PhD Student & Essay Coach

Sharing tips on how to improve your grad school personal statements | Sharing a bit about grad school life | Starting a PhD in F20

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gradschoolgo·a month agoPhoto

What other tips do you need besides actual writing tips? ⁣

An environment you can work with AND a relaxed state of mind also contribute to the success of a statement of purpose (or any type of writing). ⁣

Taking care of your needs as a human will allow you to focus completely on other things. ⁣

For example, it’s tough doing work while you’re thirsty or hungry, because that’s all you’re thinking about! It’s tough doing work when you’re tired and sleep-deprived, so get that nap in and get back to your work afterwards. ⁣📩

Taking care of yourself is also taking care of the mind that will help you write the best possible essay. So give that to yourself first. ⁣

But if there’s one piece of actual writing advice in here, it’s DON’T wait for inspiration to hit. It could literally hit the day after the deadline, but a deadline is a deadline and you need to get your work in👊🏻 you got this.

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gradschoolgo·a month agoPhoto

Words are magic✨

Yes, your scores may matter.

Yes, your letters of rec may matter.

Yes, your GPA may matter.

But your words could be the thing that determines your acceptance or your rejection.

When it’s a numbers game, all you see are numbers. But when there’s words, sentences, paragraphs, and a story, YOUR story involved, that’s what makes you human.

So use your five hundred, one thousand, two thousand, words or characters to the best of your advantage, because that’s all you have to work your magic.

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gradschoolgo·a month agoPhoto

❗️For those of you changing majors or fields for grad school

Grad school careers aren’t always linear. What we major in for undergrad doesn’t always become what we study in grad school. I’m one of those people! 

I was TERRIFIED to apply to PhD programs in a different field of study, but I used that FEAR and turned it into a strong statement of purpose where it showcased both my weaknesses and the strengths I had FOR having studied something else previously. 

Acknowledging where you might fall short and addressing it gives you POWER because you’re claiming your weaknesses before anyone on admissions has the chance to call it out. When someone else calls it out after you’ve submitted your application, you won’t have a response, but by anticipating certain weaknesses, you can address them and talk about things that can compensate for that weakness. 

You can be just as successful as I was in securing a spot in grad school, even if you’re changing fields of study. While it’s not always easy, it’s definitely doable, and I’ve compiled a list of tips for those applying to different fields of study.  

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!

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gradschoolgo·a month agoPhoto

❗️You KNOW you should do this, but do you actually? 

This process has been drilled into our minds since we started writing essays in middle school and high school, but many of us have our own processes for writing. 

However, for writing a statement of purpose, I can’t stress that this process is SO important. Each one builds on the other, and without the one before, it has the potential to crumble. 

I underlined the parts that are highly underrated or skipped. 

1️⃣YES, you read the prompt, but do you actually process it? 

3️⃣➡️2️⃣➡️1️⃣YES, you write, but did you think about what you’re writing BASED ON step number 1? 

4️⃣Step 4 is also crucial–you need to NOT see it for a while. Whether that’s a couple of days or a week or two, you need to remove yourself from your own writing to come back to it with fresh eyes. Think about other things. 

5️⃣And when you come back to it, revise it. Not once. Not twice. Multiple times, until you feel like it’s ready. 

Sometimes it’s difficult to look at our own work objectively, and we need someone else there to help us bring out the clarity and confidence to support our qualifications. Send me a message/ask if you need some help!

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gradschoolgo·a month agoPhoto

I always tell my students that I can only help them AFTER they have something written. It’s much easier to get your thoughts on paper and then edit after, even if you think it’s terrible. Terrible first drafts are better than no draft. 

Some motivation for your week if you’re working on schoolwork like essays or admissions essays for grad school 🤗

Follow me on Instagram, that usually gets updated before Tumblr 🤐

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gradschoolgo·2 months agoPhoto

It helps. It works. Starting is the hardest part. 

This mindset helped me get straight A’s in my master’s program. Two of my friends said they wish they had my “work ethic.” 

But I was just being kind to myself. The moment I got something assigned to me, I would start it right away. If it was a short assignment, I would finish it then. If it was a long assignment or an essay or a paper, I would spread out the work between days. 

I did this for myself–so I could have fun on the weekends and still love the work I was doing at school. The present me would try to take a load off the future me, so future me could have more fun without worrying about how much work I had to do later that night. 

Starting is the hardest part, but once you get past starting, there’s no stopping you. 

This mindset will not only help you with your grad school apps, but it’ll help you during grad school and beyond. 

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gradschoolgo·4 months agoPhoto

Starting your personal statement can be HARD! You may have too many ideas, or NO ideas, AND no idea where to start. But I’m here to help you with that 🤷🏻‍♀️⬇️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣

1️⃣Let the questions and prompts help you.⁣

The beauty of grad school essays is that they usually aren’t as open-ended or vague as undergrad personal statements. Usually there’s a story behind why you’re applying and you have goals for a career after grad school, and you have some experience to back up your qualifications. Let the prompt guide you.⁣

2️⃣Brainstorm first!⁣

Even if you HATE brainstorming and usually DON’T do it, do it for your essays. It gives you a roadmap so you don’t talk about things that are irrelevant and go off on a tangent. It’s easier than you think to talk about things that are adjacent to your topic but not directly relevant. ⠀⁣

3️⃣Just write—writing is never perfect on the first try.⁣

Let go of the expectations that it has to be perfect on the first draft. I wrote and rewrote my PhD personal statements so many times that the first draft and final draft ended up looking nothing alike. Sometimes you just need to write first, then organize & fine-tune later.⁣

4️⃣You don’t have to start from the beginning.⁣

After brainstorming, if there’s a part of your story that you’re most excited about, write about that first! Writing doesn’t have to be and isn’t always linear. Sometimes starting from what you’re most excited about will give you ideas for the other part and remind you why you’re excited for grad school (but not so excited for application season). ⠀

5️⃣Don’t be afraid to break the rules if the rules don’t even apply to you!⁣

When writing my essay for PhD apps, I came across “advice” that told me not to talk about anything before my college years because it was too distant. BUT, in order to effectively tell MY story, I had to talk about my life from birth (and I was accepted). ⁣

Writer’s block is ugly & anxiety-inducing. But writer’s block is just that—a MENTAL block, and it comes from fear and avoidance. ⁣


Only you know your story. Don’t let fear scare you away from telling it.👊🏻 ⠀⁣


Follow me on Instagram! @gradschoolgo 

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