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How to Build a Strong MEd Application

March 1, 2024

A widening opportunity gap separates those who thrive from those who struggle, even as education leaders across America proclaim that the nation’s public schools need an overhaul to provide every student an equal opportunity. Predictably, students who live in more upscale communities have an added advantage regarding school funding. “The top-spending states spend about three times what the lowest-spending states allocate to education and, in many states, the wealthiest districts spend two to three times what the poorest districts can spend per pupil,” Forbes reports.

As a 2022 Economic Policy Institute report points out, “Education funding in the United States relies primarily on state and local resources, with just a tiny share of total revenues allotted by the federal government. Most analyses of the primary school finance metrics—equity, adequacy, effort, and sufficiency—raise serious questions about whether the existing system is living up to the ideal of providing a sound education equitably to all children at all times. Districts in high-poverty areas, which serve larger shares of students of color, get less funding per student than districts in low-poverty areas, which predominantly serve white students, highlighting the system’s inequity.” Education policy can drive remedies to these inequities, creating more equitable schools to meet the needs of all children, regardless of racial, cultural, economic, or linguistic background. 

“We must take bold action together to ensure our nation’s schools are defined not by disparities, but by equity and opportunity for all,” declared U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in 2021, announcing a series of actions designed to advance equality and ensure that schools across the country serve all students.

Are you interested in working toward a more egalitarian future for public schools? If so, you may have questions about your educational path forward. What graduate degree best fits your career goals? Will you need a minimum GPA to gain admission to a program? Do you need to accrue professional experience before pursuing an advanced degree? Read on to find the answers to these and other questions.

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Submitting Your Best MEd Application

As your first step toward a career promoting education equity, consider an online Master of Education (MEd) in Education Policy and Leadership from American University. Graduates emerge with the knowledge and leadership skills they need to bring about change from the local to the national level. AU’s online MEd prepares students to evaluate, create, and implement effective policy, fostering improved learning opportunities and transforming educational systems.

Four pillars underpin the program:

  • Systems Change to implement equitable and effective education policies and programs
  • Personal Leadership to drive collaboration, professionalism, management, and equitable practices
  • Social Justice and Antiracism to frame problems critically and analyze education policies using data and other evidence
  • Policy and Research to support the identification, evaluation, and synthesis of qualitative and quantitative data to inform decisions

Candidates for AU’s online MEd should have a solid history of academic performance, preferably with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Teaching experience is highly recommended, though not required. 

The following tips should help you as you prepare your online MEd application. 

Provide Transcripts 

Applicants must provide transcripts from all institutions where they received college credit. AU accepts unofficial transcripts during the application process, with official transcripts required only after acceptance. 

Submit Strong Letters of Recommendation 

Prospective students must provide the names and email addresses of two recommenders. Recent college graduates are strongly encouraged to include at least one undergraduate professor. 

Choose people who know you and your abilities, such as work supervisors or instructors. The best recommenders can speak to your academic skills (such as research and writing abilities), intellect, capacity for growth, the impact of your work, and your motivation for pursuing a career in education leadership.

Compose an Effective Statement of Purpose 

The statement of purpose represents your opportunity to express your passion for equitable education and your commitment to the School of Education at American University’s mission values. A strong statement of purpose should be 500 to 1,000 words long; the writing should be clear and concise and tell a compelling story. Your statement should outline your career goals, unique accomplishments, alignment with the program, and leadership experience. Have someone you trust copy edit and proofread your work. 

Create a Professional Resume

Your resume offers another chance to shine during the application process. You can organize your resume chronologically (providing a reverse timeline of your academic and professional experience) or functionally (highlighting relevant skills and experience first). Cover all applicable skills, activities, experiences, and honors, which may include:

  • Academic history
  • Employment
  • Internships
  • Scholarships
  • Publications
  • Community involvement
  • Professional or academic awards

Click here for additional tips on putting together a successful resume.

Craft a Supplemental Statement

Do parts of your academic or professional experience require further discussion? A supplemental statement is your chance to explain. Anyone with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 must provide a supplemental statement to contextualize their record. 

Consult an AU Enrollment Advisor 

The application process for the online MEd has a lot of moving parts. Fortunately, trained professionals are standing by to guide you. Consult with an enrollment advisor (EA) before submitting your application. An EA can provide crucial advice about what the admissions team is seeking in applicants and how best to craft your application to reflect your strengths and address potential weaknesses. Connect with an EA by emailing or calling (202) 807-6173

Meeting Application Deadlines

Meeting the application deadline for the online MEd demonstrates your ability to fulfill requirements (important in academic programs) and puts you in a stronger position for acceptance. Applicants who meet the deadline are more likely to receive generous aid packages.

Why Earn Your MEd from AU?

The online MEd in Education in Education Policy and Leadership at American University delivers administrative skills and knowledge through its focus on policy, leadership, law, economics, equity, and research. Guidance from experienced faculty members prepares AU graduates to transform education by promoting equity and helping to create innovative, evidence-based, and antiracist programs and policies.

Your next step? Contact an AU enrollment advisor or start your online application today.

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