Writing Your Statement of Purpose

Writing Your Statement of Purpose
An essential piece of the graduate school application puzzle is your Statement of Purpose. The Statement of Purpose is the part of the application process where you get to tell the school what your goals are, why you are pursuing the path that you are on, what is unique about you and why they should want you in their graduate school program. When you think about how many applications the decision board reviews each year, the Statement of Purpose is the perfect opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

There are a lot of resources available on the internet on this topic and a quick search will bring up dozens of websites with samples. If you decide to look at Statement of Purpose samples make sure that you do not use one of the samples as your letter. Not only is this plagiarism but it will also defeat your purpose of standing out to the admissions committee as a unique candidate because the samples are generic. Use samples only as a tool to jump start your brainstorming process if you are having trouble getting started.

In your Statement of Purpose you want to tell the school about you, about why you are applying to graduate school and about what you want to do after you graduate. What is your intent with going to graduate school? Is it to teach later? If so, why do you want to teach? If you are applying to a business program how are you going to utilize your graduate education in your career? If you want to go into research, what has influenced that decision? Be specific about what has brought you to this point and where you want to go from here. A generic and general Statement of Purpose is not going to help you stand out in the crowd of applicants. Also, you will have to decide if just stating these things as facts or telling these through stories is the best way to make the best impression you can. Remember, the Statement of Purpose is your chance to tell the admissions committee about yourself.

To get started, brainstorm ideas of what should go into your statement. Jot down a list of reasons why you want to further your education and why you are applying to the specific schools that you are applying to. Be specific not only to the general program you are applying to but the specific focus or concentration. Have you worked or volunteered in the area and that sparked a passion in you? Look at the questions that the school has asked you to answer in your Statement of Purpose and use that as a guide. Take advantage of this opportunity to tell the part of your story that cannot be told through transcripts and test scores alone. Most importantly, do not copy a Statement of Purpose off the internet or from someone you know. This is something that needs to be not only about you but also unique to you. And, of course, read, re-read and then ask someone else to read your statement. You do not want to ruin a great Statement of Purpose with silly mistakes and spelling errors. Lastly, good luck!

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