Sample Essay

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This applicant immediately engaged the reader with a witty and almost conversational style, then segued gracefully into a Statement of Purpose.

You'd think I would have had my fill of Indiana winters. But, here I am, applying to go back, ready to dig my parka out of storage. It's not like I've been gone long enough to forget the cold, either. In some ways, I feel as if that permacloud is still hanging over me. I graduated this past May, and I think my toes just stopped tingling a couple of weeks ago. But I can deal with the winters. I can handle the Hoosiers. I don't mind if the football team loses even more games next year.

So, why come back to my alma mater? To be honest, I'll never fit the profile of the plaid-clad, legacy-bred alum who looks back on his/her undergrad experience as "da best four years of my life." I do, however, feel very grateful for the education. I majored in English and Communication, programs which complemented each other well. The time I spent in writing workshops was productive and rewarding. Also, the validation I received—the stories accepted for RE:VISIONS, the laughter and compliments at Juggler readings— inspired me to keep writing.

I feel that your program provides a nurturing and challenging environment. I aim to develop my talent, to take more risks, and to let my characters lead me, and I know I can work toward these goals in a graduate workshop setting with fewer distractions and a more committed community. I learned quite a bit from [faculty name]. He made me question certain decisions but resisted the temptation to lecture or exert too strong an influence. I regret that I didn't get to study with [faculty name]. I think we have similar styles and concerns, Catholicism for one. A survivor of seventeen years of Catholic school, I find a wealth of material in confessionals, virgin births, and splinters of the true cross. I know I can write funny stuff, but I want to focus my wit as pointedly as she does.

Mainly, I'm looking for two years to devote to the work. I expect to be inspired by other members of the writing community and to form closer working relationships with the faculty. I'm looking forward to criticism, camaraderie, and even the cold. It builds character, so they say.

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