Representatives from GW’s graduate schools admissions offices emphasized the importance of personal statements when applying to graduate school in an admissions panel Monday night in Ivory Tower.
Panelists included members from the Elliott School of International Affairs, the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, the School of Public Policy and Public Administration and the Law School. GW Housing Programs hosted the event which drew about 25 students.
“It is the fairest part of the application because you have the most control. It helps us protect against people who decided last week to go into international affairs,” said Elliot School of International Affairs panelist Brad Miller about an applicant’s personal statement.
Acceptance to the Elliot School’s graduate program is highly selective and Miller added that the Elliot School looks highly upon applicants from GW because they come from a strong undergraduate background and are familiar with the Elliot School’s curriculum.
Miller also said that an applicant’s Graduate Records Examinations, or GRE scores, resume and transcript are all weighted heavily in the application process. Work experience, as evidenced by an applicant’s resume, is also important considering the average student entering an Elliot School graduate program has two years of work experience.
Panelists from the School of Public Health and the School of Public Policy and Public Administration agreed on the importance of an applicant’s GRE, resume and transcript, but also emphasized the value placed on letters of recommendation and on applicants using the personal statement as a means to describe life experiences related to the program for which applicants are applying.
“Your personal statement is extremely important. We want to have a good sense as to why you are picking this program, and it lets you show the experiences that led you to applying to this particular program” said School of Public Health and Health Sciences panelist Laura Dalrymple
According to the panelist from GW’s Law School, undergraduate applicants from GW are given preferential treatment if and when they are equally qualified for acceptance as applicants with undergraduate educations from other colleges and universities. GW Law School panelist Matthew Pollack warned applicants of frequently made personal statement errors.
“Common mistakes include narrating your resume in a personal statement” Pollack said. “We are looking for character adding depth to the application.”
Neerja Razdan, a senior living in Ivory Tower who attended the panel discussion said found the session informative.
“I think it was helpful to have different people from different schools since I’m interested in a dual-degree program. People from (only) one school usually don’t have as much info as I would like.”