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How Do I Start?


A. Recalling and analyzing experience - write short paragraphs on the following:

1. Pick a memorable accomplishment in your life. What did you do? How did you accomplish it?

2. What sort of important activities have you engaged in? With whom? what role did you play?

3. What work experiences have you had? What was your job? responsibility? How did you carry it out?

  • Now look over your paragraphs. What skills and qualities do you see that you possess? For example, consider working with others. Were you a leader? important "team" player?
  • Looking at what you have found, you can now look for skills and qualities that will help you in graduate school. What factors stand out?
  • NOTE: You will undoubtedly have more material than you can use. This is good, but you need to make strategic choices.
B. Your career goals - write two short paragraphs:

1. What career have you chosen? What factors formed this decision?

2. What evidence shows that this is a correct choice? That is, how can you show that this choice is realistic? (Personal experience in the field is a good place to begin.)


1. Why are you interested in your chosen field of study? How and whendid you begin to get interested?

2. Why do you want a graduate degree?

3. Why do you want to study abroad?

4. What was the most rewarding class you took in college and why?
What was the most rewarding assignment you did and why?

5. In addition to classes, how else did you learn about your field of interest (e.g. books, seminars, lectures, conversations)?

6. Do you feel your grades (university and graduate school if applicable) and test scores (GRE, GMAT, LSAT, TOEFL, etc.) accurately reflect your academic ability and potential? Why or why not?

7. What kinds of academic skills (research, lab, etc.) did you learn in college?

8. Were you involved in any especially memorable academic accomplishments in college? Describe them.

9. Who or what has been the biggest influence on your academic development and why?

Career Plans:

1. What are your short and long-term career plans? How certain are you of them?

2. How will pursuing a graduate degree help you reach your career your goals?

3. What current and past work experiences have you had? What were the most important things that you learned from them?

Extracurricular activities:

1. What hobbies do you do in your free time?

2. What clubs or other extracurricular activities did you participate in during college? Did you hold any leadership positions?

3. Have you won any awards for your extracurricular achievements?

4. Have you done any volunteer work?


1. Is there anything impressive about your background (e.g. experiences, accomplishments, family history, cultural background)?

2. Did you have to overcome any unique obstacles growing up?

Personality Questions:

1. Are you responsible? If yes, describe how.

2. Are you creative? If yes, describe how.

3. Are you honest? If yes, describe how.

4. Are you independent? If yes, describe how.

5. Are you mature? If yes, describe how.

6. Are you hard-working? If yes, describe how.

7. Are you confident? If yes, describe how.


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