Alright, so now that I’m back to making this magic happen we’ve got part dos of Post-Grad School Acceptance Stuff, which just so happens to be the most important stuff of all!
4. A Personal Statement
Man oh man, this was by FAR the most difficult part of the MSU application for me. Honestly, you really need to put some serious thought into your Personal Statement. Why? Because that’s you making your case for why the Graduate Committee should pick you! In the case of my program, here were the requirements –
“The Graduate Committee wants to know: Why do you want to pursue this degree at MSU? What interests, qualifications, and, most importantly, professional goals of yours will be served by completion of this degree? How do you see the program at MSU specifically helping you to meet those goals?”
Wootah! It might not sound like too much but my personal statement was 950 words or so and it took me weeks to fine tune into a perfectly tailored testament to my abilities, my conviction, and my dedication. I’ve got a link to it here – Personal Statement. I don’t want to break this thing down too much but definitely take a look at it, it helped me get accepted.
5. At Least Two Writing Samples
The graduate committee was looking for one writing sample, of anything and one example of a single-authored academic style paper. I had been writing non-stop for Marvel.com as a freelancer so providing one sample, especially one that was actual professional writing was easy. The academic paper though? That was FRICKIN hard! I hadn’t written something scholarly in nearly two years and I knew none of my college papers would cut it so I had to write something completely new, something completely different. Luckily, I had something in mind.
I used one of my Unlimited Highlights for the first sample, this blog as the second, and my paper DC Editorial Research Paper as the third. I wrote the research paper on my own and honestly, I think it’s crap. I think the ideas are rock solid but I forgot how to write a research paper. I spent a lot of time underground in the MSU Special Collections looking at old issues of Superman and other DC comics so if anyone cares, I think I’m going to actually copy and paste my paper into an all new post if you don’t want to download it. That way it gets published and I get something else to talk about 🙂
What’s really important here though, is submitting things that are pertinent. I must sound like a broken record but if you are gearing everything to your desired field of study you’ll look that much more committed. Everything I submitted dealt with comic books. I think that was one of the strengths of my application.
6. Three Letters of Recommendation
Letters of rec are absolutely pivotal to your acceptance into grad school. They give the graduate committee evidence of your abilities as reported by professionals, and that’s huge. This is what MSU requires –
“Three letters of recommendation from professionals in a position to evaluate your potential for graduate study. At least one letter, ideally two, should come from former faculty members (or instructors) who can address your qualifications for academic course work at the graduate level and also your skills as a professional writer, or as a potential teacher if you are applying for the MA in CSLP. (If you have taken rhetoric or professional writing courses, it is most helpful to have letters from your instructors in those courses.)”
When I asked my advisor why I got into the program he told me that the college was a great fit for my interests and one of my letters of rec was amazing. I have to thank Kelly Roman for that. Luckily I’m good friends with one of my former professors so that helped to take care of my professor quota, and my last letter came from my freelancing boss over at Marvel.com. Honestly, I think those were perfect. Hopefully you guys have something similar. Work those contacts!
So that’s the end of my two-part series on my grad school application materials. Hopefully this gives some of you an idea of what it takes to apply. Obviously some schools might have more or less rigorous apps but if you’re prepared it won’t matter what they throw at you. Good luck!