The Woodrow Wilson School’s website states: Applicants who wish to pursue a joint degree should write a brief statement that explains their interest and sets forth clearly their reasons for wanting to enroll in such a program. This statement should be approximately 500 words and should be separate from your personal statement. If you choose MPA-JD as a field of study in the application form, there will be a designated section in the application to upload your joint degree statement. If you are applying to any other joint degree besides the juris doctor, you should use the Additional Information section to upload your joint degree statement.
Be clear on why you need the two degrees:
The AdCom uses this prompt to specifically make sure you understand why you’re pursuing a joint degree. They need to hear you explain well that you can connect the dots between the two degrees of interest and between WWS and your future career path. Take a moment to really think about “the why.” If you just thought, “hey I’m already doing one degree, why not make it two?”, this may require a bit more thinking. Come up with a list of at least 4-5 reasons the joint degree is specifically critical to your career trajectory and complements your interests/background or fills in needed gaps.
Be clear and concise:
Once you’ve reflected and feel confident in the actual points of your case for why the joint degree program is right for you, it’s time to start writing. 500 words is one page single-space, so that’s not much. Your challenge here is going to be to make your point clearly and concisely. It’s always a good idea to be concise, but here you can’t get away with any long-winded explanations and run-on sentences, so it’s actually a blessing in disguise as a really hard component of the application! Remember that you should not repeat points from your personal statement.
Show that you’re a match:
Keep in mind: The AdCom wants to know why you are right for the program, not why the program is right for you. You want your 500 words to show that you are a promising peer to others in the program. Basically, you’re making the case for why you want to be in the program, but also trying to impress them. Once you’ve written your essay, read it over again with an eye towards this.
Get another pair of eyes on it:
On that note, we always recommend you ask for an outside, objective perspective to read your essays to look at content, then grammar and typos. The Art of Applying is glad to help with this! Take a look at our Essay Editing options, and other services, and respond to this post with any questions in the comments below.
Best of luck!