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Wherever you are in the application process, we current students at HDS remember the discombobulating stress that can accompany embarking on the massive undertaking of applying to graduate school. Below is some of the advice we wished we would have known as we clicked “Begin an application” on the HDS website

We asked ourselves: What advice would you give to students starting to fill out an application to HDS? You’ll find some common themes: give yourself plenty of time, have compassion for yourself and patience with the process, and seek out people you trust to serve as an extra set of eyes on your work. Most of all, remember: it’s a process!

Danube Johnson, 1st year MTS:

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“Give yourself time. And by that I mean start as soon as possible, and don’t rush. I was shocked by how many Statement of Purpose drafts I went through. But it was nice knowing I had so much time to trash the drafts that seemed brilliant to me the day prior, for example. Applications ask us to perform very emotionally/mentally taxing reflections about who we are and what we’ve done with our lives up until that point in time. So, you need time to let that reflection happen.”

Xavier Montecel, 2nd year MTS:

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“Start with the statement of purpose. It is the most important part of your application, hands down. Ask trusted mentors to revise it, and go through a couple of drafts at least.”

Martha Meilleur, 1st year MDiv:

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“Do your due diligence–research HDS, identify professors and courses you are drawn to, and articulate how you would fit in here.”

Rod Owens, 1st year MDiv: 

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“I would say to start now and spend a little time each day working on your essays and studying for the GRE. It is also a good idea to have people help in proofreading and editing your essays. Well written essays are very important in the application process. I would also advise to really research the program you are applying to and have a sense of exactly what your goals are and how the program can help you meet your goals.”

Cody Musselman, 2nd year MTS:

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“Just write down all of the ideas that you have regarding the written portion of the application. Come back to it later and edit, edit, edit. Do not feel pressured to write a perfect essay the first time around.”