What Is a Statement of Purpose
A statement of purpose is a written statement composed in the standard essay format. It describes a student’s motivation for applying to graduate school, demonstrates their knowledge and experience, and gives the admissions office an accurate portrayal of who the student is as a person. It is always useful to include long-term goals and ways of achieving them, such as graduating from school. The office of admissions does not know you, and how well you explain who you are and why you are the right person to be admitted is up to you. Your statement of purpose is the best tool for realizing these intentions.
Writing a statement of purpose for graduate school entails weaving your passion and background into a convincing story that shows your dedication to continuing your educational journey. This statement also tells what career you’re interested in and how this program is an important step for you to succeed on this path.
When preparing a statement of purpose, you should consider:
- Your college: Its facilities, community, location, core values, and how they’re a reflection of yours, and how the program of this particular school will benefit you.
- Your goals: What has driven you to seek out this program? Discuss your personal level of dedication, how much background you have in this discipline or field, and show the passion and effort you are ready to put into your education.
Graduate schools seek confident, motivated students. In order to be selected out of hundreds of applicants, your statement of purpose has to stand out from the crowd. You need to touch admissions officers with your sincerity and originality.
Not only does a statement of purpose illustrate your personality and drive to continue studying, but it also gives an insight into your writing skills. Basics like grammar and punctuation, your vision of storytelling, and your ability to sell yourself will all be evaluated by picky admissions officers. When writing a statement of purpose, keep your mind on the big picture and present yourself as a motivated student—not only in career goals but in your life overall.
How Long a Statement of Purpose Should Be
Your best bet for how long a statement of purpose should be is one page. If you feel like you need more, you can write an additional half of a page; a page and a half is, however, the maximum length you should write in your statement of purpose for graduate school. First of all, imagine how many of these admissions officers have to go through. If it is too long, they will think that you are not motivated enough to present a well-composed statement. A longer statement of purpose shows a lack of focus in expressing your thoughts. They might move on to the next candidate without even considering you. When determining the length of your statement of purpose, think quality over quantity—no longer than a page and a half.
Statement Of Purpose Outline
Below is a suggested outline, formatted to simplify the various parts of the statement of purpose. It is meant to be the meat of your statement while allowing you to fill in the rest with supporting sentences.
- Opening paragraph – good, solid paragraph outlining your overall interest in the graduate program at the university.
- What are your professional goals following graduation and why do you feel that a Master’s/PhD will help you attain those goals?
- Goal #1 (1 sentence)
- Reason #1 why a master’s will help you reach Goal #1 (1-2 sentences)
- Reason #2 why a master’s will help you reach Goal #1 (1-2 sentences)
- Goal #2 (1 sentence)
- Reason #1 why a master’s will help you reach Goal #2 (1-2 sentences)
- Reason #2 why a master’s will help you reach Goal #2 (1-2 sentences)
- Goal #3 (1 sentence)
- Reason #1 why a master’s will help you reach Goal #3 (1-2 sentences)
- Reason #2 why a master’s will help you reach Goal #3 (1-2 sentences)
(If you have 3 goals, it would be appropriate to have only 1 reason for each goal, but they need to be very solid reasons.)
3. What speciality areas will you probably be preparing yourself for?
- Speciality area 1; 1 reason why (2 sentences total)
- Speciality area 2; 1 reason why (2 sentences total)
4. Why do you think that (Name of University) can offer you what you need in a Master’s/PhD program?
- This is where they want you to tell them why you picked them out of all the other country’s programs to apply to—what makes them unique?
- Is there a speciality they offer that coincides with your path of interest?
- Is it the location that provides a unique opportunity for study?
- Do their professors have a reputation that you like/prefer? i.e. work closely with students, etc?