How to Write a Statement of Purpose

Definition

A statement of purpose is a part of your application that allows you to represent yourself to the admissions committee at best. Writing a statement of purpose is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of efforts because it showcases you, your professional experience and interests. The admissions committee will make a decision whether to accept you or not based on this information. In the statement of purpose, you describe your personality, the factors that influenced your career choice, professional interests, and your plans for the future.
Usually, students applying for universities are asked to complete a statement of purpose for graduate school.

Format

As a rule, statement of purpose format is outlined in the requirements of each university or college. Besides, statement of purpose for masters and statement of purpose for phd are totally different because the goals of completing a Master’s and Ph.D. degrees are quite different as well. There are several general recommendations related to format:

  • Full name of a student should be indicated at the top of each page.
  • The proposed field of study should be written at the top of each page.
  • Brief representation of main ideas in a coherent, concise,and clear manner is required.
  • The desirable length of the statement of purpose is 1-2 pages.
  • The document should be single-spaced.
  • Times New Roman font is used across the document.
  • Font size – 12 or 14.

 

The format of your statement of purpose is important, but its content is far more essential. All prestigious universities aim to accept the students having the potential for studies and research, who could be useful for society, can participate in the research conducted by these universities and help increase their academic rankings. Therefore, you should emphasize your accomplishments, extracurricular activities, awards, sports prowess, academic interests, and career plans.

Here is a brief outline of the information that should be placed in your statement of purpose once you decided to enter one of the following educational institutions:

  • Caltech – past accomplishments, current research in progress.
  • Cambridge – current accomplishments, academic experiences, the purpose of entering, explain the choice of the university;
  • Harvard – requirements vary depending on the program, the focus on academic achievements, career plans,and personal interests;
  • Massachusetts – requirements vary depending on the program;
  • Oxford – academic interest (80%), abilities, extracurricular activities and achievements (20%);
  • Princeton – academic, personal and professional experiences, future career plans;
  • Stanford – current accomplishments, academic experiences, the purpose of entering, compliance to chosen program.

 

All universities require the submission of 100% original statements of purpose. However, you can use statements of purpose completed by other students to guide you in the process of writing your own.

Outline

Make an outline for the statement of purpose to ease your task. In this way, you will have a plan of what to write in your statement. By following each point of the outline we propose for your attention, you will cover all the  issues you need to cover to enter the university of your dreams.

Usually, the statement of purpose includes the following sections:

  • Past academic, personal and professional experiences and achievements

This section characterizes your personality and your ability to reach goals set. Most universities would like to see this block in your statement of purpose.

  • The course of study

This block shows your gradual moving from studies to the In this section, you can describe the current activities you’re involved in. The information should be well-structured and logically justified.

  • Future career

Here you can outline your future career plans and intent You may wish to relate your aspirations to your current accomplishments to show the steps taken by you to achieve your goals. The content of this part should be concise and clear.

Length

Perhaps, now you’re wondering how long should a statement of purpose be? Well, it depends on the educational institution and many other factors. In general, the length of the graduate school statement of purpose varies from 500 to 2000 words thus making 1-5 single-spaced pages. The most common length is between 500 and 1000 words.
For example, Harvard allows using 14 Times New Roman font, while the majority of universities require using 12 Times New Roman font only. Massachusetts University allows 2000-words maximum length of the statement of purpose, while Oxford, Princeton, Stanford of Cambridge accepts the maximum length of 1000 words. At the same time, the maximum length of the statement of purpose at Caltech University is 750 words. However, it’s more important to be clear and concise when stating your principles, goals, and career aspirations.

Useful Tips

Here we offer some useful tips on how to write a good statement of purpose for your guidance.

Past academic, personal and professional experiences:

  • Browse the internet for the statement of purpose template. This will give you an idea of how to write it.
  • Start with a “hook”: admissions committees hope that students are excited to study in the educational institution they are applying. Therefore, show them you’re keen to enter this university by explaining why you’re so motivated. For example, tell them that your passion for English pushed you to learn irregular verbs all night long.
  • Include research works, undergraduate theses,or senior projects you completed in the past. By including publications you contributed to, presentations and internships you participated in your personal status will grow in the opinion of the members of the admissions committee.

The course of study:

  • Be specific about the field you would like to study;
  • Describe relevant interests.
  • Explain why the institution you’re applying for is the perfect place to fulfill your dreams.

Future career:

  • Describe your experiences and interests in the field you want to study in detail;
  • Think about the resources you may need for your future graduate research as you may be asked this question;
  • Be very specific and clear when describing your future career path as the admissions committee will consider only the most goal-centered and persistent candidates.

Final Notes

Forget about modesty when completing your statement of purpose. You need to showcase your personality and achievements at best. Don’t forget to proofread your document and show it to your family or friends to get their opinions. If you know a professor working in a university, you may ask him for help. Also, you should double-check the requirements of the university before you submit your statement of purpose. Check the format and consistency of your paper. The statement of purpose is worth your efforts. You will understand it when you receive a long-awaited envelope with a stamp of the university of your dreams.

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