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Writing Sample not required-- Should I include one?


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7 replies to this topic

#1 sarahBsarah

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 08:42 AM

I'm applying to masters programs which do not require a writing sample, but you can provide one if you want.

I've been out of college for 4 years, and am applying for a different field than I did in undergrad, so I don't have a lot of good choices for writing samples. I'm thinking of including a 6-page paper that is really just ok, not outstanding (linguistically it is written quite well, and I did lots of reading for it, but the line of arguing wasn't sustained all that well), and not directly related to the field I am applying to.

Should I include this paper as a writing sample? Or just not include one at all?

Thanks!
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#2 bellefast

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 05:21 PM

Hi I am actually applying to East Asian programs this year. YAY someone else too....

Now on to your question. I think it will be important to have a writing sample especially if your scores for writing is not that well. It can show your ability to write well. However, if it is not in the field, I am not sure it will help to have it there. I have heard both sides of that argument, some say it is okay since it is a MA program and others say don't do it because it shows you didn't do research in that field before you have applied.
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#3 lotuspetal7

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 05:35 PM

i'm applying to east asian programs too! Most of the programs I'm applying to do require a writing sample, and like you my undergrad degree was unrelated (music!) so I wrote a new paper for the purpose. If you have time you might want to consider doing the same thing. I'm not sure it'll help you to submit a writing sample that's unrelated to the field AND is a paper you don't have complete confidence in. Good luck!
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#4 emmm

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 08:43 PM

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "linguistically" it is well-written. You mean it does not contain grammatical errors? Wouldn't that be a given at this level? Isn't the focus more on the argument? Is this a paper you can rework, so that you do have something that you'd be proud to submit?
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#5 bellefast

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 09:49 PM

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "linguistically" it is well-written. You mean it does not contain grammatical errors? Wouldn't that be a given at this level? Isn't the focus more on the argument? Is this a paper you can rework, so that you do have something that you'd be proud to submit?


Everyone is not at that level and that does not make you unable to do graduate school. In fact, professors to this day have issues with writing. As do you, I am pretty sure. No one is perfect. But in this field and in many others, you simply cannot submit something unrelated to what you are trying to go into so it is important for ailinna to submit a paper in the field

Edited by bellefast, 27 December 2011 - 09:51 PM.

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#6 emmm

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 01:17 AM

If you are not writing in an exam situation, there is really no excuse for submitting poorly written work. This is admittedly not my field, but I'd think a writing sample would be proofread and polished -- no? I am not claiming that anyone needs to be perfect, but this sort of written submission should be as perfect as possible. Am I really missing something basic here?
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#7 fuzzylogician

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 05:19 AM

I'm thinking of including a 6-page paper that is really just ok, not outstanding (linguistically it is written quite well, and I did lots of reading for it, but the line of arguing wasn't sustained all that well), and not directly related to the field I am applying to.

Should I include this paper as a writing sample? Or just not include one at all?

Thanks!

Everything you submit should enhance your application. I agree with emmm that submitting something well-written should be a given -- it's certainly not going to do anyone any good to submit a poorly written paper to a school that doesn't even require a writing sample so I think it should be assumed that all strong applicants will have well-written papers. Now - I'm not sure how exactly it will show that you did a lot of reading for the paper (a long reference list is not enough), if the arguments in the paper are not strong. If, in addition, the paper is outside your field, it can only do you very little good. It will show the adcom that you can write, but not that you sustain an argument about anything in your field. In that case, it seems to me like you're not really helping yourself by submitting this paper, especially since I think it's too short to really demonstrate good writing. Anything closer to your own field would serve you better than this option, in my opinion.
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#8 joejoe

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:26 PM

I think you should give a writing sample. There is no loss in giving one. An extra documents is usually not a problem however, it can be a positive thing in your part.
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