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Make a Statement!

In one form or another, somewhere along the way, you are going to have to write a long paragraph (or five) about what your scientific goals are and why you think you're special enough to go to gradschool.

They want to know why you think it's necessary for you get their PhD. I mean, why not just get a job right out to college and start making two or three times the money they're willing to pay you?  The list of reasons is endless, but choose the ones that compel you the most. Is it that you want to be a professor? A buisness scientist? An obsessive recluse? All excellent reasons to become Dr. You! Tell them all about what interests you about science, and why their program appeals to your nature.

Let them know you've at least read their website, but do it by talking about what attracted you to their program. The words "By the way, I read your website, I guess" aren't exactly a what they're listening for--but if you say them, make sure they're followed by a big, impressive "AND".

That just leaves qualifications. Research experience, research experience, research experience. Make sure to tell them about all that research experience you've been getting! (Even if it isn't very much.) You're letting them know that you're so interested in doing research that you just couldn't wait for them to show you how to do it! The more of this the better, and don't leave out any inspirational moments or lessons learned along the way.

If you haven't done any undergraduate research, don't give up; maybe you've done other things. Your spirit is strong! I believe that you know why you want to go to graduate school, and you've probably done some things to get ready for it. Just write from your heart, and please, please, please use proper grammar.