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Tips for a Competitive Application

Competitive Graduate School Applications make an argument for admission: let all the components of your application construct that argument. We conduct a holistic review of all completed applications.  That review means that each component of the application is an opportunity and helps build your case. It is an argument the admissions committee is excited to hear.

Personal Statement
  • Understand the specific degree, program and concentration you plan to enroll in and its professional outcome(s). You may need to do some close reading of our materials, as well as independent research to understand this for yourself. What excites you about this career path? Clearly share why you are drawn to this specific program here at William & Mary.
  •  Closely read your program’s essay prompts.
  • Draft an essay that shows rather than tells your reader why these professional outcomes matter to you, demonstrating what your skills and experience will bring to the program. Your reader is excited to know why you are here, and what your unique experiences will bring to the School of Education community! 
  • Clearly share your goals and aspirations for working in the field.  Even if you do not have a specific career goal in mind yet, discussing why you are drawn to the the field can help you share your story with reviewers.  
  •  Revise the essay for length as well as clarity in both argument and syntax. Get a second pair of eyes on your writing if you can—see if the person reading your essay understands your argument and if they think your essay answers all the questions asked in the prompt. Reading the essay out loud to yourself, a few days after drafting, can let you see the areas for growth clearly. 
  • Proofread your essay to make sure that your points are clear and that names, titles, etc. are listed correctly. 
  • Make sure we have all the information—copies of transcripts from all institutions attended are required for application review. These documents are the foundation of the application.
  • Resumes make arguments too—organize your experiences to date clearly for your reader, emphasizing relevant skills and abilities. Creative formatting, especially those suggested in common resume templates, can sometimes distract from this information. 
  •  Consider your Resume and Personal Statement together. What relevant information can your resume summarize for your reader that the statement does not have time to highlight? What points made in the essay can the resume reinforce?
  • Think about who knows your current professional or academic knowledge, skills and abilities best. These are people who can argue for admission on your behalf. 
  • Make sure the people you select to write reference letters for you can speak to the characteristics you've highlighted about yourself in the application. 
  • Let your references know why you are applying to W&M—consider sharing your application materials or career goals with them when asking for a letter of recommendation. References often want to take cues from you and your goals, when you let them in on what those are, chances are the resulting letters will support other application materials well.
Test Scores

If your program requires an admission test, be sure to include the scores on your application and have the official scores sent to William & Mary.

You can take the test more than one time.  We use your highest scores.