite the focus on specific information, all of these questions need to be answered with your focus on goals. The trick is to not merely list your goals by answering the "what," but to provide explanations as well. The idea is to try to show how the goal developed within you or how your experiences have shaped your goal. This approach to these types of essay questions works because it provides you room to elucidate your point of view as a way of answering.

If the question focuses you on specifics within your background, such as asking you to discuss your research experiences or academic background, it's okay to answer the question with some part of your high school experiences, but it's better to focus on college or on time away from academia.

Best of all, try to answer the question in a way that says how you see the particular university helping you to achieve your specific goals.

Another way of phrasing the specific question is to ask you to describe your experience of something particular, like working with a team (or contrarily working independently).

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Learn More About Applying for Scholarships

Applying for scholarships can be time consuming, but viewing it as a part time job, even one modest award can be worth several hundred dollars an hour in spent researching and applying. Considering most scholarships have similar criteria, and similar essay prompts, applying can be easy as cut and paste.

The most typical and readily available scholarships are sponsored by the university or the state and are merit based. Merit-based scholarships from universities might not even have a separate application for scholarship consideration and will automatically award money when they grant admission. Depending on the number of people who meet the criteria, and the applicant's scores, these awards can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars a year to full-tuition.

State scholarships have to be applied for, although some financial aid offices in universities streamline the process, if the applicant lives in the sate. Many state scholarships do not apply if the applicant goes out of state, and applicants from out of state typically do not receive scholarships from the state in which they will be attending school. Some state scholarships require community service; be sure to talk with a guidance counselor or teacher for more information on state based scholarships.

Scholarships from private foundations, charities, corporations and religious organizations can be a bit more exotic in the application process and requirements. Many foundations and charities require interviews as part of the selection process, but generally require similar scores and essays. They may also require special projects, or community service. Corporations generally offer some scholarship money to the children of employees who will be studying in an industry related field. A software company may offer scholarships to computer engineers only. Some place a requirement that recipients study at a state school. Some require that the applicant stay in state, but the applicant is free to attend private or public university.

Religious organizations often require that applicants be member of the church, and then the standard mixture of grades, need and essays. The more exotic requirements might come departmental scholarships offered within a particular university. These scholarships often require the applicant meet basic criteria, plus admission. Memorial scholarships make up the bulk of this type of scholarship and sometimes have additional requirements based on the interests or characteristics of the memorial scholarship namesake.

Applying for these loans can be a long process involving interviews and non-standard essay prompts, but they are often very lucrative. Applicants should gather as many scholarship and admission applications as possible before beginning an admission/application essay. Generally the prompts for these are similar, and a well-crafted broad essay can fit neatly into many applications, which streamlines the process. Be wary of application deadlines, as many scholarship deadlines, especially from private organizations come much earlier than university deadlines.

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How To Pay For Your Masters Degree – Cutting Tuition Costs!

With both in-state and out-of-state tuitions climbing at a similar rate as gasoline, many potential graduate students are finding themselves wondering if pursuing an advanced degree is really a good investment. For many of us, the thought of taking on more dept is terrifying and enough to prevent us from going back to school. Before you abandon the idea of higher education, you should be aware that there are a few ways to avoid these climbing tuition costs.

1. Since most universities offer tuition waivers to employees, consider getting a job on campus. Even if the job is entry level and low paying, the money that you save on school might still make it worthwhile. Do the math! Getting a job on campus is a great idea for several other reasons as well: working on campus will give you the opportunity to meet faculty in a more casual environment and this may help you when it comes time to apply. Further, working in your field might give you the opportunity to publish an academic manuscript, and this is a tremendous advantage when being considered for admission.

2. Many employers will pay for a portion or all of your tuition if they perceive your pursuit of an advanced degree as transforming you into a more valuable employee. When you approach your boss, present a good argument convincing him or her that it would be a great investment to send you to graduate school. In return, you may be required to agree to work for this employer for a certain number of years, but this is usually a fair trade off.

3. Going to school part-time is another good way to offset the cost of tuition. Taking a few classes at a time will allow you to spread the cost of school over a longer period of time. Further, it will limit the amount of lifestyle changes required of going to school full time. It's also a good idea to test the waters before jumping in because this also gives you the opportunity to see if you really do enjoy studying a particular topic at the graduate level.

