preparing a writing sample (aka I have to reread my MA thesis after years of avoidance)

14-Nov-17, 00:22
Avatar for barrowhen
posted about 5 days ago
Hi, forum! I spent some time on here years ago when I was applying for a masters but I never posted. Now that I'm applying for PhDs, I'm back and calming my nerves with the general air of commiseration on here :)

My question is: if you had to submit a writing sample when applying for a PhD, did you take a long paper written for a course related to your proposed area (or a chapter from your masters thesis) and submit it as-is?

I feel like I'm running the risk of taking it way too seriously and investing several days in revising a paper (I mean, my MA work isn't nearly as bad as my guilt-fueled memories led me to believe, but I'd still want to improve on it a little). On the other hand, since a thesis is central to doctoral work, maybe it's entirely appropriate to invest a lot of time and energy in the writing sample. No idea what the correct level of enthusiasm is here :D
14-Nov-17, 17:08
by Nad75
Avatar for Nad75
posted about 5 days ago
I used a section from my MA dissertation, introduced by a short brief which contextualised the writing. I also went through and edited it down, enriched some parts, added more secondary sources, etc. Several days is fine, :) you're right to invest the time and energy in editing it. (Mine was a qualitative analysis with discourse, which allowed for easy edits...not sure if quantitative MA section would be the same.)
14-Nov-17, 17:55
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 5 days ago
Agree with above - make it the best work you can without spending forever on it.


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