Advice for Applicants

As you prepare your application to the Buffalo English Graduate Program, you may want to know something about how we make decisions and what we look for in an applicant.

How will my application be assessed?

Our Admissions Committee consists of four faculty members and four graduate students. Each application is read by at least three members of the committee. Applications that are being seriously considered for admission are read by the entire committee.

Here are some specific suggestions for you to consider as you complete your application:

1   Letters of Recommendation. If possible, have a professor or neutral third party review your dossier before it is sent out.

2   The Personal Statement. This is a very important part of the application and therefore it is worth spending a considerable amount of time conceptualizing, revising and proofreading it. Keep in mind that it is the first document we read and so the first indication we have of who you are.

How do I write an effective Personal Statement?

We recommend that your statement address three points.

1   It should give us an indication of what you will pursue at the graduate level in terms of field. This can be articulated in the form of theoretical inquiry, methodological approach, specific authors, historical period (i.e. contemporary U.S. multicultural literature, Victorian, Medieval, Renaissance), and/or genre.

2   The statement should explain to the committee the reasons for your choice of field. Why pursue your intellectual interests at a graduate level? If you do not have a specific project in mind, then give us a sense of the kinds of questions that you will ask and why they are important. You can take this opportunity to explain how you became interested in pursuing a graduate degree and/or your interest in the specific field.

3   The statement should also answer the question: why the Buffalo English Department? What resources (human or otherwise) and programs do we offer that would help develop your intellectual interests?

Your statement does not commit you to a specific project. The purpose of the personal statement is to demonstrate to the committee that you can define intellectual parameters of inquiry and articulate a field of study (though not necessarily a specific project).