Good news for graduate school applicants: The required application essay is a great way for you to share your story and your interest in Medill’s MS in IMC Professional program.
Think about it: This is your opportunity to craft your own narrative, to put into writing the kind of professional you aspire to be, to trace the steps that have brought you to where you are and to set the stage for your next accomplishments. Follow these five tips to write a graduate school application essay that stands out from the crowd.
Respond to the prompt.
The application for the Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications Professional program at the Medill school directs applicants to compose an essay that describes their interest in the program while addressing these questions:
- If you had to explain to someone what Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) means, how would you describe it?
- What experiences in your life have led you to pursue an IMC degree? What is it about Medill's IMC graduate program that particularly attracts you? How will this program help you to achieve your future professional goals?
- How will your background, identity and professional experiences help you co-create an inclusive and enriching learning experience with your classmates and faculty in the IMC program?
- Describe one setback you faced in your professional life (for example, in a job or class). How did you respond and what did you learn from the experience?
It may be helpful to begin composing your Medill professional statement with an outline addressing each element of the prompt. Create a bulleted list of responses for each and then expand your bullets into paragraph form.
Be specific and personal.
Your story is uniquely your own, and it deserves to be framed in a way that shows you as a strong candidate for Medill’s graduate program. Try to avoid descriptive cliches such as, “I am an ideal candidate because …,” which can make your essay feel flat. Focus instead on using active language that makes your passion and energy apparent to your reader.
Try to include examples to emphasize major points throughout your essay. This will help your reader connect your story to specific experiences and build a vibrant image of you as a person and a professional. If possible, dedicate some time to discussing obstacles you have overcome on your journey to this point. Admissions committees want to see candidates who have the strength and perseverance to face any challenge they encounter. You want to make it clear that you are the type of committed individual who will be an asset to your classmates and to your program as a whole.
Highlight your goals.
The best application essays are clear about what you will bring to your graduate program to enhance the experience of those around you, and what you expect to learn from your peers’ knowledge and experience. In addition, be specific about where you hope your educational experience will take you professionally. Think about where you would like to end up and detail how Medill’s graduate education will help you get there.
Are you looking to pivot your career into a particular field? Is there a specific job title to which you aspire? A concrete set of digital or other professional skills that you know would improve your performance in the workplace? Lay out each of your goals of this nature, and discuss how the Medill MS in IMC Professional program is the right one to help you achieve them.
Focus on your audience.
Not all master’s programs are interchangeable, and you want to make it clear to the admissions committee why Medill’s MS in IMC Professional program is the only one that can take you where you want to go. Research the program before you write your essay, then focus on particular aspects of the program to give your professional statement the specificity it needs.
Does Medill offer elective courses that you can’t find anywhere else? Does its alumni network feature connections in organizations or industries that are high on your list of desired landing spots for future employment? Does the faculty bring specific expertise or experience that will help you on your chosen career path? If any of these apply, or if any other elements of the program are uniquely tailored to your goals, be sure to mention them in detail.
Revise and perfect.
One of the goals of a professional statement is to frame yourself as a conscientious, polished professional. A major part of this is the attention to detail you demonstrate in the quality of your writing, through your tone and voice.
Proofread your application essay for grammar, punctuation, capitalization and word choice. Make any needed changes and then leave it for a couple of days. Come back to it after that break and give it another thorough review, this time with fresh eyes, and make the necessary edits. After that, enlist the help of a trusted friend or colleague to read it once more. A second set of eyes is often what you need to make sure you catch every lingering typo.
Ace your application to Northwestern’s MS in IMC Professional program.
With a winning professional statement in hand, now is the time to apply to the Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications Professional program at Medill. Review our admissions requirements and application deadlines, and check out our tips for requesting letters of recommendation and refreshing your resume for your graduate school application.