If you’re considering graduate school for teaching, there’s no doubt you’ve seen an essay requirement for admissions. Admission committees want to understand why you’d be a good fit for their program, if you have what it takes to succeed, and how you plan on reaching your career goals.
At the NYU Teacher Residency, we certainly want to understand those points and we’re also looking to see how your lived experiences connect to your desire to be a teacher in communities that include diverse student cultures and experiences. We want to deeply understand your unique reasons for choosing a career in education, especially in schools where you can make the most meaningful impact.
Here are five tips to write the best possible essays:
- Read the essay questions (and reread them) and research the Teacher Residency.
It’s important that you take the time you need to think about the essay questions in relation to the Teacher Residency. Are you applying to be a secondary teacher? Be sure you’ve read up on how content and subject areas, including special education, play an essential role in the master of arts in teaching in secondary education.
- Tell your own story.
The best story you can tell is your own. Help the admissions committee get to know the person beyond the test scores and letters of recommendation. You are more than your credentials.
Is there a specific moment you just knew you wanted to be a teacher? Did you mentor, tutor, or care for another person during another phase of your life? What impression did that make on you? Tell an engaging story. Use details, be emotive, and be specific. Emotional appeal is what connects us – and it makes you a memorable applicant.
- Be formal yet conversational.
You want your essays to be both formal and conversational. They should be easy to read so the admissions committee doesn’t get bored, but you shouldn’t write like you’re sending a text to a friend. Meeting in the middle will give you a perfect balance of professionalism and friendliness. Vary sentence lengths, avoid as much jargon as possible, and be yourself!
- Think about equity.
What does equity in education mean to you? The Teacher Residency was created with the vision that all children deserve excellent educational opportunities. This concept means that teacher residents must bring a deep commitment to learning how to serve the various needs in the classroom, including supporting students with disabilities and multilingual learners. How can your own perspective on equity weave into your essay responses?
- Get feedback.
Tell a friend, colleague, or mentor about the Teacher Residency. Explain how it’s a pathway to teaching and how it’s designed to help you make a difference with marginalized and historically underrepresented students. Ask them if your essays align with the program values and its audacious purpose. They’ll come in with a fresh perspective and useful tips to make your essays even better.
Ultimately, remember to be authentic and showcase who you are and why the Teacher Residency is the best fit for you. With that approach, you will be ready to write persuasive and successful essays for admission.