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D. Goal(学习目标)

When you were applying to colleges, no one expected you to be certain about your future. At the graduate level, however, you need to demonstrate a more mature sense of what you want to do, and how the program you're applying to fits in with that intended path. Although admissions officers are well aware that people's goals will change, they at least want to see some sense of direction so they can evaluate your self-awareness and commitment.

"I seek a sense of commitment, a sense of discipline, and a sense specifically of what the student wants to do. I don't think it's advisable for anyone to write that he or she just loves English literature and wants to read and write.

"People have to know what field they want or are most likely to work in, or what specific kinds of projects they want to pursue in a field."

—— Graduate English Department, UCLA

"I think the main thing is to see whether the student is aware of and has thought about the field to which he or she is applying."

—— Graduate Engineering Program, California Institute of Technology

E. Attributes of the Program(专业特征)

Explain why the particular school's unique features attract you. Again, graduate study is much more focused than undergraduate work; it's not a time for unbounded exploration. For your own sake, you need to determine whether a specific program meets your needs, and sharing what you discover with the schools can show them why you're a good fit. Do the research necessary to find out what sets your choice apart from other universities or programs.

Do not, however, waste space on empty praise. For example, don't cite the "world-renowned faculty" and "diverse student body" as your main reasons, because these are trite, obviously prepackaged points that you could say about any school. Instead, refer to specific courses or unique aspects of the curriculum, and show an interest in specific clubs or organizations.

"You really have to let the admissions committee know what it is about this program in particular that interests you."

—— The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

"It helps for the student to have done some research on the university being applied to. It is easy to differentiate an applicant who really wants to come here because of our special resources from someone whose knowledge of the program comes simply by way of the brochure we send to all interested applicants."

—— Graduate English Department, UCLA

F. Writing Ability(写作能力)

Again, the importance of writing ability varies according to different programs. A great flair for language will not get you admitted into a biochemistry program, but it's still essential to demonstrate strong written communication skills. On the other hand, you should also keep in mind that a well-written essay makes its points clearly and forcefully, so your content benefits as well.

Good writing means more than the ability to construct grammatical sentences. You also must create a coherent structure and ensure proper flow as the piece progresses. Because the process of developing ideas and putting them down on paper is so intimate and personal, all writers end up needing editors to assess the effectiveness of their product. You should consult people whose writing you respect for advice or even more hands-on help.


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