Personal Statement for Graduate School Writing Tips

The Role of a Graduate Statement of Purpose

What is the role of a graduate statement of purpose? In the application process, this is one of the most important essays you will write. The graduate statement of purpose defines your motivation and career goals. It tells the admissions committee what your plans are, what you hope to accomplish by earning this degree, and what your long term goals include.

A graduate school statement of purpose is intended to differentiate you from the other candidates. You have the opportunity to define your long term plans and how earning the graduate degree will impact your life. There are several important components of the graduate school statement of purpose.

  • The introduction to your graduate statement of purpose. This could be a compelling story about an experience related to your field of study. The story should show the admissions committee how you handled yourself in a challenging situation or it could be an anecdote about your decision to pursue a particular graduate academic course.
  • The body of the graduate statement of purpose will contain information about you and your experiences (volunteer, work, personal) that set you apart from the other candidates. Generally, a brief academic or professional background will lead the paragraphs in the body, then move to a description of what you hope to study and why. Remember not to duplicate material which is included in your application packet. If you have additional or new information to add to the application packet, it should be included here. Details of recent honors or awards or publications accepted or internships and promotions recently earned could be mentioned in the graduate statement of purpose.
  • The next paragraph might include information about your desired course of study and what you plan to do with the degree when it is awarded. Relevant details of your professional or academic experience could be added here. Specific details of courses you hope to take and professors with whom you hope to study are also great inclusions in this paragraph.
  • A concluding paragraph will offer your goals, both short term and long term. The impact of your graduate degree on your career could also be highlighted here. Describe the ways in which the graduate degree will advance your future plans and what this will mean to you personally.

Wow the Admissions Committee in Your Graduate School Statement of Purpose

When writing a graduate school statement of purpose, remember that the role of the statement is to personalize your application. You want to come to life on the page and to convince the admissions committee that you deserve a seat in the program. Stand out!

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