How To Write an Autobiography for Graduate School

Students applying for admission at graduate schools often make fuss when they are asked to submit an autobiography along with their application. For them, writing an autobiography is like doing a masterpiece that they cannot afford to go wrong. Such perception must now be changed as composing an autobiography is no more than telling a story about yourself. It is no different from the first day of school when you are asked to come to the front of the whole class and introduce yourself. Okay, so there is still the catch – introducing yourself makes you nervous too. Yet remember that an autobiography is in written form, hence easier to express than the oral way.

If you have misgivings about writing an autobiography for graduate school, read these tips:

  • Make an assessment of yourself. Weigh your talents, abilities and limitations. Note down the areas where you come strong as well as acknowledge your weak points. Autobiographies are not supposed to be self-praising pieces. They should be realistic, though you need to play up more on your positive side.
  • Pick out which aspect of yourself you want to emphasize. This depends on the field where you want to earn a graduate degree from. For instance, if you are applying for admission for a graduate degree in the arts, you can choose to elaborate on your artistic side and the ways by which you can contribute to the world of humanities in general.
  • Have a unified theme for your autobiographical essay. Was there an aspect in your childhood when you or your parents discovered you have a gift in the field of your specialization, say, music? Tell the story in your autobiography and try to be as vivid and realistic as possible to catch the attention of the admission committee who will be reviewing your application. If there are more than one outstanding aspect in your life, then do enumerate them and expand each one briefly.
  • Pre-construct your article. On a piece of paper, write down your plot. Follow a story writing style to make your autobiography interesting and colorful. Make an outline based on your own style of writing – on a climax or anti-climax trend. Make sure your article does not become very dramatic, although a touching introduction or ending can yield favorable attention.
  • Relate your autobiography with your application. Try to establish a correlation between your life accounts and your desire to enter graduate school.
  • Emphasize your competency. Cite a significant event in your life in which you were able to successfully hurdle a crisis in the past. Remember, you are not supposed to directly glorify yourself in the autobiography by stating that you have always been triumphant in life. Mention the ups and downs, the successes as well as the failures. However when you do mention your failures, try to come up with a redeeming statement in the end, expressing your intention to use a different and more sensible approach should you go through them again.

After you have written your autobiography, seek the opinion of others by letting them read your exposition. If possible, ask people who are usually objective in giving opinions. After gathering their reactions, revise your autobiography based on some of the points the readers have pointed out. Be sure, however, to maintain your own conviction. After all, the best opinion there is about yourself, is your own.


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