Applications for Private Universities

Applications for private universities often have questions and/or requirements that you don’t find on public university applications. They often have their own distinctive questions,  special essay requirements, and allow space for a variety of other information. Sometimes universities will use the term Personal Statement for the essay that we have labelled the Statement of Purpose on this website. 

Preparing drafts of essays and reviewing an application as soon as it opens (or even in the prior year) will help you be prepared for whatever you have to write and will give you time to review, tweak, and perfect your essays. Below is a list of essay questions for various degrees found on private university websites and an example of the extra space allowed for additional information. This will give you an idea of the range of materials that may be requested if you decide to apply to a private university.

PhD in Education at Claremont Graduate University: Write a 5 page double-spaced personal statement that addresses the following questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What is your research interest?
  3. Why are you pursuing this graduate degree?
  4. What is your professional and academic background?
  5. Why CGU?
  6. Why the School of Educational Studies?

MBA at Stanford University: Applicants are requested to write two personal essays totaling 1,050 words combined.

Essay A: What matters most to you, and why?

  • Focus on the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what.’
  • Do some deep self-examination, so you can genuinely illustrate who you are and how you came to be the person you are.
  • Share the insights, experiences and lessons that shaped your perspectives, rather than focusing merely on what you’ve done or accomplished.
  • Write from the heart, and illustrate how a person, situation, or event has influenced you.

Essay B: Why Stanford? 

  • Explain your decision to pursue graduate education in management.
  • Explain the distinctive opportunities you will pursue at Stanford.

General advanced degree application at Harvard University. Applicants are allowed space for the following:

  • Explanations of anything unusual on their application: grades, gaps in work experience, travel, etc.
  • List of independent research conducted.
  • List of materials published and any patents.
  • Websites that contain examples of their work.
  • Writing sample upload.
  • Description of mathematics background.
  • An abstract of all courses taken.

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