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Looking for grad school personal statement examples? Look no further! In this total guide to graduate school personal statement examples, we’ll discuss why you need a personal statement for grad school and what makes a good one. Then we’ll provide three graduate school personal statement samples from our grad school experts. After that, we’ll do a deep dive on one of our personal statement for graduate school examples. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a list of other grad school personal statements you can find online.
Why Do You Need a Personal Statement?
A personal statement is a chance for admissions committees to get to know you: your goals and passions, what you’ll bring to the program, and what you’re hoping to get out of the program. You need to sell the admissions committee on what makes you a worthwhile applicant. The personal statement is a good chance to highlight significant things about you that don’t appear elsewhere on your application.
A personal statement is slightly different from a statement of purpose (also known as a letter of intent). A statement of purpose/letter of intent tends to be more tightly focused on your academic or professional credentials and your future research and/or professional interests.
While a personal statement also addresses your academic experiences and goals, you have more leeway to be a little more, well, personal. In a personal statement, it’s often appropriate to include information on significant life experiences or challenges that aren’t necessarily directly relevant to your field of interest.
Some programs ask for both a personal statement and a statement of purpose/letter of intent. In this case, the personal statement is likely to be much more tightly focused on your life experience and personality assets while the statement of purpose will focus in much more on your academic/research experiences and goals.
However, there’s not always a hard-and-fast demarcation between a personal statement and a statement of purpose. The two statement types should address a lot of the same themes, especially as relates to your future goals and the valuable assets you bring to the program. Some programs will ask for a personal statement but the prompt will be focused primarily on your research and professional experiences and interests. Some will ask for a statement of purpose but the prompt will be more focused on your general life experiences.
When in doubt, give the program what they are asking for in the prompt and don’t get too hung up on whether they call it a personal statement or statement of purpose. You can always call the admissions office to get more clarification on what they want you to address in your admissions essay.
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What Makes a Good Grad School Personal Statement?
A great graduate school personal statement can come in many forms and styles. However, strong grad school personal statement examples all share the same following elements:
A Clear Narrative
Above all, a good personal statement communicates clear messages about what makes you a strong applicant who is likely to have success in graduate school. So to that extent, think about a couple of key points that you want to communicate about yourself and then drill down on how you can best communicate those points. (Your key points should of course be related to what you can bring to the field and to the program specifically).
You can also decide whether to address things like setbacks or gaps in your application as part of your narrative. Have a low GPA for a couple semesters due to a health issue? Been out of a job for a while taking care of a family member? If you do decide to explain an issue like this, make sure that the overall arc is more about demonstrating positive qualities like resilience and diligence than about providing excuses.
A great statement of purpose uses specific examples to illustrate its key messages. This can include anecdotes that demonstrate particular traits or even references to scholars and works that have influenced your academic trajectory to show that you are familiar and insightful about the relevant literature in your field.
Just saying “I love plants,” is pretty vague. Describing how you worked in a plant lab during undergrad and then went home and carefully cultivated your own greenhouse where you cross-bred new flower colors by hand is much more specific and vivid, which makes for better evidence.
A strong personal statement will describe why you are a good fit for the program, and why the program is a good fit for you. It’s important to identify specific things about the program that appeal to you, and how you’ll take advantage of those opportunities. It’s also a good idea to talk about specific professors you might be interested in working with. This shows that you are informed about and genuinely invested in the program.
Even quantitative and science disciplines typically require some writing, so it’s important that your personal statement shows strong writing skills. Make sure that you are communicating clearly and that you don’t have any grammar and spelling errors. It’s helpful to get other people to read your statement and provide feedback. Plan on going through multiple drafts.
Another important thing here is to avoid cliches and gimmicks. Don’t deploy overused phrases and openings like “ever since I was a child.” Don’t structure your statement in a gimmicky way (i.e., writing a faux legal brief about yourself for a law school statement of purpose). The first will make your writing banal; the second is likely to make you stand out in a bad way.
While you can be more personal in a personal statement than in a statement of purpose, it’s important to maintain appropriate boundaries in your writing. Don’t overshare anything too personal about relationships, bodily functions, or illegal activities. Similarly, don’t share anything that makes it seem like you may be out of control, unstable, or an otherwise risky investment. The personal statement is not a confessional booth. If you share inappropriately, you may seem like you have bad judgment, which is a huge red flag to admissions committees.
You should also be careful with how you deploy humor and jokes. Your statement doesn’t have to be totally joyless and serious, but bear in mind that the person reading the statement may not have the same sense of humor as you do. When in doubt, err towards the side of being as inoffensive as possible.
Just as being too intimate in your statement can hurt you, it’s also important not to be overly formal or staid. You should be professional, but conversational.
Graduate School Personal Statement Examples
Our graduate school experts have been kind enough to provide some successful grad school personal statement examples. We’ll provide three examples here, along with brief analysis of what makes each one successful.
Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 1
PDF of Sample Personal Statement 1 – Japanese Studies
For this Japanese Studies master’s degree, the applicant had to provide a statement of purpose outlining her academic goals and experience with Japanese and a separate personal statement describing her personal relationship with Japanese Studies and what led her to pursue a master’s degree.
Here’s what’s successful about this personal statement:
- An attention-grabbing beginning: The applicant begins with the statement that Japanese has never come easily to her and that it’s a brutal language to learn. Seeing as how this is an application for a Japanese Studies program, this is an intriguing beginning that makes the reader want to keep going.
- A compelling narrative: From this attention-grabbing beginning, the applicant builds a well-structured and dramatic narrative tracking her engagement with the Japanese language over time. The clear turning point is her experience studying abroad, leading to a resolution in which she has clarity about her plans. Seeing as how the applicant wants to be a translator of Japanese literature, the tight narrative structure here is a great way to show her writing skills.
- Specific examples that show important traits: The applicant clearly communicates both a deep passion for Japanese through examples of her continued engagement with Japanese and her determination and work ethic by highlighting the challenges she’s faced (and overcome) in her study of the language. This gives the impression that she is an engaged and dedicated student.
Overall, this is a very strong statement both in terms of style and content. It flows well, is memorable, and communicates that the applicant would make the most of the graduate school experience.
Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 2
PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 2 – Musical Composition
This personal statement for a Music Composition master’s degree discusses the factors that motivate the applicant to pursue graduate study.
Here’s what works well in this statement:
- The applicant provides two clear reasons motivating the student to pursue graduate study: her experiences with music growing up, and her family’s musical history. She then supports those two reasons with examples and analysis.
- The description of her ancestors’ engagement with music is very compelling and memorable. The applicant paints her own involvement with music as almost inevitable based on her family’s long history with musical pursuits.
- The applicant gives thoughtful analysis of the advantages she has been afforded that have allowed her to study music so extensively. We get the sense that she is insightful and empathetic—qualities that would add greatly to any academic community.
This is a strong, serviceable personal statement. And in truth, given that this for a masters in music composition, other elements of the application (like work samples) are probably the most important. However, here are two small changes I would make to improve it:
- I would probably to split the massive second paragraph into 2-3 separate paragraphs. I might use one paragraph to orient the reader to the family’s musical history, one paragraph to discuss Giacomo and Antonio, and one paragraph to discuss how the family has influenced the applicant. As it stands, it’s a little unwieldy and the second paragraph doesn’t have a super-clear focus even though it’s all loosely related to the applicant’s family history with music.
- I would also slightly shorten the anecdote about the applicant’s ancestors and expand more on how this family history has motivated the applicant’s interest in music. In what specific ways has her ancestors’ perseverance inspired her? Did she think about them during hard practice sessions? Is she interested in composing music in a style they might have played? More specific examples here would lend greater depth and clarity to the statement.
Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 3
PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 3 – Public Health
This is my successful personal statement for Columbia’s Master’s program in Public Health. We’ll do a deep dive on this statement paragraph-by-paragraph in the next section, but I’ll highlight a couple of things that work in this statement here:
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- This statement is clearly organized. Almost every paragraph has a distinct focus and message, and when I move on to a new idea, I move on to a new paragraph with a logical transitions.
- This statement covers a lot of ground in a pretty short space. I discuss my family history, my goals, my educational background, and my professional background. But because the paragraphs are organized and I use specific examples, it doesn’t feel too vague or scattered.
- In addition to including information about my personal motivations, like my family, I also include some analysis about tailoring health interventions with my example of the Zande. This is a good way to show off what kinds of insights I might bring to the program based on my academic background.
Grad School Personal Statement Example: Deep Dive
Now let’s do a deep dive, paragraph-by-paragraph, on one of these sample graduate school personal statements. We’ll use my personal statement that I used when I applied to Columbia’s public health program.
Paragraph One: For twenty-three years, my grandmother (a Veterinarian and an Epidemiologist) ran the Communicable Disease Department of a mid-sized urban public health department. The stories of Grandma Betty doggedly tracking down the named sexual partners of the infected are part of our family lore. Grandma Betty would persuade people to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, encourage safer sexual practices, document the spread of infection and strive to contain and prevent it. Indeed, due to the large gay population in the city where she worked, Grandma Betty was at the forefront of the AIDS crises, and her analysis contributed greatly towards understanding how the disease was contracted and spread. My grandmother has always been a huge inspiration to me, and the reason why a career in public health was always on my radar.
This is an attention-grabbing opening anecdote that avoids most of the usual cliches about childhood dreams and proclivities. This story also subtly shows that I have a sense of public health history, given the significance of the AIDs crisis for public health as a field.
It’s good that I connect this family history to my own interests. However, if I were to revise this paragraph again, I might cut down on some of the detail because when it comes down to it, this story isn’t really about me. It’s important that even (sparingly used) anecdotes about other people ultimately reveal something about you in a personal statement.
Paragraph Two: Recent years have cemented that interest. In January 2012, my parents adopted my little brother Fred from China. Doctors in America subsequently diagnosed Fred with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). My parents were told that if Fred’s condition had been discovered in China, the (very poor) orphanage in which he spent the first 8+ years of his life would have recognized his DMD as a death sentence and denied him sustenance to hasten his demise.
Here’s another compelling anecdote to help explain my interest in public health. This is an appropriately personal detail for a personal statement—it’s a serious thing about my immediate family, but it doesn’t disclose anything that the admissions committee might find concerning or inappropriate.
If I were to take another pass through this paragraph, the main thing I would change is the last phrase. “Denied him sustenance to hasten his demise” is a little flowery. “Denied him food to hasten his death” is actually more powerful because it’s clearer and more direct.
Paragraph Three: It is not right that some people have access to the best doctors and treatment while others have no medical care. I want to pursue an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia because studying social factors in health, with a particular focus on socio-health inequities, will prepare me to address these inequities. The interdisciplinary approach of the program appeals to me greatly as I believe interdisciplinary approaches are the most effective way to develop meaningful solutions to complex problems.
In this paragraph I make a neat and clear transition from discussing what sparked my interest in public health and health equity to what I am interested in about Columbia specifically: the interdisciplinary focus of the program, and how that focus will prepare me to solve complex health problems. This paragraph also serves as a good pivot point to start discussing my academic and professional background.
Paragraph Four: My undergraduate education has prepared me well for my chosen career. Understanding the underlying structure of a group’s culture is essential to successfully communicating with the group. In studying folklore and mythology, I’ve learned how to parse the unspoken structures of folk groups, and how those structures can be used to build bridges of understanding. For example, in a culture where most illnesses are believed to be caused by witchcraft, as is the case for the Zande people of central Africa, any successful health intervention or education program would of necessity take into account their very real belief in witchcraft.
In this paragraph, I link my undergraduate education and the skills I learned there to public health. The (very brief) analysis of tailoring health interventions to the Zande is a good way to show insight and show off the competencies I would bring to the program.
Paragraph Five: I now work in the healthcare industry for one of the largest providers of health benefits in the world. In addition to reigniting my passion for data and quantitative analytics, working for this company has immersed me in the business side of healthcare, a critical component of public health.
This brief paragraph highlights my relevant work experience in the healthcare industry. It also allows me to mention my work with data and quantitative analytics, which isn’t necessarily obvious from my academic background, which was primarily based in the social sciences.
Paragraph Six: I intend to pursue a PhD in order to become an expert in how social factors affect health, particularly as related to gender and sexuality. I intend to pursue a certificate in Sexuality, Sexual Health, and Reproduction. Working together with other experts to create effective interventions across cultures and societies, I want to help transform health landscapes both in America and abroad.
This final paragraph is about my future plans and intentions. Unfortunately, it’s a little disjointed, primarily because I discuss goals of pursuing a PhD before I talk about what certificate I want to pursue within the MPH program! Switching those two sentences and discussing my certificate goals within the MPH and then mentioning my PhD plans would make a lot more sense.
I also start two sentences in a row with “I intend,” which is repetitive.
The final sentence is a little bit generic; I might tailor it to specifically discuss a gender and sexual health issue, since that is the primary area of interest I’ve identified.
