How to Write an Amazing Statement of Purpose for Graduate School
Graduate school is reserved for students with focus, determination and perseverance. To attend grad school you need to be tenacious and committed because admissions offers little space for slackers. This is why you will find that when applying to grad school you will be asked to write your statement of purpose – a statement that will convince admissions officers that you have what it takes to succeed in a post-graduate program.
What it’s All About – The Basics
A statement of purpose should focus on your personal goals and how you strive to attain them – or how you have achieved them in the past. Schools want to ensure that you are going to be successful in their programs therefore, they want students who are organized, can manage their time effectively, and know how to push themselves to be the best student they can be.
Your statement of purpose should outline who you are and how you became that person; including what led you to choose the discipline you are applying for and why you’re in it for the long haul.
Start by introducing yourself, your interests then summarize your previous experiences that are relevant to your application. Be sure to elaborate on your hobbies that have helped shape you and the academic experiences that have helped you grow as a person. End your statement by indicating your excitement for that challenges ahead.
Throughout your statement, be sure to answer any questions that are asked of you in full. Integrate your responses to questions strategically within your composition.
Every school/program is looking for something different so tailor your essay to comply with what each asks of you.
So what does it take to write a statement of purpose that will be sure to catch the attention of admissions officers?
Let’s find out:
Almost everyone who applies to grad schools has to write a statement of purpose. Admissions officers often receive so many compositions that it becomes hard to keep track and remember each and every one. That means if you want to guarantee your acceptance then your composition needs to be unique enough to stand out from the stacks.
Find a way to be original in your statement to ensure the admissions committee will remember your name.
Tell a Story
Write your composition like you would a novel. And by that we mean offer your reader with more than just facts, but literature that will evoke some sort of emotion or emotional connection.
You are a human, not a robot, so show that you have feelings. This is your story and you are the main character. Reel in your audience with a plot that explains how and why you took the steps you did that led you to apply to graduate school.
Paint a Picture
Make sure your reader understands the depth of your knowledge by incorporating measurable quantities.
Did you graduate top of your class? Out of how many students?
Did you volunteer in an impoverished country? For how long?
Numbers give a new perspective on something that may initially seem like a minor detail. Quantify your stories to ensure they’re memorable.
Be Conversational, But Professional
Avoid colloquialism at all costs, but don’t be super formal either. A statement of purpose should fall happily between a conversational tone and a professional tone.
Imagine you’re talking to a professor. What type of language would you use? That’s what an admissions committee expects from your composition. Formal but with a hint of fun and a dash of personality.
Feel free to explore some occasional humor but don’t overdo it.
Be True to Yourself
Don’t make up stories to make yourself seem more interesting. Admissions officers can spot a true applicant from false applicant in a matter of seconds.
Often times students worry their lives are “too normal”. If you haven’t achieved anything spectacular yet, don’t worry, your time is still to come. Admissions doesn’t expect everyone to be an award winning genius before they turn 25 – they know you’re applying to better your future and they want to give you that chance.
The worst thing you can do in your statement of purpose is pretend you are someone you’re not.
Be Honest, Yet Self Aware
Everyone has made mistakes and everyone has their faults. A statement of purpose is a great opportunity to show admissions officers you are self-aware. If you had problems in your educational background don’t be afraid to discuss how you overcame these problem or how you are still working on overcoming them. The admissions committee will not only appreciate your honesty but will be impressed with your ability to self-correct.
That doesn’t mean you should try and defend your issues. Instead, show your readers that you can talk about any negative or unfortunate experiences in a mature manner and explain how these scenarios have helped you grow.
Ask for Feedback
Get a second opinion on your statement before you send it off. Find someone you trust to look over your statement and ask for recommendations on how you can improve. A fresh set of eyes may help you realize a new perspective on a topic covered within your composition or may be able to point out something important you might have missed.
The professors who are writing your recommendations are a great source of feedback as they likely know exactly what admissions committees are looking for.
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