4 Steps to Writing a Top Tier Statement of Purpose
The statement of purpose, or what I like to call the cover letter essay because of its similar structure, is generally used for graduate school applications and focuses much more on describing the skills, experiences and education that has prepared you for the program you’re applying to than a personal statement would. Its main purpose concentrates less on telling your story and more on communicating the qualities that make you a perfect candidate. Ideally, the statement of purpose should convey your genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the program of study you’re pursuing, and what you have done in the past to nurture that passion.
Here are 4 steps for writing a top tier statement of purpose:
Start off your statement of purpose by describing your motivations for applying to the particular grad school program and how it fits in with your academic and personal goals.
Next, you should communicate the subjects you’ve studied, previous jobs you’ve held, and relevant skills and certifications you’ve obtained that prepare you for the curriculum or program of study. This is the part where you really get to brag on yourself in discussing your relevant qualifications and unique skill set that ideally prepare you for success in the field you’ve chosen.
Follow that up by communicating your interest in attending the particular university you’re applying to. It’s important to articulate why you’re choosing X school or Y program at every level of education. As an example, you might state your interest in working with Prof. Baker who is an expert in an unconventional field. Admissions officers and committee members want to know that you did your research and have a compelling and personal reason for wanting to attend their institution. In this section, be sure to also include statements about what you can bring to the university’s campus and how you will contribute to the prevailing culture of the college.
Lastly, don’t forget to include in your statement what attributes and traits make you special because, yes, it matters to admissions committees what kind of person you are and student you will be. As an example, you could focus on describing the parts of your personality that demonstrate your ability to learn and think as well as your desire to collaborate and communicate effectively as a student-scholar. Colleges want to know that you possess the traits that will contribute to both your growth and the betterment of the university community. One of the important things to remember is that the best way to communicate your traits is to use an anecdote or experience from your past, that shows rather than tells what makes you a top candidate.
No matter what, remember to be authentic and your uniqueness will shine through in your statement of purpose. Otherwise, follow these 4 steps and you’ll be on your way to writing a winning statement of purpose.