This was a successful personal statement; I got into (and attended!) the program. It has strong examples, clear organization, and outlines what interests me about the program (its interdisciplinary focus) and what competencies I would bring (a background in cultural analysis and experience with the business side of healthcare). However, a few slight tweaks would elevate this statement to the next level.
Graduate School Personal Statement Examples You Can Find Online
So you need more samples for your personal statement for graduate school? Examples are everywhere on the internet, but they aren’t all of equal quality.
Most of examples are posted as part of writing guides published online by educational institutions. We’ve rounded up some of the best ones here if you are looking for more personal statement examples for graduate school.
Penn State Personal Statement Examples for Graduate School
This selection of ten short personal statements for graduate school and fellowship programs offers an interesting mix of approaches. Some focus more on personal adversity while others focus more closely on professional work within the field.
The writing in some of these statements is a little dry, and most deploy at least a few cliches. However, these are generally strong, serviceable statements that communicate clearly why the student is interested in the field, their skills and competencies, and what about the specific program appeals to them.
Cal State Sample Graduate School Personal Statements
These are good examples of personal statements for graduate school where students deploy lots of very vivid imagery and illustrative anecdotes of life experiences. There are also helpful comments about what works in each of these essays.
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However, all of these statements are definitely pushing the boundaries of acceptable length, as all are above 1000 and one is almost 1500 words! Many programs limit you to 500 words; if you don’t have a limit, you should try to keep it to two single-spaced pages at most (which is about 1000 words).
University of Chicago Personal Statement for Graduate School Examples
These examples of successful essays to the University of Chicago law school cover a wide range of life experiences and topics. The writing in all is very vivid, and all communicate clear messages about the students’ strengths and competencies.
Note, however, that these are all essays that specifically worked for University of Chicago law school. That does not mean that they would work everywhere. In fact, one major thing to note is that many of these responses, while well-written and vivid, barely address the students’ interest in law school at all! This is something that might not work well for most graduate programs.
Wheaton College Personal Statement for Graduate School Sample 10
This successful essay for law school from a Wheaton College undergraduate does a great job tracking the student’s interest in the law in a compelling and personal way. Wheaton offers other graduate school personal statement examples, but this one offers the most persuasive case for the students’ competencies. The student accomplishes this by using clear, well-elaborated examples, showing strong and vivid writing, and highlighting positive qualities like an interest in justice and empathy without seeming grandiose or out of touch.
Wheaton College Personal Statement for Graduate School Sample 1
Based on the background information provided at the bottom of the essay, this essay was apparently successful for this applicant. However, I’ve actually included this essay because it demonstrates an extremely risky approach. While this personal statement is strikingly written and the story is very memorable, it could definitely communicate the wrong message to some admissions committees. The student’s decision not to report the drill sergeant may read incredibly poorly to some admissions committees. They may wonder if the student’s failure to report the sergeant’s violence will ultimately expose more soldiers-in-training to the same kinds of abuses. This incident perhaps reads especially poorly in light of the fact that the military has such a notable problem with violence against women being covered up and otherwise mishandled
It’s actually hard to get a complete picture of the student’s true motivations from this essay, and what we have might raise real questions about the student’s character to some admissions committees. This student took a risk and it paid off, but it could have just as easily backfired spectacularly.
Key Takeaways: Graduate School Personal Statement Examples
In this guide, we discussed why you need a personal statement and how it differs from a statement of purpose. (It’s more personal!)
We also discussed what you’ll find in a strong sample personal statement for graduate school:
- A clear narrative about the applicant and why they are qualified for graduate study.
- Specific examples to support that narrative.
- Compelling reasons why the applicant and the program are a good fit for each other.
- Strong writing, including clear organization and error-free, cliche-free language.
- Appropriate boundaries—sharing without over-sharing.
Then, we provided three strong graduate school personal statement examples for different fields, along with analysis. We did a deep-dive on the third statement.
Finally, we provided a list of other sample grad school personal statements online.
Want more advice on writing a personal statement ? See our guide.
Writing a graduate school statement of purpose? See our statement of purpose samples and a nine-step process for writing the best statement of purpose possible .
If you’re writing a graduate school CV or resume, see our how-to guide to writing a CV , a how-to guide to writing a resume , our list of sample resumes and CVs , resume and CV templates , and a special guide for writing resume objectives .
Need stellar graduate school recommendation letters ? See our guide.
See our 29 tips for successfully applying to graduate school .
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Author: Ellen McCammon
Ellen is a public health graduate student and education expert. She has extensive experience mentoring students of all ages to reach their goals and in-depth knowledge on a variety of health topics. View all posts by Ellen McCammon
100+ Grad School Personal Statement Examples
by Talha Omer, MBA, M.Eng., Harvard & Cornell Grad
In personal statement samples by field | personal statements samples by university.
In this Article
Importance of a Strong Personal Statement
Purpose of this blog post, length and format, tone and style, general tips for success, computer science and engineering, economics and finance, management and business, healthcare and medicine, environment and sustainability, public affairs, international relations and politics, architecture, arts and film, mathematics and statistics, religion and philosophy, phd personal statement examples, scholarship & fellowship personal statements, word count-specific personal statements, prompt-specific grad school personal statements examples, academic achievements and experiences, research experiences, work and internship experiences, volunteer and community service, personal growth and overcoming challenges, future goals and career aspirations, research the program and faculty, emphasize alignment with program objectives, highlight unique program offerings, overused phrases and clichés , excessive self-praise, lack of focus or organization, consulting mentors, and advisors, incorporating feedback and refine, introduction.
A personal statement is essential in the graduate school application process, as it plays a significant role in shaping the admissions committee’s perception of you. In fact, a survey conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools revealed that 64% of graduate admissions officers consider the personal statement to be the most crucial factor in the admissions process. Furthermore, according to a study by Kaplan Test Prep, a well-crafted personal statement can boost an applicant’s chances of acceptance by up to 50%.
The personal statement’s importance stems from its ability to create a lasting impression on the admissions committee.
Consider this: the admissions committee (adcom) does not know you personally. They have never met or spoken to you, nor have they ever interviewed you. They only know you through quantifiable aspects such as your GPA, test scores, and work experience. However, they lack insight into your thought processes, aspirations, background, and personal experiences. In essence, they need to connect with you on a personal level. The personal statement serves as a bridge, enabling the adcom, who are human beings themselves, to gain insight into your personality, motivations, and aspirations beyond your grades and test scores.
Time and again, adcoms at top universities emphasize the critical role of personal statements in their decision-making process. Drafting a personal statement is your opportunity to market yourself, showcasing your unique qualities and demonstrating your genuine interest in their program. By investing time and effort into creating a powerful personal statement, you can significantly enhance your chances of securing a place in your desired graduate program.
In this blog post, I will be sharing over 100 authentic graduate school personal statement examples from successful applicants across the globe who have secured admission to prestigious programs in the United States and across the world.
These samples encompass a wide range of fields, including MBA, Law, Medicine, Engineering, and Social Work, and originate from esteemed institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. You will find examples of personal statements for various degrees, including MSc, MA, LLM, Residency, MBA, and PhD programs. You will also find examples of statements written by applicants who obtained fellowships, and scholarships. By sharing these diverse examples, I aim to achieve the following goals:
- Inspiration and guidance: I want to provide you guys with a wide range of personal statement examples to serve as inspiration and offer guidance for making your own statements.
- Addressing common topics: These samples will cover all the common personal statement elements, helping you understand how to effectively discuss your academic achievements, research experiences, work history, volunteer work, personal growth, and future goals.
- Tips for success: The post will also provide helpful tips on tailoring personal statements to specific graduate programs, avoiding common pitfalls, and seeking feedback to improve the final draft.
- Empowerment: Ultimately, the goal of sharing these for free is to empower you guys to create compelling and unique personal statements that will increase your chances of being accepted into your dream graduate program.
By providing this comprehensive resource, I hope to demystify the personal statement writing process and equip you with the tools and inspiration necessary to craft a captivating narrative that reflects your unique journey and aspirations.
Personal Statement Basics
When writing your personal statement, it’s crucial to pay attention to three key areas: length and format, tone and style, and general tips for success.
It’s important to create a well-structured personal statement that adheres to the specified word count and follows proper formatting guidelines. Some programs, particularly MBA programs, might not request a single personal statement. Instead, they may pose several questions and require you to write a brief essay for each one. Such programs typically break down a personal statement into multiple short questions, expecting essay responses tailored to each query.
As a result, it’s crucial to carefully read the guidelines before you start writing, as students often mistakenly create a single personal statement and try to tweak it for various programs without realizing that different requirements exist. By doing so, they lose time and waste considerable effort and energy.
Adhering to instructions and responding appropriately will leave a positive impression on the admissions committee. To accomplish this, consider these key aspects:
- Word count: Most graduate programs provide guidelines on the desired length of personal statements, typically ranging from 500 to 2,000 words.Adhere to these limits to show that you can follow instructions and communicate concisely.
- Formatting: Use a clear and easy-to-read font (e.g., Times New Roman or Arial) at a standard size (e.g., 11 or 12 points) with 1-inch margins. Ensure your document is well-organized with paragraphs and headings where appropriate.
- Structure: Start with a strong opening paragraph that hooks the reader, followed by body paragraphs addressing the key topics, and conclude with a memorable closing paragraph that reinforces your main points. This structure will ensure a cohesive and engaging narrative that effectively communicates your experiences and aspirations to the admissions committee.
In terms of tone and style, your personal statement should strike a balance between professionalism and authenticity to effectively convey your unique experiences and perspective. To accomplish this, consider the following aspects:
- Professional and confident: Adopt a professional tone in your writing, using clear, concise language. Be confident in presenting your accomplishments without being overly boastful.
- Authentic and personal: Avoid overly formal or academic language that may make your writing feel impersonal. Showcasing your authentic self will help the admissions committee connect with you on a personal level.
- Engaging storytelling: Use storytelling techniques to make your personal statement more engaging and memorable. This can include anecdotes, vivid descriptions, and a strong narrative structure. Starting with a quote that is relevant to your story is also a good way to begin your personal statement.
Lastly, adhering to tried and tested tips can greatly improve your personal statement, ensuring you present a polished and compelling narrative that effectively showcases your strengths and aspirations to the admissions committee. Some general advice is as follows::
- Start early: Give yourself ample time to brainstorm, write, revise, and seek feedback on your personal statement. On average. Grad school applicants spend 20+ hours in perfecting a personal statement of 1000 words. Moreover, they have their personal statement reviewed and redrafted 5 times on average.
- Be focused and organized: Clearly structure your personal statement, addressing the main topics and ensuring your narrative flows logically from one point to the next. A well-organized statement will demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively and coherently.
- Proofread and edit: Carefully review your personal statement for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Use free tools like grammarly to remove any unwanted errors in your writing.
- Seek feedback: Share your personal statement with your mentors, or peers, to gather valuable feedback. I especially recommend that you show your essay to someone who has already gone through the process successfully as they know the ins and outs well. Then, incorporate this feedback to refine and strengthen your final draft.
To help you get started and see everything that I just discussed in action, here is a list of 100+ personal statement examples from successful graduate school applicants.
