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HDS M.Div Questions...writting sample and recommendations


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I am new to this forum. I am applying this fall at two-three schools including HDS, for the 2010-2011 academic year.

It has been eight years or so since I graduated from my undergrad studies. I haven't written a lot of academic work since that time. I have, however, written several sermons.

My questions are:

*Should the writing sample be academic work, showing my academic abilities and my ability to maintain an argument

*Or should I go ahead with one of my sermons, which demonstrates more of my theological background and unique life experiences while also creating something of a coherent "argument"

Also, I have some good references, but I am concerned I may be challenged in getting academic references. My academic work is pretty good, and I graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0/4.0. However, the deparment at my former university has been restructured and none of my former professors are still there. I am having trouble tracking them down. I know HDS asks for two letters of academic reference. What would be my best approach?

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