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Finding Graduate Schools in Writing: Applying to Grad School

Writing Graduate School Applications

Most graduate school applications require students to write something or to share your writing with them. So you may need to write or share one or more of the following documents when applying to a graduate school:

  • Portfolio (A self-curated collection of writing pieces (or documents) that represent your professional qualifications for acceptance into a writing program.)
  • Write a paper on a given topic (This is similar to an essay assigned in school.)
  • Writing samples (This is writing that you’ve done previously. You can revise a writing sample before submitting it.)
  • Bio (This should focus on your academic and/or professional writing accomplishments and goals within a narrative or chronological sequence, past to future.)
  • Letter (The could be a business letter, saying your application is complete and is attached. Or this could be a letter of application, meaning that the letter itself is supposed to be written with a persuasive tone. If this is the case, then the advice about "personal statements" would be applicable.)

(Other parts of a graduate school application may be defined by official transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation.)


  • Resume (This is an important and common document in many applications)
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose. (This document explains why you are applying to this particular graduate school.)


For assistance writing a resume, you may....


Letters of Recommendation

You may be asked to submit letters of recommendation. These are NOT letters you write. A letter of recommendation is written by one of your professors and sent to the graduate school by him/her/them. This letter may be confidential: you do not know what's in it because you do NOT see a copy of the letter. Or, the letter may not be confidential, meaning that your professor shares his/her/their letter with you.

If a letter of recommendation is required, then you will need to ask a professor to write one for you. You should make this request of a professor who you enjoy working with and who is familiar with your recent academic work. You should provide the professor with the audience for the letter (who the letter is addressed to) and the deadline for the letter. You should NOT pressure a professor into writing a letter of recommendation for you.

Personal Statements

Read the document (below), Personal Statements, for a brief definition of these statements and brief description about how to write one.

Purdue University's OWL Website provides excellent information:

Assistance with writing a personal statement? Email....



At times, a graduate school will require you to have a GRE or LSAT score. The GRE is a "standard" test that's required for admission applications. the LSAT is for law school, which is also a graduate school.