Grad School Personal Statement Examples by Field of Study
- Example Personal Statement Computer Science (Admitted to Oxford with Low GPA )
- Example Personal Statement Computer Science (Admitted to Stanford )
- Example Personal Statement Computer Science (Admitted to Cambridge PhD )
- Example Personal Statement Artificial Intelligence (Admitted to UCLA)
- Example Personal Statement Machine Learning (Admitted to Duke )
- Example Personal Statement Data Science and Analytics (Admitted to CMU )
- Example Personal Statement Data Analytics (Admitted to Georgia Tech )
- Example Personal Statement Advanced Analytics (Admitted to NCSU )
- Example Personal Statement Mechanical Engineering (Admitted to USC , Imperial )
- Example Personal Statement Economics (Admitted to LSE )
- Example Personal Statement Economics (Admitted to Oxbridge )
- Example Personal Statement Finance (Admitted to MIT Sloan )
- Example Personal Statement Financial Engineering (Admitted to UC Berkeley )
- Example Personal Statement Financial Engineering (Admitted to UCLA )
- Example Personal Statement Accounting & Finance (Admitted to Michigan University)
- Example Personal Statement Investment Banking (Admitted to UPenn )
- Example Personal Statement (Admitted to Georgetown )
- Example Personal Statement (Admitted to Harvard LLM )
- Example Personal Statement (Admitted to Northwestern )
- Example Personal Statement (Admitted to NYU , Duke )
- 8 MBA Personal Statements (All IVY LEAGUES )
- Example BA Essays ( INSEAD )
- Example MBA Essays ( Kellogg Northwestern )
- Example Personal Statement Operations Management (Admitted to MIT PHD)
- Example Personal Statement Management (Admitted to Duke )
- Example Personal Statement Marketing (Admitted to NYU , Cornell )
- Example Personal Statement Business Analytics (Admitted to MIT , CMU )
- Example Personal Statement Management & Analytics (Admitted to LBS )
- Example Personal Statement Project Management (Admitted to UT Austin )
- Example Personal Statement Logistics & Supply Chain (Admitted to Boston . Penn State )
- Example Personal Statement Supply Chain Management (Admitted to MIT )
- Example Personal Statement Teaching ( Scholarship US State Department)
- Example Education Personal Statement (Admitted to UPenn , NYU , UCLA )
- Example Personal Statement Education Policy (Admitted to USC )
- Example Personal Statement Special Education Teacher (Admitted to TUFTS )
- Example Personal Statement of an Aspiring Teacher (Admitted to American University )
- Example Personal Statement Residency in Internal Medicine (Admitted to ASU )
- Example Personal Statement Counseling (Admitted to Harvard , Yale )
- Example Personal Statement Psychology (Admitted to NYU Steinhardt)
- Example Personal Statement Nursing (Admitted to Duke , Ohio)
- Example Personal Statement Public Health (MPH) (Admitted to Columbia , Emory)
- Example Personal Statement Social Work (MSW) (Admitted to Columbia )
- Example Personal Statement Veterinary (Admitted to UC Davis , CSU , Edinburgh)
- Example Personal Statement Biochemistry (Admitted to Johns Hopkins )
- Example Personal Statement Biology (Admitted to JHU )
- Example Personal Statement Anthropology (Admitted to Stanford )
- Example Personal Statement Environment and Sustainability (admitted to Stanford , CALTECH )
- Example Personal Statement Environmental Sustainability and Energy Management (Admitted to Yale , Duke )
- Example Personal Statement International Relations (Admitted to Columbia , Cornell )
- Example Personal Statement Political Science (Admitted to Duke , UCLA , NYU )
- Example Personal Statement Public Administration MPA (Admitted to Columbia , Harvard )
- Example Personal Statement Public Policy MPP (Admitted to Harvard , Brown , Erasmus Mundus Scholarship )
- Example Personal Statement Architecture (Admitted to Cambridge , Cornell , Yale )
- Example Personal Statement MFA (Admitted to New School and Rhode Island )
- Example Personal Statement in Filmmaking (Admitted to New York Film Academy )
- Example Personal Statement Fashion and Textile (Admitted to Parsons , Royal College of Arts )
- Example Personal Statement Math (Admitted to Oxbridge )
- Example Personal Statement Statistics (Admitted to NCSU , Cornell )
- Example Personal Statement Religious Studies (Admitted to Columbia , Harvard )
- Example Personal Statement 1 (Admitted to MIT )
- Example Personal Statement 2 (Admitted to Cambridge )
- Example Research Statement (Admitted to JHU )
- Example Statement of Research Interests (Admitted to Scripps )
- Example Statement of Objectives (Admitted to MIT )
- Example Personal StatemenT MS leading to Ph.D. (Admitted to Notre Dame )
These essays are written by applicants who are seeking financial aid or funding to support their graduate studies. In most cases, the program does not require a separate essay or application for the scholarship or fellowship, but in a few cases they do.
Most external donors do require a separate application such as the Fulbright program.
The purpose of these essays is to convince the selection committee that the applicant is the best candidate for the scholarship or fellowship.
- Scholarship Personal Statement Example (Won $250,000 Scholarship )
- Scholarship Personal Statement Example (Won Erasmus Mundus Scholarship )
- Fellowship Personal Statement Example (Won MIT Sloan Fellowship )
- Scholarship Personal Statement Example 1 (Won Fulbright Scholarship )
- Scholarship Personal Statement Example 2 (Won Fulbright Scholarship )
Word Count-Specific Personal Statements have a specific word count limit, which must be adhered to by the applicant. These are often required as part of graduate school applications, where the admissions committee wants to ensure that all applicants are providing the same amount of information and not exceeding or falling short of the specified word count.
Writing a word count-specific personal statement can be challenging, as applicants must balance providing enough detail to adequately convey their story and goals, while also being concise and staying within the specified limit. However, meeting the word count requirement is essential for demonstrating an applicant’s ability to communicate effectively, follow instructions, and prioritize information.
Here are a few examples of word-count specific personal statements.
- 100 Word Personal Statement Example
- 150 Word Personal Statement Example
- 200 Word Personal Statement Example
- 250 Word Personal Statement Example
- 300 Word Personal Statement Example
- 400 Word Personal Statement Example
- 500 Word Personal Statement Example
- 600 Word Personal Statement Example
- 700 Word Personal Statement Example
- 750 Word Personal Statement Example
- 800 Word Personal Statement Example
- 1000 Word Personal Statement Example
Prompt specific personal statements are statements that are tailored to answer a specific question or prompt in a personal statement. These statements are typically used in graduate school applications, especially MBA apps. These essays usually have a word-limit as well.
The purpose of a question specific personal statement is to demonstrate to the admissions committee that the applicant has the skills, knowledge, and experience required to succeed in the program. By directly addressing the prompt or question, the applicant can provide a focused and coherent response that highlights their relevant qualities and accomplishments.
For example, if a prompt asks an applicant to discuss their leadership experience, a question specific personal statement would focus on describing specific instances where the applicant demonstrated leadership skills and qualities, such as problem-solving, decision-making, and effective communication.
Here are some samples on Question or Prompt Specific Personal Statements.
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement on Career Goals
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement on Values that have Influenced You
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement on Leadership
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement on 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement on Describe a Challenge you Faced and How you Overcame it?
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement on My Passion in Life
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement on Why do you want to become a doctor?
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement Example 1 ( Responses to 6 Prompts for Fellowship)
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement Example 2 ( Responses to 5 Prompts for Duke)
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement Example 3 ( Responses to 3 Prompts for MIT)
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement Example 4 ( Responses to 4 Prompts for LBS)
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement Example 5 ( Responses to 4 Prompts for UC Berkeley)
- Prompt-specific Personal Statement Example 6 ( Responses to 4 Prompts for MIT)
Addressing Common Personal Statement Components
In this section, I will explore the various components that commonly make up a well-rounded personal statement.I have also discussed these in a lot more detail in a blog post here . In that post, I have also shared various examples of personal statements that show how you can put these components in an essay form. Furthermore, that blog post also introduces an 8-point framework designed to assist you in evaluating and rating your personal statement draft.
When applying for graduate programs that are academic in nature, such as PhD, Master of Science, or Master of Arts, it’s essential to emphasize your academic achievements and experiences in your personal statement. To effectively showcase your educational background, you can do the following:
- Highlight relevant coursework: Discuss courses that have prepared you for graduate study and demonstrate your passion for the subject.
- Showcase your academic accomplishments: Mention awards, honors, high GPA, or scholarships you’ve received, and explain their significance.
- Share influential academic experiences: Describe any conferences, workshops, or seminars you’ve attended, and explain how they’ve shaped your understanding of your field.
When applying for research-oriented programs such as PhD, post-doc, or research-based masters, it’s crucial to emphasize your research background, experiences, and achievements in your personal statement. To effectively highlight your research accomplishments, consider including the following in your personal statement:
- Describe your research projects: Outline the relevant research you’ve conducted, including the objectives, methodology, and results.
- Emphasize your role: Detail your specific contributions (co-contributor, co-author, lead researcher) to the research project, highlighting your skills and expertise.
- Discuss the impact: Explain how your research has contributed to the field (maybe you got published in a journal, got a patent or published a white paper). You can also discuss how it influenced your career goals.
When composing your personal statement, it’s a good idea to show your work and internship experiences, as they highlight your practical skills and dedication to your chosen field. These experiences are especially significant for those applying to professional programs such as MBA, Project Management, and Masters in Engineering.
However, they can also add considerable value to applications for academic or research-based programs. To effectively emphasize your work experiences and their relevance to your graduate studies, take into account the following aspects:
- Detail relevant experiences: Discuss any internships, part-time jobs, or full-time positions related to your field, highlighting the skills you’ve gained.
- Demonstrate transferable skills: Show how your work experience has equipped you with valuable skills (e.g., teamwork, leadership, problem-solving) that can be applied to your graduate studies.
- Share meaningful moments: Describe any significant projects, accomplishments, or challenges you’ve encountered during your work experience that have shaped your perspective or goals.
In your personal statement, highlighting your volunteer and community service experiences can be a valuable addition, particularly for programs that emphasize social impact or community engagement, such as social work, public health, or education.
These experiences demonstrate your commitment to making a difference, and they showcase your ability to apply the skills and knowledge gained in real-world situations. Additionally, they reflect your extroverted nature, openness to new ideas, and willingness to engage with people from diverse backgrounds.
Emphasizing your involvement in volunteer work and community service not only reveals your personal growth and alignment with your field of study but also highlights your ability to work collaboratively, appreciate different perspectives, and contribute positively to society. To give you some idea, you can demonstrate your service to the community by doing the following in your personal statement:
- Showcase your involvement: Discuss volunteer work, community service, or extracurricular activities you’ve participated in that are relevant to your field of study or personal growth.
- Emphasize personal growth: Describe the impact of these experiences on your personal development, such as gaining empathy, cultural competence, or leadership skills.
- Connect to your field: Explain how your volunteer or community service experiences relate to your graduate studies and future career aspirations.
By sharing the obstacles you’ve faced and the lessons you’ve learned from them, you demonstrate your resilience, adaptability, and motivation. Connecting these experiences to your academic and career goals will further emphasize your determination to succeed in your chosen field and your readiness for the rigors of graduate study. Here are some ideas to get you started with this:
- Share your story: Discuss any personal challenges or obstacles you’ve faced and how they’ve shaped your character, values, or motivations.
- Demonstrate resilience: Explain how you’ve overcome these challenges and what you’ve learned from the experience.
- Relate to your academic and career goals: Show how your personal growth and experiences have influenced your decision to pursue graduate studies and your future career aspirations.
Your personal statement should also address your future goals and career aspirations. You should discuss both your short-term (3-5 year) and long-term (10-15 year) goals in your grad school personal statement.
Explain the motivation behind them, and connect these goals to the graduate program you’re applying to. This will show that you have a clear plan for your academic and professional journey, and that the program is an essential stepping stone toward achieving your goals. Here is a helping hand that will assist you include this element in your essay.
- Outline your short-term and long-term goals: Discuss your objectives for both your graduate studies and your future career, demonstrating a clear vision of your path.
- Explain your passion and motivation: Share the driving forces behind your goals, showcasing your enthusiasm and dedication to your field of study.
- Connect your goals to the graduate program: Illustrate how the specific graduate program you’re applying to will help you achieve your academic and career objectives.
Tailoring your Personal Statement for Specific Schools
One common mistake that applicants make is submitting a generic personal statement to multiple programs. This can significantly reduce their chances of admission.
Universities appreciate when applicants have taken the time to research the specific program, courses, faculty, and research facilities, demonstrating genuine interest and effort.
While it’s acceptable to have a core personal statement that outlines your personal story, achievements, and interests, it’s crucial to tailor part of the essay to the particular program you are applying to. By customizing your personal statement, you show the admissions committee that you’ve done your homework.
Here I have some suggestions for you that you can use to tailor your personal statement for the specific program.
To tailor your personal statement for specific schools, it’s essential to thoroughly research the program and faculty at each institution. This involves exploring the program’s curriculum, core and optional course offerings, summer internship placement opportunities, industry-affiliated projects that are available, faculty research interests, and the school’s overall reputation in your field. By understanding these aspects, you can demonstrate your genuine interest in the program and highlight how your background and goals align with the faculty and coursework offered.
Once you have a solid understanding of the program and faculty, emphasize the alignment between your own values, objectives, and the program’s values and objectives in your personal statement. This can include showcasing your commitment to the program’s core principles, highlighting your passion for the program’s focus areas, and demonstrating your enthusiasm for working with particular faculty members on research or projects that align with your interests.
Each graduate program may have unique offerings that set it apart from others, such as specialized courses, research centers, or industry partnerships. In your personal statement, highlight these distinctive features and explain how they will benefit you. By doing this, you show the admissions committee that you have carefully considered the program’s offerings and have a clear understanding of how they will contribute to your academic and professional growth.
Personal Statement Pitfalls to Avoid
When writing your personal statement, you should be watchful of common traps that can diminish the impact of your narrative. Avoiding these mistakes will help you create a nice, well-rounded and unique story that will stand out to the adcom.
I have also discussed these in a lot more detail in a blog post here . In that post, I have also shared various examples of personal statements that avoid these traps and some that fall for them.
Here are some critical pitfalls to avoid:
Avoid relying on common phrases or clichés in your personal statement. Nearly all the personal statement templates use clichés like, such as “I’ve always known that I wanted to…”, “I have a thirst for knowledge.”, “I want to give back to society.”, “Ever since I can remember…”. These can make your writing appear as copy paste, dull and boring. Instead, you should try to be creative and unique and use expressions that genuinely reflect your own individual experiences and motivations.
