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.
Landing a great internship as a college student is an excellent way to prepare yourself for the challenges of life after the university. To make this happen, you’ll need a sharp resume. Our internship resume example for college students and student-specific writing tips can help you construct your own. If you’re a bit uncertain how to proceed, no worries! Our how to write a resume guide has got you covered.
Or, if you’re too busy juggling your schedule, try out our easy-to-use resume generator to create one in minutes.
Table of Contents
- College Student Resume Sample
- Related Cover Letter and Resume
- College Student Resume (Text Format)
- Three Key Writing Tips
1. College Student Resume Sample
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2. Related Cover Letter and Resume
If you also need some help with your cover letter, peruse our expansive cover letter library for some tips and tricks.
3. College Student Resume (Text Format)
(xxx)-xxx-xxxx | [email protected] | 123 Your Address, City, State, Zip Code
Diligent university student who has never failed to meet a project deadline during four years at Texas A&M. Aiming to leverage my writing, sales skills, and knowledge of product development to land an internship for [TARGET COMPANY]’s marketing team. Ability to critically think and implement ideas will help [TARGET COMPANY] reach more consumers and expand its outreach.
TEXAS A&M, College Station, TX : September 2013 – Present
B.A. IN MARKETING, EXPECTED GRADUATION DEC 2017
- GPA: 3.93
- Relevant completed courses: Consumer Behavior, Retail Concepts & Policies, Professional Selling, Social Media & Public Relations, Advertising, and Creative Marketing
- Awards & Honors: Won First Runner Up at the 2015 Texas A&M Collegiate Sales Competition in a pool of 48 competitors
- Clubs & Organizations: Treasurer of the Aggies Advertising Club, Vice President of the Texas A&M Key Club (Fall 2016 – Present)
“SHOP LOCAL” CAMPAIGN : October 2016 – December 2016
- Used online, PR, and offline marketing in a way that yielded tangible results, increasing business at local stores by 13% over a three month period
- Surveyed students and locals from the College Station area and gathered data about their shopping habits
- Worked within a $2,000 campaign budget as the leader of a five person team
COLLEGIATE SALES COMPETITION : April 2016
- Participated in a mock-sales competition which required both sales-savvy and intimate knowledge of marketing tactics
- Prepared a 20-page sales document, a fine-tuned sales pitch and a variety of diagrams to maximize my 15 minute mock-meeting
- Worked with industry professionals and got thorough feedback, thus honing my marketing and sales skills
- Intimate familiarity with major social media marketing platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit, Tumblr
- WordPress, Drupal CMS platforms
- Fluent in Spanish
4. Three Key Writing Tips
These tips are specifically for students, but are useful for anyone lacking in the professional experience department.
1. Pour extra effort into your career objective
A career objective is a three sentence blurb about who you are and why you’re the best candidate for the job. It is one of three commonly used resume introductions, and it’s best suited for the vast majority of college students because it requires no work experience to write. These three sentences can be broken up as follows:
1. An introductory sentence where you state your degree and a strong example of experience that’s relevant to the job. This experience doesn’t need to be from work — school, volunteering or extra-curricular examples are fine here too.
“Diligent university student who has never failed to meet a project deadline during four years at Texas A&M.”
2. A statement where you mention how your strongest skills make you perfect for the specific position you’re trying to land.
“Aiming to leverage my writing, sales skills, and knowledge of product development to land an internship for [TARGET COMPANY]’s marketing team.”
3. A concluding remark which illustrates how the combination of your skills and experiences makes you an asset to the company.
“Ability to critically think and implement ideas will help [TARGET COMPANY] reach more consumers and expand its outreach.”
If you’re still not sure how to make your very own, our killer career objective guide dives into greater detail.
2. Bulk up your education section
Sometimes it’s a scary prospect filling up space on a resume (especially if you’re a student). The best way to achieve this to create a solid education section that highlights your greatest academic and extra-curricular accomplishments.
Don’t forget to include volunteering experience to help paint a more comprehensive picture of your character and interests.
Under your university’s name, include the following information:
- GPA: If your cumulative GPA is 3.5 or above, put this at the top.
- Relevant completed courses: Any coursework that helps establish yourself as knowledgable in a particular field should be listed here.
- Awards & Honors: If you’ve received any awards or honors that help prove how capable you are, think of one or two and place them in this section.
- Clubs & Organizations: This is also important because it shows that you have interests outside the realm of academics. Employers are looking for well-rounded individuals, so list a couple of the most relevant ones.
Bonus Tip: For a college student, listing your high school achievements isn’t necessary unless you are truly worried about bulking up your resume. If you decide to use high school information, make sure it’s really strong and relevant content.
3. Swap the Professional Experience section for a Major Projects section.
A detailed education section is the meat of a college student resume, so make sure you don’t brush over it.
Detailing your major school projects is a valuable alternative to describing your professional experience. In our college student resume example, the student is applying for a marketing internship. She was part of one marketing campaign and also participated in a relevant competition, so both were emphasized in their own individual sections.
You can see how she wields these examples as concrete evidence of her marketing ability. Being able to do this in your own field is critical for landing a great internship — see if you can do the same!
A detailed education section is the meat of a college student resume, so make sure you don’t brush over it. Putting in time now will pay dividends.
Alright, are you feeling prepared yet? Our huge assortment of downloadable resume templates is completely free for everyone to use and a great resource to kick off the writing process. For people who want to get things done quickly and painlessly, we have a resume generator that can help you put together a resume in minutes.