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Hello, all! I'm still in the process of editing my writing sample, but the issue I'm trying to figure out is the writing style. The most recent paper I have is from an interdisciplinary foundations graduate course, but the professor required us to use APA. Should I keep it that way if I'm applying to a Classical Studies MA program? I've been trying to figure out if I should make it Chicago before putting it in with my application; the biggest issue I'm concerned about is that the writing sample is what the university uses to judge whether to offer the student funding or not. So, I want to make sure the formatting is done well in addition to the paper being written well. Since it also deals with disabilities studies in my paper, I suppose the APA might be okay, but I'm nervous about it. Any suggestions?
Like most of you, I'm here because of uncertainties regarding some aspect of the grad school application process. I've read every credible article I could find about crafting the perfect Statement of Purpose. I've read through a dozen examples of what is considered a great statement. My problem is this: I'm not sure if a lot of the suggestions for writing style are applicable to the kind of program I want to study. Of all the statements I read, my favorites are the ones that are conversational and descriptive. They're the ones that read like a story. But is that style suitable for every major? My favorite statements were written for history and English degrees, but I want to go to grad school for International Relations (IR). The general style of IR publications is anything but vivid. It's careful, clear, and concise. It eliminates adjectives and adverbs, replaces gut-punching verbs with their emotionless equivalents, and speaks in the stilted manner of a indifference. Neutrality is key. So, at last, my question. Should my statement of purpose be written in the style of IR--because that's the degree I want to pursue--or should it be written to captivate the reader--because I want to grab their attention and be memorable? Note: I also have to include a writing sample on an IR topic. I wrote three complete versions of my statement (1,000 words each): #1 is written like a story #2 is written more like an article in IR #3 is a combination page one is my "story"/background, and it's written like #1 page two is my reason for choosing that school and that program, what I would like to learn, from which professors, and what I want to do after graduation. It's written like #2. _________________________ #1 - colorful My bleary eyes snapped open at the flash of the overhead fluorescent lights. Seconds later, my retinas drank in the scene and clarified the unusual predicament I had awoken in. I was surrounded by strangers. Surrounded, in fact, by 10,000 miles of them. I puzzled over the shifting words slithering across the LED displays and clung to my bag. I stretched my tired legs and crept out of the narrow tunnel into my new life. My 17 hour flight to Chongqing had arrived. To understand why I was in Chongqing--and why I am applying your prestigious university--it is instructive to know the experiences that shaped me.Before Chongqing, there was Tokyo. I grew up tending to the delicate leaves of my bonsai tree and reconstructing the gnarled lines found in my calligraphy book. At 13, my hazy lifelong interest in Asia took shape in the form of an academic interest: Japanese. I was drawn to the curvy loops of Hiragana, the jagged edges of Katakana, and the serious pictography of Kanji. I promised myself, “When I’m in college, I’ll study Japanese. I’ll even go to Sophia University!” I dreamed of the day I could move to Tokyo, that bustling city lit by the grotesque light of a million flickering billboards and crammed with overworked businessmen, young fashionistas, and everything in between. On the first day of registration, I took my first step and signed up for Japanese. From that day forward, I grabbed every chance I could to immerse myself in the language. Then, seven years after I picked Sophia, Sophia picked me. _________________________ #2 - IR version My interest in Asia originates from my childhood experiences. At that time, being exposed to Asia primarily meant taking care of a bonsai tree and trying to replicate the character strokes in my calligraphy book. Today, my interest is more academic in nature. By the time I was 13, I had already decided that I would learn Japanese. I even decided that I would study abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo. Once in university, I joined Elementary Japanese, Japanese Club, and the Language Exchange Program. Seven years later, I was the sole candidate selected from my university to attend Sophia. _________________________ Thanks in advance for your help!