While it’s essential to showcase your achievements and strengths, be cautious not to overdo self-promotion. Overly boastful or self-aggrandizing language can be off-putting to the reader and you could come across as arrogant and self-conceited. Focus on presenting your accomplishments and experiences in a balanced and authentic manner, highlighting the impact and the lessons learned from them. In short, stay humble.
A disorganized or unfocused personal statement can make it difficult for the admissions committee to grasp your main points or understand your narrative. Ensure your personal statement is well-structured, with clear coherence between paragraphs and a logical progression of ideas. Stay focused on only talking about experiences that are relevant to your field of study. However, if you want to talk about something that you feel is important for the application but is not relevant to the chosen program, just touch upon it in your essay.
Again, I would recommend you to go through this post where I have delved deeper into the things you should avoid. Additionally, in that post I have also provided you with a 7-point framework that you can use to circumvent the common pitfalls often encountered in personal statements.
Seeking Feedback and Revising Your Personal Statement
Before submitting your personal statement, it’s essential to seek and incorporate feedback. Applicants who create successful personal statements spend 20 hours on average on creating the perfect essay. You should consult mentors, advisors, and peers, to refine your narrative. This section will guide you through the process of seeking feedback and making revisions to optimize your personal statement.
Seek input from individuals who know you well and have experience with the application process. I would also recommend that you should ask feedback from people who have successfully gone through the process in the past. Their feedback can help you identify areas for improvement, and ensure your narrative aligns properly.
After receiving feedback from various sources, take the time to thoughtfully consider their suggestions and incorporate them into your personal statement. Remember that not all feedback may be applicable or useful, so use your judgment to determine which revisions will enhance your narrative. Continue refining your personal statement through multiple drafts, ensuring your final version presents a polished and compelling story that showcases your strengths and aspirations.
I hope that these 100+ personal statement examples for graduate school and all the associated tips will provide you with the inspiration, guidance, and ideas you need to create a captivating narrative of your own. As you embark on this journey, remember that dedication, self-reflection, and resilience are key to putting up a persuasive narrative. Remember, there is no short-cut to success. Good luck, and we can’t wait to see where your academic journey takes you!
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Examples of Successful Statements
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My interest in science dates back to my years in high school, where I excelled in physics, chemistry, and math. When I was a senior, I took a first-year calculus course at a local college (such an advanced-level class was not available in high school) and earned an A. It seemed only logical that I pursue a career in electrical engineering.
When I began my undergraduate career, I had the opportunity to be exposed to the full range of engineering courses, all of which tended to reinforce and solidify my intense interest in engineering. I've also had the opportunity to study a number of subjects in the humanities and they have been both enjoyable and enlightening, providing me with a new and different perspective on the world in which we live.
In the realm of engineering, I have developed a special interest in the field of laser technology and have even been taking a graduate course in quantum electronics. Among the 25 or so students in the course, I am the sole undergraduate. Another particular interest of mine is electromagnetics, and last summer, when I was a technical assistant at a world-famous local lab, I learned about its many practical applications, especially in relation to microstrip and antenna design. Management at this lab was sufficiently impressed with my work to ask that I return when I graduate. Of course, my plans following completion of my current studies are to move directly into graduate work toward my master's in science. After I earn my master's degree, I intend to start work on my Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Later I would like to work in the area of research and development for private industry. It is in R & D that I believe I can make the greatest contribution, utilizing my theoretical background and creativity as a scientist.
I am highly aware of the superb reputation of your school, and my conversations with several of your alumni have served to deepen my interest in attending. I know that, in addition to your excellent faculty, your computer facilities are among the best in the state. I hope you will give me the privilege of continuing my studies at your fine institution.
(Stelzer pp. 38-39)
Having majored in literary studies (world literature) as an undergraduate, I would now like to concentrate on English and American literature.
I am especially interested in nineteenth-century literature, women's literature, Anglo-Saxon poetry, and folklore and folk literature. My personal literary projects have involved some combination of these subjects. For the oral section of my comprehensive exams, I specialized in nineteenth century novels by and about women. The relationship between "high" and folk literature became the subject for my honors essay, which examined Toni Morrison's use of classical, biblical, African, and Afro-American folk tradition in her novel. I plan to work further on this essay, treating Morrison's other novels and perhaps preparing a paper suitable for publication.
In my studies toward a doctoral degree, I hope to examine more closely the relationship between high and folk literature. My junior year and private studies of Anglo-Saxon language and literature have caused me to consider the question of where the divisions between folklore, folk literature, and high literature lie. Should I attend your school, I would like to resume my studies of Anglo-Saxon poetry, with special attention to its folk elements.
Writing poetry also figures prominently in my academic and professional goals. I have just begun submitting to the smaller journals with some success and am gradually building a working manuscript for a collection. The dominant theme of this collection relies on poems that draw from classical, biblical, and folk traditions, as well as everyday experience, in order to celebrate the process of giving and taking life, whether literal or figurative. My poetry draws from and influences my academic studies. Much of what I read and study finds a place in my creative work as subject. At the same time, I study the art of literature by taking part in the creative process, experimenting with the tools used by other authors in the past.
In terms of a career, I see myself teaching literature, writing criticism, and going into editing or publishing poetry. Doctoral studies would be valuable to me in several ways. First, your teaching assistant ship program would provide me with the practical teaching experience I am eager to acquire. Further, earning a Ph.D. in English and American literature would advance my other two career goals by adding to my skills, both critical and creative, in working with language. Ultimately, however, I see the Ph.D. as an end in itself, as well as a professional stepping stone; I enjoy studying literature for its own sake and would like to continue my studies on the level demanded by the Ph.D. program.
(Stelzer pp. 40-41)
- Graduate School
15 Graduate School Statement of Purpose Examples That Got Accepted!
Writing a graduate school statement of purpose is tough, but we’re here to help! Review these statement of purpose examples and our expert tips to help you create your own effective essay and learn how to get into grad school . The samples come from our own past students who got into multiple top graduate schools. Note that the students worked with our admissions experts as part of our application review programs to create these statements. We hope they will serve as a starting roadmap for you.
>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<
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Article Contents 71 min read
Graduate school statement of purpose example that got 5 acceptances (998 words).
“Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.” I was 16 when I first read this quote by Mies van der Rohe, and, back then, I thought I really understood what it meant. Thinking of this quote one summer evening, as I walked around my beloved New York City, I was inspired to commit to a future in architecture. At that early stage, I cherished romantic ideals of designing grandiose buildings that would change a city; of adding my name to the list of architectural geniuses who had immortalized their vision of the world in concrete, steel, glass, and stone. It was in college that I became passionately interested in the theoretical design and engineering concepts that form the basis of architecture, while also exploring in greater detail the sociological and economic impact of architecture.
The true breakthrough for me took place in my sophomore year of college, when I was volunteering at The Bowery Mission, a women’s shelter situated in Queens, New York. The shelter was in a poorly ventilated building, with an essentially non-functioning air conditioning system. The little bit of relief for the people who stayed there was a small park nearby, a patch of green between suffocating buildings. One day when I was working the afternoon shift there in the peak of summer, I looked out to see bulldozers in the park. It was being torn up to make room for yet another building. I saw that completed building a year later – a grey block of steel that did not utilize any of the original park space. Witnessing this injustice, while learning every day about how climatology, materials technology, and engineering mechanics intersect with urban planning and architectural design, ignited a passion for sustainable design in me. [BeMo2] How can we, as architects, minimize our harm to communities and eco-systems? How can we design buildings with a view to sustain long-term energy and resource efficiency without sacrificing immediate economic viability? What are the eco-conscious solutions that architects can put forward to address the environmental changes of the 21st century? These were the questions that plagued me then and I have pursued the answers to these questions throughout my academic career so far.
A statement of purpose is an essential part of your application for a graduate program. While your academic transcripts and letters of reference reveal your academic credentials, and your extracurriculars and graduate school resume show your professional capabilities, your statement of purpose gives you the chance to present yourself as a candidate in a more well-rounded and compelling way. This is your opportunity to make yourself stand out as an applicant! Your preparation for writing and completing the statement of purpose is not unlike your preparations with graduate school interview questions — you need to leave yourself an ample amount of time to ace it.
Of course, each school is different, and you need to make sure you have checked the specific requirements of your chosen institutions before you begin writing your statement. But no matter which school you’re applying to one thing is certain: a strong statement of purpose is crucial to your success!
What’s included in a graduate school statement of purpose?
The statement of purpose provides the admissions committee with a way of understanding more about you as an applicant on a deeper level. The statement of purpose gives them the opportunity to assess your suitability for their particular program and institution. Finding the right fit between an applicant and a graduate program is crucial for both parties, and your statement of purpose is your opportunity to explain to the admissions committee why you believe this graduate program is right for you.
With this in mind, it is important to use the statement of purpose as a way of showcasing what led you to the program in the first place, and what you hope to achieve if accepted. Here’s a quick list of what should be included in your grad school statement of purpose:
- Why you are pursuing a master’s or PhD
- Why you are interested in a field or a specific program
- How you have prepared yourself academically or professionally for a career in this field
- What you will contribute to the program
- Your future career goals and how the program will help you achieve them
Here's a quick guide to the differences between a Master's and PhD
How to Start Writing a Graduate School Statement of Purpose
The key to great writing is great preparation. That is why you need to lay some groundwork before you even start drafting your statement of purpose. Here are the steps you need to take to prepare yourself.
#1 Set aside the time
Preparing and writing a statement of purpose is not a quick undertaking. Proper preparation is a commitment, and you need to make sure you are setting aside enough time to complete the steps below. Since the statement itself will also require several drafts before reaching its final form, always keep in mind that this is not something to leave to the last minute! Ideally, you should give yourself 6-8 weeks to write your statement. Do yourself a favor by getting started on your preparations as early as you can, leaving yourself plenty of time to write and re-write your statement afterwards.
#2 Research your school and program thoroughly
Whether you’re wondering how to find a postdoc program or searching for the best special master’s program for you, research is essential. Visit the school’s website and pay close attention to any mission statements or explicit values that are stated. Visit the pages dedicated to your department and program of choice to glean clues regarding their academic culture. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the research specialties of the faculty members. Make note of any faculty members whose research interests align with yours, as they could potentially serve as a supervisor or mentor. Be sure to learn how to write a research interest statement , too!
#3 Brainstorm how and why you would fit into the school and program
It’s not enough to want to attend a particular school just because of their good reputation or nice location. While learning about the school, its faculty, and your program of choice, you should be constantly reflecting upon how and why you would fit in as a member of that community. Think about what you can contribute to the school, why you want to do a PhD or master’s program, and how the program will help you achieve your career goals. These reflections will prove crucially important when you write your statement.
If you need outside help with writing your essay, you can turn to a graduate school essay tutor for feedback and expert advice.
#4 Contact any potential mentors
If you have discovered a faculty member whose work sounds intriguing to you, reach out to them to introduce yourself and your own research interests. Forming a direct connection with a faculty member could significantly boost your candidacy, especially if the faculty member is willing to consider playing a supervisory role in your work or write you a graduate school recommendation letter . A faculty member will also be able to answer any questions you may have about your common research interests, and how you could explore those further within the program.
Building these relationships now is also a good way to start networking and finding future job opportunities if you’re not sure how to find a job after grad school !
Here's a quick guide on what to include in your graduate school statement of purpose
#5 Make a list of any requirements for your statement of purpose
As noted above, every school is different, and each program is unique. Make sure you understand the specifics of what they are looking for in a statement of purpose, e.g. length, emphasis, any required formatting guidelines. The more closely you follow their guidelines, the less prone you will be to making errors in terms of structure or formatting. Many graduate schools will provide prompts to make your writing process easier. Make sure to read the prompt carefully. While these tend to be very open-ended, they can provide clues as to what the admissions committee expects to see in your statement.
The essay prompts may ask you to share something the admissions committee should know or provide you with an opportunity to explain any gaps in your application. If you want to know how to get into graduate school with a low GPA , this is where you can discuss the circumstances of your below average grade and what you’ve done to improve yourself.
If you are in doubt about what the school expects from your statement of purpose, ask for clarification from an appropriate authority at the school. Remember that each institution’s website and admissions office is there to help clear up any uncertainty you may have about deadlines and requirements. Seek clarification if you are not sure about something.
#6 Get your materials in order before you write
Before you begin writing, you need to make sure you have everything you need for your reference close at hand. Make sure you have copies of your academic transcripts and your CV for graduate school within easy reach, to help jog your memory about specific courses or achievements you wish to include in your statement of purpose. You might also wish to keep nearby any useful information you have about the program and its faculty, for quick reference when you need it.
#7 Make some outline notes
Sitting and staring at a blank page can be a little intimidating. That’s why having some useful notes can make writing the actual statement much easier! Go over your reference materials and make a short list of which experiences and achievements you would especially like to highlight in your statement. Ideally, include 1 to 3 experiences that are relevant, impactful and important to you. Note down specific examples for achievements you want to highlight. Make sure you have a clear, specific answer for WHY you are pursuing a graduate degree. The better your prep notes are, the more straightforward writing your statement will be.
