Grad Admissions 101: 4 Key Components for Your Statement of Purpose


Are you starting to consolidate your grad school applications? While grad school isn’t for everyone, there are many reasons to consider continuing your education after your undergraduate program. 

If you’re applying to graduate school, here are the 4 Key Components to Your Personal Statement. 

1. Share your Personal Growth through Adversity or Challenges. 

Stories help frame your personal statement, providing a context to the information you’re providing. Rather than simply listing out your academic achievements and career goals, your personal statement should have a narrative flow throughout the essay. Think about some of the challenges or adversity you’ve overcome. What story can you tell that will represent those moments of strength and growth? How can you set the stage for where you are now and how graduate school is the logical next step?  


2. Expand upon Your Interests. 

Along with explaining the challenges you’ve overcome, use your story to demonstrate some of your interests. Did you spend your Saturdays working at a library to pay your way through school, and now you’re interested in pursuing American Literature? Did you become an ambassador for the International Student Club, and feel inspired to pursue immigration law? Your interests don’t have to directly tie to your overarching story, but keep the narrative flow as you paint a picture of who you are. 

3. Share Your Academic History 

A lot of times, when you stop to think about the little moments throughout your time in college, you can piece together the experiences that led you to your current path. What led you to decide what you want to study in graduate school? Was it a specific professor? A course? Six weeks studying abroad in Costa Rica? Use the personal statement essay to expand on your academic internships, research opportunities, or group projects that demonstrate what kind of graduate student you’ll be. 

4. Mention Your Goals 

Think about  your motivation for going to grad school. What do you want to accomplish as a grad student? Where do you want to be when you graduate with your Master’s degree? Make a list of your main reasons for pursuing grad school, and specific ways grad school will bring you closer to your goals. Admissions wants to know how their school fits into your career and academic goals.  

Next Steps

Graduate school enables students to take the next step in their career development. From improving your job outlook to changing your career path, it’s a great option for many students. Before you start writing your personal statement, ask yourself these 4 essential questions

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