Your statement of purpose psychology should contain information about your background, both academic and clinical/research. While these aspects need to be addressed, it is imperative that you present them in a way that will set you apart from the crowd. This can seem difficult or even impossible to do with so many applicants having accomplishments that are nearly identical to your own. However, admissions officers know this. They’re not expecting something radically different, and – in fact – that can actually be a detriment to your statement of purpose psychology.
Instead, the way that admissions officers want you to use your statement of purpose psychology to set yourself apart from the crowd is to provide insight and detail that communicate not only the events themselves, but why these are meaningful to you and demonstrate your readiness to excel in their program. Even people who share exactly the same experience will not take away exactly the same thing from that experience. And it is this diversity of perspective that will show the admissions committee that you have the ability to make a unique contribution and enrich the psychology program’s environment.
Demonstrating passion for the field of psychology and a focused sense of purpose in continuing your education is needed for you statement of purpose psychology. However, applicants to psychology programs have certain pitfalls they need to avoid. Especially if you have a clinical background, it can be easy to drift away from ‘showing’ and begin ‘telling’. Being results-oriented is imperative to let the admissions officers know that you have the organization and time management skills to manage a full program of coursework and research.
If you are looking to work with other professors before deciding on the particulars of your independent research project, let the admissions committee know which professors’ work most appeals to you and why. Have you personally interacted with any of the professors in the program? If so, include this in your statement. Should you already have a line of research in mind (or in progress), be very clear about why you feel that this school’s program is uniquely suited for your work. Show exactly how the school is a great home for your project and can offer you the guidance you need to complete your work, present it at conferences, and ultimately submit your project for peer-reviewed publication.
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