After researching the program, you have an idea of their mission and culture. Think of your accomplishments and strengths in relation to what you know about the school. Do they value research? Share some of your research experiences or accomplishments from your research resume . Does the program tout the importance of community? Discuss any community service you have participated in and what you’ve learned from those experiences.
A strong statement of purpose should include the following elements in the main body of the text:
You can expect to be asked about your strengths and weaknesses in your grad school interview, too, so having a way to answer those questions effectively will help you. ","label":"Weaknesses or setbacks","title":"Weaknesses or setbacks"}]' code='tab1' template='BlogArticle'>
Statement of Purpose Content Examples
We will now take a look at each of these four elements in greater depth below, with some useful examples.
Focused Interest in the Field
Your statement of purpose also allows you to share your focused interest in the field of your choosing. In thinking about your intellectual and research interests, consider including some of the following elements:
- Problems of interest in the field that you find exciting or compelling . Introducing the contemporary problems of interest in your field of choice and why you find them intriguing is a great way of showing the admissions committee that you are familiar with the discussions in your field, and that you are fully ready to contribute to helping address those problems and issues in your own work and studies.
- Potential area of interest/research question you would like to pursue. A strong applicant knows what their purpose is, and that purpose is most clearly expressed in sharing the area of interest or research question that you wish to pursue in your studies. Let the admissions committee know what you would like to learn more about, and as ever, why. Share the paths you might wish to explore further shows the committee that are you in tune with your own intellectual curiosity and eager for opportunities to dig a little deeper. Your statement will be especially memorable if you can name a faculty member whose research interests reflect your own.
- Your perspectives and intellectual influences. If you have ever encountered a teacher or scholar that has shaped your perspectives and influenced your intellectual pursuits, feel free to mention them. If there is a particular faculty member whose work you admire at the school you are applying to, then that’s a bonus!
My interest in the Health Economics specialization option is a testament to my conviction that health is one of the most interesting and complex determinants of social welfare. In my experiences as a traveler, researcher, and student, I understand health policy to be one of the most defining characteristics of a national identity as well as the locus of key clashes between equity and efficiency. Health economic policy is the most interesting because it juxtaposes health care, in which universality and equality are perceived as dominant principles, against the rationality and efficiency considerations of an increasingly liberal global economic reality. Graduate studies in health economic policy is the ideal corollary to my academic, personal and social background. I am most keen to explore the relationship between economic and psychological models of human behavior to hopefully advance a more holistic social sciences perspective on why people act against their own self-interest when it comes to their health. ","label":"Excerpt Example","title":"Excerpt Example"}]' code='tab2' template='BlogArticle'>
Preparing for a grad school interview? Watch this video!
Academic & Professional Preparation
Your academic and professional preparation can take many forms, and that is why it is important to think carefully about the ways in which your path has given you the tools needed to succeed in the program of your choice. But note that the statement of purpose is not meant to be a recitation of your CV. Instead, the statement of purpose should be a narrative about why you took the steps you did and how it brought you to graduate school. Some examples that might apply include:
- Previous jobs, internships, or volunteering. If you gained any valuable and relevant volunteer or work experience, mention it! For example, an applicant for a public health program might mention how volunteering at a soup kitchen inspired her interest in the relationship between food insecurity and poor health outcomes in marginalized communities. You can let the admissions committee know about any relevant technical skills you’ve gained through these experiences, too.
- Research. If you already have some exposure to undertaking research projects of your own or if you have helped as an assistant on someone else’s project, sharing what you have learned from such experiences could make an excellent addition to your statement. Research experiences assure an admissions committee that you are ready to perform the necessary intellectual labor a graduate program demands. Also be sure to mention the important skills you have developed through completing research tasks! Such skills may include multi-tasking, finding and synthesizing relevant information, strengthening your communication skills through writing reports, or developing greater attention to detail.
- Teaching Assistantships. Just like the research assistantships mentioned above, a teaching assistantship that helped you gain valuable exposure to your field of choice and/or helped you to develop your mentorship skills may be worth mentioning in your statement. A teaching assistantship is valuable work experience and shows that you know how to be a team player in an academic community. Skills you could highlight from such experiences include: effective communication with others, working collaboratively with others (such as faculty and other TAs), mentorship abilities, and the ability to adapt to different learning styles.
- Relevant degrees, courses, and conferences. Single out specific courses or degrees you have taken and any conferences you may have attended or presented at that relate to your current research interests. As ever, take some time to reflect on why certain courses or conferences have proved formative for you. For example, you could discuss the importance of the specialized knowledge you gained in a course, or the public speaking skills you developed through presenting at a conference.
After spending four years as an Arts & Science undergraduate and earning a Minor specialization in Economics, I have developed strong analytical research skills, a capacity for truly critical thought and an appreciation for the universal relevance of economic investigation. My interest in the social determinants of health, and how these interplay with policy and economics, was the impetus for my senior undergraduate research project entitled, \u201cHealth and behavior: Advancing a microeconomic framework for changing decision-making in people with obesity.\u201d I was fortunate to work with economists Drs. Levi and Traut, with whom I interrogated the classical and contemporary theories around human behavior and health. In my role as a research assistant, I conducted three literature reviews, one of which was used to support the work of a senior graduate student and will be published in an upcoming issue of Health Economics and the abstract was accepted for a poster presentation at the Annual Health Economics Conference in Denver CO. ","label":"Excerpt Example","title":"Excerpt Example"}]' code='tab3' template='BlogArticle'>
Career Goals and Plans
A statement of purpose can showcase not only your past achievements and current plans, but also your goals for the future. You don’t necessarily have to know exactly what you want to do after graduating, but including these goals can show the committee that you are capable of long-term planning, and that you are eager to put what you learn in the program to good use afterwards. You can use the part about career plans to address some of the following:
- Roles you might like to pursue. If you have a very specific job in mind as your dream job, you can discuss that and explain what makes it an ideal position for you. For example, is it the institution, the location, or the mission of the job/position that attracts you? Alternatively, you can discuss what kind of role you are hoping to have even if you don’t know exactly where you will end up yet. For example, you can explain how this Master's or PhD will help your med school chances .
- Transferable Skills. Discuss what skills you hope to gain through taking the program, and how those skills could help you in whatever academic or professional career path you pursue after graduation. For example, you could discuss how your research projects strengthened your writing and communication skills, or how balancing your coursework and lab work taught you to manage time effectively. Don’t overlook the importance of “soft” skills: conferences can develop your public speaking skills, while group projects can make you a team player.
It is the responsibility of economics researchers to offer sustainable and feasible alternatives and recommendations to experts in all other fields regarding their most pressing challenges such as climate change and regulation of illegal trade. Further, the intermediary between economics research and the implementation of its corresponding results is the policy process. Because analytical research and writing are my most well-developed academic strengths, as evidenced by my GPA, undergraduate thesis, reference letters, and writing samples, the MA Economic Policy (Health Specialization) program is an ideal launch point for a research career in academia with branch points into policy work in the social determinants of health. Eventually, I want to complete a PhD. I want to build a focused academic practice at McMaster where I can help civil society, government and social enterprises understand and address \u2018wicked problems\u2019 at the intersection of economics and public health. The skills I aim to acquire through this graduate training are crucial to the evolution of my practice. ","label":"Excerpt Example","title":"Excerpt Example"}]' code='tab4' template='BlogArticle'>
Here are some tips on getting into graduate school!
Addressing setbacks or gaps
Every applicant has strengths and weaknesses, and a statement of purpose is your chance to show the committee that you are self-aware enough to know what your own weaknesses and setbacks are. In discussing these, keep in mind the following:
- Be self-aware and clear. Try to sound honest and objective instead of boastful or defensive when discussing your strengths and weaknesses. Your statement will be even stronger if you include ideas or plans for improvement for any weaknesses you may have. Proving to the committee that you have the capacity for self-growth will strengthen your candidacy, and will also assure them of your intellectual and personal maturity.
- Explain how you have improved your weaknesses or tackled setbacks. Include specific examples, when discussing a weakness, focusing on how you have improved: “I noticed that I struggled with time management during one of my undergraduate courses, and so I developed the habit of planning out work schedules for all of my tasks in advance in order to meet all of my deadlines.”
- Mention any special circumstances that may have led to compromises or delays in your academic performance. If your academic performance has been affected by something that has occurred in your life, you can explain the impact that these challenges have had upon you. Emphasize your ability to adapt and grow by explaining how you overcame these setbacks and what you have learned from them. Your resilience and adaptability will boost your candidacy by showing that you are able to overcome challenges.
When you are ready to write, take a moment to review the length requirements. A statement of purpose is typically between 500 to 1,000 words long, which means that you must make a special effort to convey as much meaningful information about yourself as you can within this relatively small word limit.
The statement of purpose should usually have four main sections, but you can avoid explicitly separating the four sections and opt for the more natural flow of a letter instead. If, however, your program explicitly asks for a certain format, be sure to give them what they ask for!
Structuring your statement
A strong statement of purpose is one that has a clear structure. You need to ensure that the information is laid out in a way that makes it easy for the reader to follow. A well-organized statement keeps the reader engaged!
The structure of a statement of purpose should follow the general structure of an academic essay:
Leave the reader convinced that you are committed to learning and growing, and that you are absolutely prepared for this next step in your academic career. ","label":"Conclusion","title":"Conclusion"}]' code='tab5' template='BlogArticle'>
Do’s and Don’ts of Graduate School Statement of Purpose
In order to avoid some of the most common pitfalls when writing your statement of purpose, review the following list of Do’s and Don’ts to make sure your statement is the best it can be:
Even a statement with the most wonderful content in the world will be a lot less wonderful if it\u2019s littered with typos, grammatical errors, or disorganized sentences. Read and reread your work many times to make sure it is cleanly and professionally written. "}]'>
Your writing needs to be clear and concise. Do not try to show off to the committee by using words that are unnecessarily obscure or too specialty-specific. Not everyone on your committee might be familiar with your research field. Always aim for clarity above all else. If you must use a specialty-specific term, be sure to define it to ensure that both you and your reader understand what you mean when you use that term. "}]' code='timeline2'>
When you think your statement is as good as it can possibly be, run it by a second set of eyes. This can be a trusted friend or teacher, or you can get professional feedback from a grad school advisor . Take a moment to check over the following checklist before submitting:
- Have you made sure your statement meets the requirements specified by the school/program? Is it the right length, in the proper format, and does it include any specific information they may have asked for? Does it answer the prompt?
- Has your statement gone through several drafts? If the answer is “no”, stop what you’re doing and commit yourself to rewriting your statement. Remember that a strong statement is one that has gone through several drafts, getting stronger and more effective each time! If the answer is “yes”, ask yourself, “Is this the best my statement can possibly be?” If in doubt, ask for more feedback.
- Do you provide examples for every claim you make? Check over your statement for instances where you claim to have an ability or experience. Have you provided clear and specific examples to back up your claims?
- Does your statement tell a compelling story? Carefully read over your statement to get a sense of the narrative you have crafted for your reader. Is it a compelling narrative, or have you lapsed into just listing random items from your CV? Make sure your statement is telling a story that gives context for who you are, not just a list of things you’ve done.
- Have you proofread your statement? Even when you’re absolutely sure your statement is in top form, you need to proofread your statement several times to make sure that all typos and grammatical errors have been eliminated. Take breaks after each time you proofread. This way, you will be looking at your statement with fresh eyes every time you read it. You should also take some time to make sure the statement is well-organized and has a proper “flow” in terms of both structure and style. If you’re looking at graduate school application help , you can get a graduate school admissions consultant to look over your essay!
Here's how we helped one of our students get into graduate school!
14 More Graduate School Statement of Purpose Examples
Graduate school statement of purpose example #2 (984 words).
When I was 12 years old, my sister suffered a traumatic car accident that left her with PTSD, depression, and severe anxiety. Our parents did not really understand the impact of what she was going through and as a family, we never talked about it much, though we all could witness her pain. So, through my teen years, I watched as a beloved family member struggled with her mental health. Though I did my best to support her through the worst times and assist her in getting professional help, there were still many moments when I felt powerless and clueless in the face of her suffering. This challenging experience set me on the path to pursuing clinical psychology as a career. I wanted to question, dissect, analyze, and hopefully, understand, this mysterious phenomenon that had dominated my life for so long. Through my academic study of psychology and personal experience of my sister’s PTSD, I found that I was particularly interested in clinical psychology with relation to adolescent populations.
