As part of the application, you are asked to submit a writing sample.
We use the writing sample
- to get an idea of where everyone is at with their writing and
- in some workshop and editing ativities
We may use small parts of the writing samples in workshop presentations as example or for the group to practice with. We might also provide targeted feedback on the writing sample to guide you in certain editing activities.
To make the greatest use of your writing sample, follow the following guidelines:
- 200-350 words
- This gives us enough to work with but not too much
- It's OK if this is just part of a larger piece (like the start of your intro for instance)
- Recently written by you without help from others
- (not a published paper and not something you wrote 6 years ago)
- Not edited by another person, especially for grammar
- If we do an activity highlighting all of the article errors, it won't be helpful if someone else has already fixed all of these for you.
- Spelled checked/grammar checked as you usually would
- Write it as best you can on your own.
- This way you get an idea of what you can do well on your own and where your efforts might be targeted to continue improving.
It's probably best to submit something similar to the type of writing you'll be working on- likely engineering or research writing. It can be part of a larger document (the first page of your introduction, the significance section of your proposal) or something stand alone (a conference abstract) that you are already writing or you can write something new (see below for ideas).
- keep it coherent
- ex. the first part of a section is likely easier to follow than if you took the middle of a paper
- focus on engineering/research or something related to graduate study
- choose something written in complete sentences and paragraphs (not a table of results)
- stay in the word range (200-350 words)
Examples of what you might submit:
- 1st page of an introduction
- early draft of the first part of the significance section of a proposal
- a conference or paper abstract
- section of a research paper you're working on
- section of a dissertation or thesis chapter
Example of what not to submit:
- CV or resume
- why: it's not in sentence/paragraphs
- an entire masters thesis
- a published coauthored paper
- why: it's probably had substantial editing and revision by someone else
- an essay you wrote in highschool
- why: it's probably too old
- why: it's not sentences/paragraphs and is not likely the type of writing we'll be working on
- something someone else wrote
Want to submit something new? Try one of these topics.
If you're not sure you have something to submit, consider writing 200-350 words on one of the following topics:
- What research are you currently working on?
- Summarize what you've worked on this week
- Summarize your contributions to one research project you've worked on
- Summarize the significance of one study you worked on
- What do you hope to accomplish with your research in the future?
- Why did you go into your field of study?
- What 1-4 things have you accomplished in the last month?
- What gradschool or research mishap or failure have you learned from the most?
- Explain one time when things went wrong in gradschool but it turned out to be good
- Explain your motivation for your current work
- Summarize the limitations of a project you are working on
- Summarize a research gap you are trying to fill