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Application Help Resources

For one-to-one assistance with planning and revising your application materials, make appointments using our “Application Materials Help” schedule at

Application Essays & Personal Statements

  • The Judith Anderson Herbert Writing Center offers a series of suggestions for writing Letters of Application and Personal Statements.
  • UNC-Chapel Hill’s general handout on graduate application essays walks the applicant through a very specific composing process for writing an application essay for any program.
  • Consider these suggestions for writing the personal statement from TN law school admissions directors for writing personal statements. (Most of the suggestions also apply to personal statements for other graduate and professional school applications.)
  • Planning-oriented advice from UW-Madison’s Writing Center on personal statements for PhD programs includes a suggested timeline and four subordinate pages on writing tips, brainstorming, asking for help, and FAQs. The information is generally more specific than UNC-Chapel Hill’s page.
  • Purdue OWL has more open-ended advice on personal statements, but it includes a helpful list of pre-writing, brainstorming questions, and a loosely organized collection of statement-specific writing advice.
  • UT-Austin has a short page devoted to personal statements. While not very detailed, it advises students to think like an admissions committee and gives advice toward that end, which is an important paradigm shift for graduate school applicants (and not really covered by the other handouts on this list). Perhaps more importantly, they also have a page of exercises to help students brainstorm content for their personal statements.

Specific Types of Application Essays: Medical and Dental School

  • George Mason University’s Writing Center has a brainstorming and concept-oriented approach to writing applications for health professional schools. They include a suggested process as well as a series of questions and tips meant to provoke reflection. The page also contains specific and separate information on medical and dental school applications.
  • Yale’s Office of Career Strategy has a page devoted to writing personal statements for medical school. Their approach is more process-oriented (although they have brainstorming prompts as well) and includes some Dos and Do Nots for the final product.

Scholarship and Fellowship Applications

Teaching Statement/Teaching Philosophy

  • The Center for Career Development and Academic Exploration at UT has a teaching statement subheading on their Academic Job Search page. It includes a list of brainstorming questions as well as a list of Dos and Don’ts.
  • UNC-Chapel Hill’s very thorough handout on teaching statements provides a list of brainstorming questions, a method for analyzing sample statements, and guidance on drafting and revision.
  • Cornell’s Graduate School has a page on writing teaching philosophies for academic positions. It starts out by painting the philosophy in broad strokes and gradually helps the reader figure out their own teaching philosophy through a series of Dos and Don’ts, followed by brainstorming questions.

Diversity Statements

Cover Letters for Jobs or Internships

  • UT’s Center for Career Development and Academic Exploration has an introduction to cover letters with general tips that cover the main components of a cover letter, and it contains a template.
  • UW-Madison’s guide to cover letters for one’s career, such as job applications, covers the basics of what a cover letter is and has a long list of helpful guiding questions. The guide includes four sample cover letters and formatting tips.
  • The University of Washington has a relatively short, task-oriented guide to cover letters that includes two samples.
  • UNC Chapel Hill’s handout on business letters includes specific information about job applications and cover letters and provides examples of each.

 Resume & CV Writing

  • UT’s Center for Career Development and Academic Exploration has an exhaustive guide to resumes called Vol Guide to Resume Writing. It includes a checklist, a couple pages of tips, ten pages of discussion of the content that goes into a resume, and nine sample resumes for various career or graduate school applications. Definitely a first-stop resource.
  • UW-Madison has two very detailed pages for both resume writing and CV writing. The resume page includes multiple types of resumes; the CV writing guide includes a helpful list of differences between resumes and CVs. Both pages include samples.
  • UNC-Chapel Hill’s handout for Curricula Vitae and resumes includes common headings and content for both CVs and resumes, as well as helpful advice on formatting. (However, there is no sample CV.)


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