From the age of 16 to 21, I worked as a volunteer at an after-school care program for children and teens from disadvantaged backgrounds. While there, I met numerous young people, who had faced starvation, neglect, abuse, and violence, from a very young age, and who needed help to cope with the long-term effects of those early experiences. Working with these kids, helping them through events that might be unimaginable for most adults, further sharpened my interest in how trauma influences the development of generalized anxiety disorders and panic disorders, and in particular, the pre-existing conditions and underlying risk factors for suicide in adolescents with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. This is the topic I hope to continue to explore as a Master’s student in the Clinical Psychology program of your university. Thanks to my personal and first-hand experiences with the effects of trauma, I think I can bring a unique perspective to the study of long-term PTSD in adolescents.
Though my core interest in clinical psychology and the effects of trauma started as deeply personal, my scholarly curiosity and intellectual proficiency led me to academic explorations of this subject from a young age. While in high school, I took up Intro to Psychology classes from my local community college and completed a Peer Youth Counselling certificate course from the Ryerson Center for Mental Health. This academic exploration confirmed my desire to study psychology in college, and my coursework through my undergrad years focused on building a broad portfolio of the key areas of psychology, including Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Behavioral Science, Industrial Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and more. I also took up courses in Biology, Physiology, and Neuroscience to better understand the physical pathologies of adolescent trauma. I believe this thorough grounding in the biological aspects of developmental psychopathology will help me to address the sorely needed requirement for cross-disciplinary research into effective treatment programs for trauma survivors.
Throughout my undergraduate education, I gained research experience that helped me develop the skills and knowledge I need for my clinical psychology graduate studies. For my last two years of undergrad, I worked with Drs. Rebecca Brown, Tyler Baker, and Gary Wolf at the Guntherson Memorial Lab at ABC University, on their studies into the development of substance abuse in adolescents suffering from PTSD. As a research assistant my responsibilities included conducting literature searches, data collection, data entry, supervision of study participants, preparation of research documents, and drafting of participant assessment packets. Thanks to this experience, I was able to develop my valuable observational and data analysis skills and learn more about critical aspects of clinical research such as programming computer tests, investigating study measures, forming hypotheses, supervising participants, and more. I also enrolled in Dr. Brown’s senior level research class and through my final two years of undergrad, I published four research papers on a variety of clinical psychology topics, including a paper on “Depression, Anxiety, and Traumatic Amnesia in Adolescent Survivors of CSA” that was published in the New England Psychology Journal’s June 20XX year issue.
What attracted me to the clinical psychology master’s program at XYZ University was the strong emphasis on diversity in the classroom and cultural context in the curriculum which aligns with my ambition to gain a holistic, socially conscious understanding of trauma manifestations in vulnerable populations. Moreover, your program offers the chance for students to complete two research projects in the world-class research facilities associated with the XYZ University, allowing me to develop and perfect my research skills in the most appropriate environment. I hope to complete these projects under the supervision of your faculty members, Dr. Sally Hendrix and Dr. Mirian Forster, widely considered two of the most brilliant, forward-thinking minds in trauma research today. Their work on the endocrinological risks of anxiety development in adolescents and development of abnormal psychology in CSA survivors is particularly pertinent to my own research interests. With my background in clinical research, my first-hand experience of the effects of trauma, and my deep devotion to and understanding of the pathological effects of adolescent PTSD, I think I can bring a lot to your next master’s cohort.
Through all the clinical experiences and academic knowledge I gained in the last few years, my interest in the questions of trauma, anxiety, and depression continue to be deeply personal. Though my sister survived her teenage years, she continues to live with anxiety and symptoms of PTSD that she doesn’t fully understand. There is still so much about human psychology that we simply don’t know, and I hope to address that gap a little by using the training and education I gain at your university to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology in the future. By seeking the answers to the questions of how trauma can warp an adolescent brain and what we can do to try and manage it, I hope to shed light on an under-represented area of psychology that sorely needs our attention.
During the first year of my undergraduate degree, I took a small course entitled “Third World Development” taught by three rather radical and lively professors from Trinidad, Chile, and Lebanon, respectively. This course, despite its passé title, existed to deconstruct our notions of ‘otherness’ by illustrating the deep connectedness of issues, people, and nations. This theme of ‘connectedness’ is threaded through my research and work history under various labels and theories. My undergraduate research was dedicated to understanding the ways and means of political participation for women in remote Northeast India. I became curious about the role of women as informal politicians within their small collectives where survival literally hinges on connectivity. My time in observation of these women opened me to the idea that health and wellness can emerge from places facing serious food insecurity, poor shelter, corruption, and long distances from the center of national power. The extent to which women could draw upon their collective power and roles as givers of care in order to lobby local governments and participate legitimately in the polity was the very definition of their empowerment.
During my graduate work at [x] University, public health approaches to vulnerable populations were of particular interest to me. It became clear, during my fieldwork with care providers for women who sell sex and do high-risk drugs in downtown East side, that vulnerable populations around the world often have more in common with each other than with the ‘dominant’ or non-excluded populations. My research led to my questions about the role of social capital, defined in this case as a public good comprised of relationships and networks, in leading to better health outcomes amongst highly marginalized urban women. The mechanisms through which both groups of women, in Northeast India and downtown Vancouver, became able to rely on or reject peers, givers of aid or care, and the social and political systems in which they were enmeshed, are very similar. I have witnessed how health outcomes can be a partial function of connectedness for women on the periphery.
Public health has proven the best venue through which I can search for explicit, concrete evidence that individual and population welfare can be socially determined, by access to and power to make choices regarding housing, education, employment, income, political participation, nutrition, and transportation. I see the centrality of connectedness, to institutions and peers, to the processes that enable an individual to access, choose, and influence. My current work as a policy analyst with the Public Health Agency within the Strategic Initiatives and Innovations Directorate is focused largely on reducing health inequalities by mobilizing action on particular social determinants of health. While this work is important and generally on point, I suspect that the United States and Canada may benefit from exploring the micro-level ‘enablers’ of change with respect to the social determinants of health. These enablers, including social networks as a form of social capital, are sometimes lumped, and incorrectly so, with the more tangible determinants, such as housing and nutrition. I see these enablers as characteristics of favorable environments in which health can be positively affected: in families, neighborhoods, schools, communities, etc.
My proposed dissertation research would fall into the broader goals of studying the social mechanisms by which parental social connections impact the eating behavior of their children as well as the way in which these mechanisms may vary across local neighborhoods. My particular interest is the potentially causal nexus between maternal social networks, neighborhood environments, and the transmission of eating behaviors to children. In effect, my role would be to help operationalize maternal adversity and identify potential moderators on the effects of maternal adversity on obesity and eating behaviors of children.
I am drawn to [X] University School of Kinesiology and Health Studies specifically due to Dr. Spencer Moore’s background in medical anthropology and current work with social network analytic techniques. The application of network theory analytical techniques will be a new endeavor for me, but I am attracted to the study of populations that are not necessarily bound by their geography but by common circumstances, such as maternal adversity, and, potentially, common health effects related to obesity and food behaviors. I want to understand the links between the nature and degree of ties between low-income women and how these ties affect norms related to obesity and food.
The School of Kinesiology and Health Studies is an excellent institution that is well-equipped to support new graduate students interested in innovative ways to explore social challenges. It is here that Dr. Moore is developing an important critical mass surrounding this way of examining social networks as enablers of obesity and food behavior outcomes among marginalized women and their young children.
My prior individual research experiences were qualitative in nature, relying on grounded theory and warranted assertion analysis techniques common to sociological research. I have experience as a research assistant on a larger project studying large, linked quantitative databases of provincial health and corrections data in my home state. Also, I have a sufficient course work history in statistics and epidemiology to be able to make the leap to more advanced quantitative techniques, given access to graduate courses on the subject. Social network analysis is a fascinating way of quantifying social capital and social networks and I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity to study these methods and methodologies under Dr. Moore.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #4 (993 words)
As a child of Bangladeshi refugees who fled from war, famine, death, and other horrors I myself have never had to face, I was always attracted to the hidden facts behind the grand narratives of history; the little stories of small people who didn’t leave an impact on major world events but lived, breathed, and worshipped just the same. My parents left everything behind in Bangladesh – their papers, property, lands, family, and friends. It was an erasure of not only their personal history but the history of generations who came before them. As I grew up, I became passionately interested in the history of my ancestors, perhaps as a way of making sense of my own experiences as a second-generation immigrant. I remember how once in grade school, we had to prepare a “family tree” project with the names and photos of our parents, grandparents, and so on. My mother started crying when I asked her for these details and photos; it was a traumatic reminder of all she had lost. I consider this genealogical tree my first history project, as I combed through the internet using the meagre information my mother gave me to supplement my bare project board with a few details. The internet wasn’t very helpful and, needless to say, I proved unsuccessful in finding any information. But it fueled a passion in me for finding out all about where I had come from, and from there, I developed my interest in the social, cultural, military, and economic history of south-east Asia.
I pursued this interest all the way to college, majoring in history with a minor in anthropology, and it was in my undergrad years that my general interest in the history of south-east Asia crystallized into an interest in the politics of historical interpretation, especially in regard to women in pre-modern south-east Asia. The history of women’s spaces, especially under patriarchal regimes, fascinates me; how oral traditions develop to combat lack of literacy, how their social roles shift and change in response to military and economic developments, and finally, how these historical changes constitute the present. Specifically, I am deeply interested in how women’s spaces evolved as a result of colonial influences in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I credit a wide range of authors, thinkers, and historians with molding my interests and refining my analysis. The latest papers by BW Anandya, Wazir Jahan Karim, and N Choi about the pathways to religious and political power for women in southeast Asia, profoundly opened up my mind to the possibilities for what we can learn from primary resources about these “lost” populations of history. On the other hand, the philosophical and sociological theories of Edward Said, Gayatri Chakrovorti Spivak, and Homi Bhabha provide the philosophical framework for how I approach my writing.
I have always followed my intellectual curiosity to take on challenging coursework and build a solid academic foundation for my intended pursuit of historical research. Apart from completing the most intensive coursework pertaining to Asian history studies in my department, I also took courses in British History, Postcolonialism, Anthropology, Philosophy, and Women’s Studies, so as to round out my understanding of the key topics related to my area of interest. My professor also allowed me to complete independent studies and research projects in selected areas of my interest such as African American history in Canada and History of Hebrew Scriptures. The study of such diverse historical topics helped to provide greater context to my primary area of interest; I found many interesting parallels between the experiences of oppressed populations in different parts of the world. Three of my papers were published in our university’s academic magazine, and I presented my paper on “Development of Oral Traditions in Women’s Spaces” at the Annual National History Symposium in X year.
In my junior year, I got the chance to write an independent research paper about the historical figure of Savitri Bai Phule, analyzing her community ties from 1920 to 1935, within the framework of Spivak’s concept of “strategic essentialism” and cross-cultural solidarity. This was a major milestone for me as I got the chance to work on my main area of interest while using primary resources on loan from University of Mumbai, including Savitri Bai Phule’s journals, historical Times of India newspapers, and more.
I would love to continue my research into these and other unexplored histories of women in south-east Asia as part of the master’s program at your university. With my personal background, academic proficiency, and focused historical interests, I think I represent an ideal candidate for ABC University. I look forward to working in an environment that encourages diversity, forward-thinking research, and cutting-edge investigative techniques. Your rigorous curriculum will help me refine my understanding of historical investigation methods and expand my consciousness of the cross-cultural socio-economic influences in pre-modern women’s spaces. As an aspiring PhD candidate, I would love to get the chance to tap into ABC University’s extensive network of primary resources, subject matter experts, and trailbreakers. I am very excited to work with Dr. Nina Gupta from the History of Southeast Asia department. I am in communication with her about her findings on historical distortion and its intersection with political agendas in colonial Southeast Asia, as it directly impacts the research I’d like to do. In fact, her encouragement and support motivated me to apply to your master’s program!
My next big goal is to pursue a PhD, also from your university, under Nina Gupta’s supervision. Through my master’s education, I plan to work towards developing my expertise in Southeast Asian women’s studies and making myself an asset for your PhD program. One day, I hope I can become a professor at a top university such as yours, so that I can continue my research into the rich and untapped veins of history just waiting to be investigated and pass on my love for the subject to interested young minds.
One of the greatest gifts my parents gave to me, very early on, was a keen sense of just how unique my childhood was. Though by no means a position of high stature, my mother’s clerking post at the American consulate in Cairo provided us with an immense array of benefits, and those that impacted me most were, unsurprisingly, the plethora of cultural institutions a short walk away from our home. Whether the Coptic, Luxor, or the Grand Egyptian, the first thing I wanted to do each afternoon after getting out of school was to zoom into the cool air of a museum. Even at a young age, I was aware of the complexity of being a light-skinned American kid wandering through these halls, gazing at artifacts of a civilization that far preceded the origins of what I understood to be “western” civilizations. How did I end up here? What was the nature of my relationship to this rich and vast culture that both fascinated me and exacerbated my feelings of being somewhat alien in its midst?
