You are about to start writing your grad school statement of purpose for your grad school application. You find yourself worrying not about what you will write, but what you should avoid. You do not want to say the wrong thing to the admissions committee.
Concern over creating this very important component of your application may cause you to delay writing your graduate school statement of purpose. Don’t let it! A list of things to avoid follows. Relax and focus on the positive aspects of your application.
Things to avoid when writing your grad school statement of purpose:
- Check and double-check your grammar and punctuation. Make sure your words are spelled correctly and that there are no typos.
- Do not use colloquial expressions, such as contemporary words which are not in common usage in formal writing. (Rad!)
- Avoid contractions (don’t, can’t, isn’t) in a formal graduate statement of purpose. This statement should illustrate your best writing skills.
- Be professional in your writing. Use proper language and complete sentences.
- Avoid controversial subjects and strong opinions in a graduate school statement of purpose , unless they are directly related to your specific field of study.
- Do not write something that you would not say to a person in a face-to-face interview.
- Do not be disorganized in your presentation of ideas in the graduate statement of purpose.
- Do not forget to proofread your statement after you have finished writing it.
- Avoid “stretching the truth” in discussions of your responsibilities in an internship experience or in the workplace.
- Do not exceed the word limit indicated for the graduate school statement of purpose.
- Be candid and self-confident, rather than negative about yourself.
Avoid leaving out details of your desire to pursue the program of interest. Do not assume the committee will know why you want to pursue a graduate degree in Spanish, for example. Let them know you want to work with underserved communities in South America and need to become fluent in Spanish in order to accomplish this.
Most important of all, focus on the positive aspects of your preparation for this degree program. Your graduate statement of purpose should let the admissions committee know why you want to earn this graduate degree and what you plan to do with it in the future.
Do not worry about writing the “wrong” thing. Instead, write from your heart and the committee will recognize this. Good luck with your application!