4. Some programs will offer "graduate assistantship opportunities" once you are accepted to the program. These are on-campus jobs designed with graduate students in mind. Examples include dormitory advisors, laboratory mangers, and teacher's assistants. These jobs are staffed by graduate students in return for a tuition waiver (partial or full).

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Do Employers Mind If My Degree Is From An Online University?

Maybe you're considering getting a degree from an online university. Maybe you've just earned one and in preparing to apply for new jobs that will make the most of it, you're wondering whether or not prospective employers will see your resume and have bad associations with your online degree. In a word, the answer is no.

Employers who require employees to have a college degree care that you have one from somewhere. Traditionally, there are about 20 colleges in the United States (the Ivies and a handful of other prominent schools) that make employers sit up and take notice about where your degree came from. If you did not attend one of these places, you are like most people, who find that the name of their school is less important to their employers than how they performed academically, and what they studied.

In fact, your online degree may set you apart in a positive way from the rest of the pack of applicants. Successfully obtaining your degree online tells prospective employers that you are a person who will get the job done even when no one is looking. Online degrees testify that their recipients are self-motivated individuals who are capable of managing multiple priorities. And whatever job you're applying for, rest assured that those are two qualities all organizations prize.

Furthermore, online universities are becoming more and more popular. While your online degree can set you apart in the aforementioned ways, you should have no fear that it will stigmatize you. Each day, it becomes more and more likely that the person you sit down to interview with may have attended the same online school that you did!

Another benefit of the online university experience in the eyes of employers is that it is designed in large part for working professionals. The fact that you've made it through an online degree program tells your prospective employer that you have had intense exposure to the types of collegial interactions you will face in the working world. Online universities emphasize and develop the ability to work with others, to manage and meet deadlines, and to be responsible for learning on your own. When you consider all of the things a degree from an online university says about you, you should realize that you're more of a proven commodity, a "safer" hire than recent graduates from brick and mortar universities.

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Finding the Right Online University

First, Find The Right Online Degree
Before you begin to settle on a decision about which online university will provide the most bang for your buck, you should first do some shopping online to determine which degree is the one you most want to pursue. There is a wide range of online education opportunities for you to take into consideration. To distinguish themselves from each other, online universities offer many different types of degrees. Even within one field, you will find many different online degree experiences. A Bachelor’s of business at online university A will differ from the one you can pursue at online university B, etc. You will probably find that each online university you shop around in offers several versions, however nuanced, of the same degree. This is all good news for prospective students like yourself; it’s good to have options. However, in a bang-per-buck discussion, first you should decide what you want out of your online degree. Then, when you know what online degree it is that you’re after, do some comparison shopping among the online universities that offer the degree of your dreams.

Do Your Comparison Shopping
While this is a bang-per-buck discussion, don’t just make your decision based on what your online degree will cost. You should also think about what your online degree will offer you. You’ve already done quite a bit of this type of thinking by putting the time in to determine what type of online degree program you’re truly interested in. Don’t shortchange yourself at this point by just going with the online university that gives you the lowest quote on price. In addition to your consideration of the cost of your online university, you should factor in the intangibles each of the online universities you’re comparing will offer you. What are the success stories of graduates of the various online universities you’re comparing? Are there graduates you can call or email to quiz them about their experiences in the online degree program you’re considering? Which of the online universities has the strongest alumni network? Which of the online universities you’re researching have the best records of placing their students into high-profile careers after they graduate? Again, to get the best bang for your buck, take into every aspect of what the various online universities you’re considering offer, not just price.

Avoid Online Degree Mills
Finally, a word must be said about so-called online degree mills. Avoid these at all costs. Make sure the online university you sign on with is fully accredited, meaning that the degree you earn from it will be acknowledged and respected.

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Online University Textbooks

There is no getting around it. If you plan to pursue a higher education, be it online or traditional, you will need access to textbooks and most likely need to purchase them. But you have some choices to save you money. Many universities have e-libraries where you can access your textbooks online. E-textbooks are half the price of printed textbooks and you don’t end up loosing money on unsalable and unusable old textbooks.

Also with e-textbooks, you no longer have to worry about juggling a ton of books wherever you go or want to study; with the click of your computer or labtop you can access your course material online. Listed below are five websites where you can find online university textbooks:



3.http://ocw.mit.edu (MIT’s OpenCourseWare electronic publishing initiative)

4.http://people.math.gatech.edu ( online math textbooks)


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