This intersection of cultural and political analysis expanded as I got older and began to unpack the complicated colonial forces that played a part in both early and contemporary Egyptology. As I matured as a student, I became able to articulate questions that had hitherto lived as abstract uneasiness in my head. Curators and guides of many Egyptian museums were reluctant at first to really open up about the pervasive presence of English and North American archaeologists in the 19th century's antiquarian boom, but I was fortunate to have longstanding relationships with many such officials, both through my own wanderings and my parents' work.
As I began to ask more pointed questions and gained the ability to explore museum records on my own, I became overwhelmed by how drastically the Egyptian archaeological "industry" had been shaped by British colonialism, and how this resulted in a still-developing tension between international exhibition and the local or indigenous preservation of civilizational artifacts. My undergraduate work in anthropology has sought to develop a number of theses in this regard, most importantly the need for efforts of artifact repatriation and return from the British Museum as a step toward more complete reconciliation after centuries of extraction.
Throughout my undergraduate research with Professor X at [undergraduate university], I sought to utilize careful historiographical analysis to better support repatriation efforts popularized by former Egyptian antiquities minister Dr. Y. These efforts helped mobilize the X museum in Boston to return a priceless bust of Prince Ankhhaf under Dr. Y’s insistence, which was not only one of the most satisfying moments in my academic career so far but of my life overall.
In addition to the historiographic focus of my work, I’m keen to shift into the present politics around artifact repatriation and reclamation of physical heritage, specifically relating to how contemporary North African political struggles utilize cultural and anthropological discourses. Professor Z’s work in this realm has been hugely influential and inspiring to me, and were I to be admitted to your PhD program it would be an incredible honor to assist her ongoing research in contemporary cultural discourse in Egyptian and Islamic political movements.
I was fortunate to be selected for the American University in Cairo’s Presidential Internship program in 2019, just after graduating. Returning to Cairo for the first time since I was 13 years old was incredible but bittersweet in some ways. The lens through which I observed many of the institutions I’d mythologized as a child was far more critical, and I realized that my graduate work would necessarily be inflected by this added layer of complexity and disillusionment. If admitted to this PhD program in anthropology, I would seek to capitalize on this personal experience. I think it’s incumbent upon people who have lived in anthropological intersections like this—in my case specifically as an unwitting addition to longstanding “Western” colonial presence in North Africa—to produce academic work that illuminates the political and cultural tensions that they’ve hitherto experienced as largely subjective phenomena.
To this end, I propose utilizing modeling techniques common to digital-archaeological projects in Egyptological studies to support a more culturally-focused analysis of the flow of expropriation during the heyday of colonial extraction in the early 20th century. I believe that object-oriented models of provenance can be utilized to support analysis of ongoing repatriation discourse. This would build on Professor X’s work mentioned above, providing more graphic and tangible insights into emancipatory nationalist and post-nationalist movements in contemporary Egypt and North Africa in general.
If admitted to ______'s graduate program, I would not only seek to contribute to the program's ongoing scholarship as a student, but would hope to continue working collaboratively with the department once I move into independent scholarship and teaching following graduation. I feel especially passionate about forming long-term relationships with faculty given the scarcity of nuanced scholarship that addresses the intersections of anthropology, political science, and archaeology in Egyptological studies. Teaching and research have guided every step of my journey so far, and I know without a doubt that this is my path forward as well. As such, I would seek to serve as a paragon not only of ________’s interdisciplinarity and intellectual inventiveness to my future students, but to continue to be a productive and prominent member of _____’s research cohort no matter where I end up teaching.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #6 (859 words)
My road to mechanical engineering began with my dad unceremoniously kicking me out of the kitchen. By the time I was in kindergarten, I couldn’t resist rummaging through my family’s cupboards, trying to find something to take apart and rebuild it. This became a running joke in my family that, rather than knives or other sharp objects, I had to be kept away from screwdrivers, lest I end up taking the whole house apart. This all changed when I discovered desktop computers, and specifically GPUs, which I found endlessly fascinating in their ability to be easily disassembled and modified.
Although my free time during high school was indeed spend huddled over computer hardware much the way my childhood was, I became interested in the capabilities of redirecting the work capacity of hardware, and in particular the ability to reorganize the way hardware acceleration can be optimized to assist in Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) tasks in manufacturing. During my undergraduate work at X University, I developed an interest in machine learning while working on Dr. Cheboygan’s ongoing research in augmenting GPU software to better optimize their performance in general-purpose computations. In both my senior thesis and independent study blocks, Dr. and I studied a number of potential workarounds for latency bottlenecks relating to DDR5 infrastructure.
This phase of my research cemented my desire to continue on with both machine learning and CAE, and it’s precisely around these points that I’d like to develop my MSc thesis. Specifically, I want to build on the considerable research on GPU acceleration I undertook during my BS in order to further expand upon shifts in both manufacturing and product design. As abstract as this work has been in many ways, its end result would be to streamline workflows for product engineers that will greatly speed up the process of dealing with intractable problems relating to bottlenecking by physics computations.
I’m motivated to address sophisticated problems like this for a fairly non-academic reason. Throughout the last two years, I’ve participated in organization drives with X organization, my region’s largest manufacturing union. Admittedly, I came to this work with quite personal motivations, having seen my mother’s engineering positions often under attack by naïve or even ignorant efforts to automate various aspects of product design. My work with this union sought to argue, from a scientific perspective, the need to improve both software and hardware using human-supervised machine learning and not wholesale robotic automation. Rather than downsizing and eliminating human positions in the manufacturing process, I offered data to union leadership that showed how a minimal investment in technological upgrades at the level of product implementation could preserve job security for product engineers and implementation supervisors while vastly speeding up the manufacturing process to deliver an increased output of nearly 80% in some cases.
This was immeasurably satisfying, and although not every negotiation was a success, I was able to contribute something unique to a class of workers who I felt had suffered under an outmoded and overly aggressive model of automation for nearly 20 years. In short, I would like to pursue graduate work in mechanical engineering at Z University because I think my work can have an overwhelmingly positive impact in aspects of labor tensions relating to instrumentation and automation. I think that through careful work in machine learning and deep learning, we can target specific aspects of the manufacturing process that have proven to be flashpoints of conflict between engineers and administrators.
The department's emphasis on teaching throughout the graduate program is also a huge draw for me. I tutored privately throughout my undergraduate years, and volunteered at my school's learning center to help students not only with introductory engineering courses but also calculus and linear algebra. Reconnecting to this passion for high-level mathematics, I would seek to work with Dr. Muskegon and Dr. Flint to both participate in and utilize their research in computational methods to clarify the mathematical dimension of my proposed thesis. Dr. Muskegon’s recent publications in the International Journal of Computer Theory and Engineering are especially relevant to this work, as I believe my course of study would benefit greatly by implementing her utilization of novel approaches to principal component analysis.
Lastly, on a simpler note, I’ve always been drawn to the West Coast, and would love to explore the wilder, mountainous areas North of Vancouver during my free time. Growing up in the flatlands of the Midwest seeded a very strong desire for the “big landscape” areas of Western Canada, and I can think of no better compliment to the abstract and small-scale work I’d be undertaking in the mechanical engineering program than to spend my free weekends hiking and camping in places like Coquitlam mountain Which is to say, simply, that I believe UBC is an ideal location for my next phase of scholarship not only because of its academic innovation and integrity, but because its surrounding environment is both beautiful and inspirational. I would arrive and continue to be an enthusiastic and incredibly engaged student in UBC’s MSc program, and I would be honored to assist in the incredible work being undertaken by both faculty and fellow graduate students alike.
Not many students seek to spend their gap year surrounded by the choking aroma of sulfur, but I will readily admit to being just such a student. After 4 years spent in a blur of library lighting and research, I found myself in desperate need of immersion into both Soto zen Buddhism and Japanese culture more generally. So, after some careful planning, I spent 4 months last year working in an onsen in Fukui, spending my 1 day off each week wandering around the shrines interspersed between Echizen and Kyoto and generally trying to soak up every bit of soto history I could.
My real wish was granted near the end of my time in Fukui, when I was accepted for a 1-week sesshin at Eiheiji castle. This was the fulfillment of a desire I’d stoked throughout my BA work in Asian studies at X University. Throughout my research, I’d devoted considerable time to analyzing concepts of time in extended religious ritual, and at Eiheiji, I was able to not only observe this in action but to experience it directly as well. My personal relationship to zen was not especially developed prior to this point, but after just the first step through Eihiji’s main gate, I felt something shift in me, and knew that I wanted to dedicate my academic career to exploring not just zen but soto ontology specifically.
To this end, my dissertation with the religious studies department would seek to utilize ongoing scholarship by professor Farmington in discussions of temporal dilation and dissolution in religious ritual. At Eihiji, and in sesshin settings specifically, there are numerous conceptualizations of time that are at odds with typical monastic linearity, and I believe incorporating a more careful analysis of temporal augmentation is key to unpacking the metaphysics of both sesshin and “intensive” events in other traditions as well. I may feel a personal connection to much of what I’ve studied and written about so far, but I feel an even stronger dedication to exegesis of religious ritual experience for the sake of furthering philosophical and theological discussion across traditions.
My abiding love for Soto zen is a key motivator in this project, but I come to this study earnestly and with academic rigor. Interfaith dialogue has been a constant part of my life outside of academia. Throughout high school I volunteered a great deal of time with both Saint Sophia Orthodox church and Bharatiya Hindu temple in [hometown]. This provided not only opportunities to engage in beneficial community projects, but also myriad opportunities to discuss theological and doctrinal matters with people outside my own religious practice. These activities, much like my enthralling experiences in Fukui, clarified and concentrated my desire to pursue high-level scholarship in religious studies.
Your program will allow me to pursue interdisciplinary studies that will touch upon more than just community interfaith dialogue. My early undergraduate years heavily focused on Western philosophy, and specifically German idealism. Dr. Huron’s work in examining influxes of hermeticism and esotericism in general in this tradition is incredibly fascinating to me, and while my thesis doesn’t directly touch on it, I am quite curious about potential intersections of Western esoteric ritual and Soto Zen ritual, specifically their descriptions of atemporal experience. Indiana university’s overarching emphasis on collaborative work, and especially the religious studies department’s similar commitment to intersectional and comparative analysis, is a massive draw for me. Although Northwestern’s Asian studies department boasted a number of interdisciplinary and cross-specialty working groups, the offerings at IU are significantly more numerous and broader in scope, and I would be honored to participate in the East Asian epistemology working group especially. The paper I presented at last year’s International Conference on Buddhist Philosophical Studies centered on epistemological contradiction in Yunmen’s koans, and I think there’s a great deal of room in my proposed project to explore theories of knowledge in relation to the discussions of ritual temporality and chronology.
While I certainly found aspects of my time working in an onsen exhausting, the difficulty of the work and communication therein was a challenge I greatly enjoyed. I would bring this newly enhanced sense of dedication and discipline to graduate studies at[BeMo3] Indiana university, and, gratefully, be able to formalize an ongoing academic project that’s deeply connected to the religious and cultural experiences I had during this time as well. I feel profoundly ready, in other words—ready for both advanced scholarship and the semi-monastic lifestyle that best supports this work. My week at Eiheiji was transformative in a few ways, but perhaps the most unexpected of which was the way it showed me what I already knew about myself from a clarified or even purified perspective, and I know without a doubt that the zeal I felt bloom within me is inextricable from continuing along the path toward doctoral research and eventually teaching.
Note how the following personal statement is truly personal and after reading this statement you feel like you know this applicant already. They also leave you feeling a lot of emotions. Both warm and sad. And that's good. You want to create some sort of emotion in the admissions committee members that read your personal statement:
As an applicant to _________, I am one among many candidates who acknowledges the highly diverse and appealing culture of the campus. As an immigrant candidate, I am among those individuals who acknowledge their gratitude for a country that has enabled them to explore endless opportunities and to write this very statement. I have been given an opportunity, one which lets me offer a glimpse of my individuality, the story behind my journey, my capabilities and future possibilities for _________. In recognizing my ethnicity, my academic progression, continuous community involvement, work experiences, and strong regard for _________, I have been equipped with the passion, knowledge and determination to pursue __________.
My journey was challenging, but has characterized the woman I've become, and solidified the mark I want to leave in this world. In addressing my ethnicity as an Assyrian, I was born in Iraq. At the tender age of 4, my family and I fled to Turkey as refugees in hopes of safety, and were eventually granted acceptance to_________. My parents' relentless will to leave all they had known to offer my siblings and I a safer environment, one which would enable us to flourish with opportunities, was inspiring and admirable. Assimilating into another culture was seemingly difficult. However, leaving Iraq was necessary to ensure I had a future, one that would allow me to learn, experience, and eventually become a_______.
