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Graduate Admissions Essays: Write Your Way into the Graduate School of Your Choice

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  181 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Veteran higher-education consultant Donald Asher demystifies the graduate school application process and offers a detailed action plan that has proved successful for some of the most competitive programs in the country. The 50 sample essays-selected from thousands of candidates-showcase the best of the best, while the Essay Hall of Shame identifies common pitfalls to avoid ...more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Ten Speed Press (first published March 1st 1991)
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Oct 14, 2007 Lilias added it
Recommends it for: anyone & everyone applying to grad school
Shelves: non-fiction
About the 3 star rating: I rate the books according to how much I enjoyed them, and to stay that "I liked it" is a pretty big deal for this kind of book. Especially given the facts that I had to bribe myself with many cups of hot chocolate as well as threaten myself with somber predictions of the future in order to get myself to read it. Besides, 3 stars isn't such a bad rating.

As I said above: I recommend this book to anyone and everyone that is applying to graduate school. Even if you've alrea
Feb 03, 2009 David rated it liked it
Enjoying a break from reading actual admissions essays this spring (during sabbatical), I couldn't resist reading up on what advice the students are getting about how to write them. Pretty solid stuff on essay writing, with numerous examples included and useful commentary in the margins re what makes them good essays.

Includes a chapter on securing letters of reference that I'm glad my students seem not to have read or at least not taken to heart -- interrogate the recommender regarding what s/he
Aug 05, 2011 Liana rated it really liked it
Some of the speech was a little elitist, but if it's for grad school, then I guess it's fitting. The author provides very helpful tips. If once I was lost, this book got me found. I credit this book for giving me that extra push to get into a Master's Library Science program, and hopefully I'll be admitted to a couple more before the year is up.
Austin Bertrand
Apr 15, 2016 Austin Bertrand rated it it was amazing
This book was exactly what I thought was and more. I found it instrumental in writing my statement of purpose for UMass Boston. I will admit that the first few chapters are not directly about writing the essay. The first few chapters are about choosing your program, managing the application process and a few clever tips on how to pay for graduate school. But there were some very solid tips in the third chapter regarding the application in general. What I really loved about this book was that it ...more
Julie Shuff
Jun 28, 2016 Julie Shuff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was either a strong 3.5 or a low 4. Having previously worked in an MBA admissions office, I felt that much of the information was common sense. The book is a bit general as well, which is the danger of trying to appeal to a broad audience. As I am intending to apply to a school in the social sciences, I skimmed some of the highly technical science samples. Another drawback to the book has been noted by other reviewers, that many of the examples are those individuals from extremely uniq ...more
This book explains why it is important to go to grad school, who should go, how you should plan your application process, and of course it guides you through writing your essay.

I think one thing many may overlook is the fact the book covers a lot beyond just essays. It addresses issues like communications with the faculty and department before you apply, while the application is being reviewed, and discussions you should have with your recommendation writers. This book covers many, many useful t
I tried using this for essays a couple of times. My professors tore apart each essay I wrote using this as an instruction manual. Ones that I just wrote from the heart turned out great and I was accepted. Ditch this book and move on.
Aug 23, 2014 Ada rated it really liked it
this book is an essential. but do not buy the kindle version because, as with any text on a screen, it's quite hard to take in page to page.
I'm not rating this because I didn't actually sit down and read the whole thing, just perished mostly. I will say there seems to be the odd assumptions on recommender advice. I already had mine picked, but he seems to assume students go back to grad school right after undergrad which isn't always the case. Mostly I found the essays helpful in getting me in the write frame of writing style and also gave me some interesting ideas on how to open up the essay and avoid the more formulaic tendencies, ...more
Mar 15, 2013 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a good jumping off point for me to begin the application essay writing process. The samples that were provided were great, even though only one or two directly related to programs that I was applying for. I reread parts of the book several times while I was writing and rewriting my essays, and I think that it served me well. It was a good text to get the thought process moving. And I was accepted to top master's programs in my field, so I would say it helped!
Feb 19, 2013 Luisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
This book gave some good ideas for writing strong admissions essays. The sections with different tips for applying to different types of programs were very helpful. A lot of the book focuses on how to research different programs and find ones that are right for you, so if you've already identified the schools you're applying to, those parts won't be relevant, but there's still a lot of good stuff in here.
Jovia Nierenberg
Excellent explanation of the graduate admissions process and the strategies one can use to get in. Writing exercises prior to working on the first draft of the essay are helpful. Worth every penny for anyone applying to grad school.
Sep 01, 2011 Savanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academic-y
This is a great book! It has great writing exercises to help you start brainstorming for your personal statement. I recommend this to anyone when they ask for advice writing a personal statement for any program.
Jan 09, 2011 Alyssa rated it liked it
I still have to finish writing my personal statement, but this book (I have the 1991 edition) helped me get started. Probably the most helpful are the examples of essays in the back of the book.
Aug 21, 2009 Justina rated it really liked it
Great ideas and prep to write a unique and stand-out personal statement and essay for grad school.
Nov 07, 2008 Nicoal rated it liked it
provides some good prompts for preparing to write an essay or personal statement
Sep 05, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Practical and do-able advice for applying to a variety of graduate programs.
Dan Gorman
Sep 26, 2013 Dan Gorman rated it it was amazing
Invaluable resource for applying to grad school.
Jade Anthony
Mar 18, 2007 Jade Anthony rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Grad School & Fellowship Applicants
Shelves: grad_school
Worked for me!
Jan 28, 2009 Stacey rated it it was amazing
I got in.
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