May 25, by Barbara Dressel Applications for graduate school include writing samples, particularly a personal statement or a statement of purpose. But what is a personal statement, and what is a statement of purpose? Briefly, a personal statement looks back and a statement of purpose looks forward.
Graduate study is not for slackers. It takes focus and determination to pursue an advanced degree. That's why admissions committees examine your statement of purpose also called a letter of intent or research statement very closely—they want to see whether you have the right stuff to succeed in grad school.
Follow these tips to write an effective graduate school statement of purpose. Know what grad schools are really asking. Different grad school programs have different prompts. Nonetheless, they're all asking for the same four pieces of information: What you want to study at graduate school? Why you want to study it?
What experience you have in your field? What you plan to do with your degree once you have it? Admissions committees look for candidates with clear, well-defined research interests that arise from experience.
With that in mind, your statement of purpose should reveal that you care deeply about your chosen discipline and that you have the background to support your ideas and sentiments.
It should also demonstrate that you're a diligent student who will remain committed for the long haul. Always answer the question asked of you. Being substantive and direct is much better than being creative or flashy. Be selective about the details you include.
They do care about those activities that speak to your suitability for graduate work. As a graduate student, you'll be called upon to do difficult coursework and research.
You may have to teach undergraduate classes within your field and conceivably even design a course. And you'll have to get along with a diverse group of colleagues who will sometimes work very closely with you. Any experience in school, work, or your extracurricular life that speaks to those abilities is worth talking about.
Make your statement of purpose unique. While it's important to be focused, there's no need to be boring. To distinguish your essay, add unique yet relevant information.
One of the best ways to do this is to discuss—briefly—an idea in your field that turns you on intellectually. It's an effective essay-opener, and it lets you write about something besides yourself for a bit.You may also want to explain unique aspects of your academic background or valued experiences you may have had that relate to your academic discipline.
The statement of purpose is not meant to be a listing of accomplishments in high school or a record of your participation in school-related activities. "The statement of purpose will provide an opportunity to explain any extenuating circumstances that you feel could add value to your application.
You may also want to explain unique aspects of your academic background or valued experiences you may have had that relate to your academic discipline. Writing the Personal Statement. your potential to bring to your academic career a critical perspective rooted in a non-traditional educational background, or your understanding of the experiences of groups historically under-represented in higher education and your commitment to increase participation by a diverse population in .
WRITING YOUR PERSONAL ESSAY (STATEMENT OF PURPOSE) The personal essay is your best opportunity to convey a sense of who you are, your academic and intellectual development, what is important to you, and why.
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