“Why have you decided to pursue____?”. A question that seems direct, however, can be daunting to simplify in two pages. Coming from an oppressed war nation of extremists, justice is buried among the remnants of homes. My early exposure to a war-stricken environment led to a realization and eventually a passion; my relentless pursuit for social justice. My culture has also enabled me to express patience and understanding to individuals of all backgrounds. Openness is the very ingredient, which echoes within _____and, is expected of ______students attending _________. I offer a distinct diversity in representing a small and underrepresented group of individuals; I speak Assyrian, an ancient language of Aramaic, spoken during the early times of Mesopotamia. With a passion for linguistics, I have also become advanced in speaking Arabic and French. Diversifying my communication is a trait I can bring forward to _________ as the backbone of the school thrives in multiculturalism and offers multiple global/international opportunities. Moving forward I want to continue utilizing my personal experience and platform to advocate for families displaced, as I strive to be at the forefront of international affairs.
My university career, employment, and volunteer experiences have further fueled my passion for _______. Additionally, they have enhanced my academic thought, cultural awareness and critical approach in _________. The education I gained at________, with a major in Criminology and minor in Political Science provided me with an advanced knowledge of political relations. As a student, I gained the research skills to analyze individual behavior and public policies. I analyzed criminal patterns, from a theoretical and statistical standpoint. The analytical framework and organizational skills I gained are notable qualities that I can apply to my studies. During my entire university career, I remained employed and at times held two occupations. Additionally, I held an internship, played soccer, and remained active within the community in partaking in numerous charity events, and associations, such as Transition 2 Betterness, Heart & Stroke, and Social Science Society. My internship at the Border Services Agency strengthened my regard for national security, while sports taught me discipline, effective communication, and team collaboration. Furthermore, my passion in music, has led me to explore creativity with artists of all backgrounds. Having written multiple songs, and recorded with a variety of artists, I have challenged my writing abilities and allowed myself to be vulnerable and ready to grow. My ability to balance employment, volunteer, academics and music has characterized my motivation to improve myself as a student, and as a________.
Alternatively, my career experiences have tested my creativity in utilizing various resources to achieve my end goal. In the 3 years I spent within the recruitment/consulting industry, I gained a professional outlook and got an insight into the competitive market. As a Scientific Recruiter, I worked alongside scientists/chemists and medical doctors, to ensure they found a suitable opportunity. Through technical screenings and developmental feedback, I was able to strategize and prepare the candidates for client interviews. As an Account Manager, I led the first Scientific Division for my company. I worked 60 hour weeks for two years to build a pipeline and plant the seeds for new business relationships. I partnered up with clients across the __________ area within various industries; pharmaceuticals, consumers and hospitals. Through extensive business development, I assisted clients by finding candidates that were technically and culturally a fit. My experience within sales was challenging, and at times exhausting, but taught me patience. I was able to gain a multitude of survival skills that can certainly be applied to _________. I learned to self-start, self-motivate, and lastly, I learned that at times you will fail, but that does not mean you have failed. As an Academic Consultant at ________, I assist graduate students with their application and interview process to Medical and Dentistry School. We examine problematic scenarios, address pressing issues, and explore multiple strategies. Evidently, I am apt to apply a similar critical perspective to further my research by exploring multiple measures to gain a diversified analysis.
Through my non-profit partnerships; my role as a War Child Catalyst for War Child and Journalist for Observatory Media, I have gained cultural awareness in international relations and advanced my researching and writing abilities. As a War Child Catalyst, I created my own committee, One Army, which raises funds for families and precisely children affected by war. As a journalist, I have furthered my knowledge of current Canadian policies and generated awareness for displaced individuals.
Upon my acceptance to _______in the _______ program, I hope to advance my critical thought and awareness in international affairs and national security, through a calculated evaluation. I will also advance my focus through a _______ Diploma that is offered. With a variety of courses, such as ____________, __________, and __________, I will adopt a dynamic perspective to direct my thesis. In addition, I hope to collaborate with ________ and ____________, notable professors with substantive work regarding national security. With respect to campus involvement, I will see that my experiences will be utilized as I plan to join the _________, ensuring I will be at the forefront of political and social justice issues.
As examined, my work experience, passionate community involvement, and academics will enable me to not only apply but also excel at ___________. How will we ensure national security when our nationalism is questionably crippled by our democratic stance towards multiculturalism? An ironic question which I intend to explore, and one which I have prepared for my entire life.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #9 (1705 words)
A statement of purpose is a chance to tell the story of your life. Your statement is not only a celebration of your triumphs, but also a true reflection on the challenges and struggles you have faced. Remember, you cannot victimize yourself in the essay. Rather than simply talking about your difficulties, make sure to emphasize how you overcame them. Create a captivating narrative of how events in your life led to this moment - your decision to apply to grad school:
My desire to join the world of social work proved innate and organic since the pillars of the field parallel the way I lead my personal and professional life. Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to promoting and helping employees grow and thrive personally and in the workplace. This dedication to implementing a living salary, continued education, financial literacy and equal opportunity sparked my interest to further my educational path since these practices within the working environment were not commonplace. Through my work experience I saw a need for financial literacy as I watched employees work multiple jobs and struggle to make ends meet. I saw the insurmountable stress that people faced on a daily basis and how much it negatively affected stability within their lives. I knew that I needed to do something that proved longer lasting and further reaching. I decided to set out to not only change the dynamic of financial capability for all, but also to help people to cope with the stress of our fast-changing environment.
My trajectory towards my goals in the world of social work started with one of the largest challenges of my life. While attending X College, I received the devastating news that I had early signs of cancer, requiring invasive and immediate treatment. Shortly thereafter, I also lost my home. These hardships caused a shift in my focus, priorities, and ultimate trajectory of my educational path. These humbling experiences afforded me the privilege of learning to maintain strength, perseverance, empathy and humility, despite the adversities.
My perseverance and dedication to finding my footing in the world again allowed me to begin the journey of running restaurants at the age of twenty-five. After experiencing poverty, debilitating anxiety and a decline in my own health I knew that creating a safe environment for people to thrive in was of the utmost importance to me. I took the lessons I learned through my experiences into my career and created policy within the businesses that I ran that reflected my dedication to implementing a living wage for all employees. Specifically, I standardized paid time off, extended sick leave, improved access to healthcare, and facilitated equal opportunity for all people that desired growth. My new position allowed me to offer personal mentorship, helping employees advance within the company and in the growing hospitality industry as a whole. This was incredibly rewarding for me, especially when I was able to see those who I mentored move on in their career to build enriched and financially stable lives.
When I moved on from this company, I carried my ethos with me into my next three
businesses. I became a general manager at a restaurant, opened a distillery for the bar, and started my own hospitality consulting business. Now, not only did I dedicate myself to treating employees ethically, I also was persistent in investigating the companies I used to supply the businesses that I oversaw. While working for the restaurant, I made multiple trips a year to Mexico to ensure that the products I purchased for the business were from companies that did not exploit or undercut their employees. In conjunction with my stand on supporting ethical business practices, I was given the opportunity to also open a mezcal distillery with [X name] in Tijuana. By opening the distillery, we were able to provide access to electricity, running water, transportation and basic human needs to the village where the mezcal was made. The experience I gained at this point in my life changed my trajectory of what I truly wanted to pursue, planting a seed for me to fight for change within my field of work.
When I made the decision to leave the hospitality industry it was innately due to the fact that I couldn’t continue to be part of an industry that primarily cared about their bottom line and not the people that worked to ensure their success. I left knowing that I wanted to redirect my life and embark on making changes that were designed to help lift people out of difficult situations to ultimately generate stability, prosperity and fulfillment. I wanted to ensure that progressive changes I spearheaded would prove wider reaching and longer lasting. I knew I wanted to be a mentor, a coach and a financial planner since I was privileged and honored to be in the positions I was granted in life, I wanted to share what I had learned with others.
In an effort to gain experience I have been honored to have the opportunity to volunteer as a crisis Counselor for Crisis Line. During my time working as a counselor I have seen a common trend amongst people in crisis which resonated with me; lack of access to healthcare and financial disparity. This work, that I continue to do weekly, has shown me the fundamental need for people to not only have financial security but also to have access to healthcare which includes mental health services. This experience furthered my understanding on how financial instability can cause a milieu of problems and can be at the root of anxiety, stress and affect mental health in an adverse way. Without access to channels that teach financial literacy and techniques to cope with stress on a continuous basis, I knew that any relief I did bring might be short lived. There is still a need for dependable, ongoing care that I would not be able to give unless I decided to continue my education and further my mission to help people live a stable and prosperous life.
When I started looking into social work, X University was my first choice. I’m inspired to learn from the brilliant minds of coveted professors at X School, whose work includes devoting tireless time and effort to social change, innovation and diversity. I feel that there are many like-minded professors that share my passions and goals within the school.
I am inspired by the idea of being placed in the field, to allow me the privilege of gaining some real-life experience, paralleling my studies, and ultimately allowing me to explore the multiple facets that make up the large body of social work. I am confident that I will be able to fully devote myself to the program and will not have the added responsibility of working while I am in school. Should I be accepted, the X School is one I am confident will prepare me to meet my goals, give me the relevant field experience that I am seeking, and will prepare me to be a future leader in the field of social work.
When I made the decision that I would like to pursue graduate work at X University, I knew that there would be costs that I would have to consider and navigate if I were granted acceptance. I have over half of the funds in savings for school from when I was working in the hospitably industry and plan on applying to The X Scholarship Fund, The XY Scholarship, and hope to be awarded the X Merit Scholarship. After savings and possible scholarships, I would like to apply for a stipend with the X Project.
What I am hoping to focus on while attending X University are the core challenges of building financial capability for all and reducing extreme economic inequality. Since financial literacy is an optional topic for California teachers to incorporate in their lesson plans, it has become extremely illusive in our educational programs statewide. The implications of this lack of education can create and has created broad economic impacts that will affect our local and state economies and could result in further layoffs, another crash in the housing market and people facing even more insurmountable debt. The people that will be most affected by this illiteracy, those that are marginalized and face a lower socioeconomic status, will harbor the brunt of these negative impacts. Through higher education I am hoping to learn how to tackle this problem and implement financial proficiency not only for children and teenagers but also make it widely available and free for all adults who wish to benefit from this education. We have many programs in the state of California that aid low income families so that they can meet their everyday needs. If we do not make financial education programs widely available how are these families expected to eventually exit these programs and become self-sufficient? Without educated consumerism, families can find themselves trapped in the cycle of poverty.
While providing individuals and families with the resources needed for financial literacy it will be increasingly important to also implement cognitive behavioral therapy that will aid them during this transitional period. Changing the way people view and navigate economic difficulties can be stressful and create a level of anxiety that is associated with dramatic change. Even when change is for the better it can still manifest into feelings of stress and uncertainty. I am hoping to learn how to help people through the anxiety of uncertainty so that they are able to approach and navigate their daily lives with collected confidence. I’m interested in learning about classic ways to approach anxiety and also new techniques and therapies such as the recent research on psychedelic therapies, mindfulness and nature-based therapies.
While my background and areas of interest might seem unorthodox, I am hoping that the experience and knowledge I’ve gained within the workforce has prepared me to seek higher education. Through being in the positions I have been granted in life I have been able to gain skills that are necessary when implementing change and facing a career of helping others; such as maintaining boundaries, possessing the ability to be empathetic in stressful situations and being able to plan and manage time and money far into the future. My experiences have inspired me to drive to fight for implementing resonating, impactful change, to ultimately help in the fight towards propelling the progress and growth of our global society and community forward. Should I be accepted I am certain that I will gain exemplary knowledge and skill to become a future leader in the field of social work through the forward thinking, brilliant minds of the professors at X University.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #10 (738 words)
Oil is in more than my family’s blood. It’s in our history, too. When I was a child, my grandfather told me a story about his own father and the discovery of oil. My great-grandfather worked for Imperial Oil, and back in the 1940s, his team had been tasked with finding new oil reserves to drill into. After several failed attempts, the team had dug up nothing but dirt, and their expectations were low. My great-grandfather was considering taking work elsewhere to pay the bills. By chance, the team decided to drill in a location nearly 100 km away from their latest attempt. No on else had drilled in the area yet, and it wasn’t on anyone’s radar. My grandfather, a teenager at the time, happened to be out that day with his father, learning the ropes and watching the drill sink deeper and deeper into the earth. Tensions were high as they waited, drilling past the point where oil was normally found. My grandfather described it as a strike of lightning coming out of the earth—black gold shot out of the hole and rained down on the derrick and soaking the crew. They’d struck oil at last. Their discovery led to an economic boom, and my family has stayed in the oil and petroleum business ever since.
My grandfather and my father both worked in the oil industry their entire lives. My grandfather worked with the same derrick that saved his father’s livelihood, using it to locate new wells until it was decommissioned. Growing up, I absorbed a great deal about the industry from my father, who explained to me how petroleum products could be found in almost all of our everyday products, from the plastic toothbrushes in our bathrooms to the heating systems of our homes. He was always encouraging me to find out how things worked, to be curious about the world around me. As a kid I was always building and rebuilding personal projects, from my first Lego sets to my initial attempts at concocting an all-natural surface cleaner that wouldn’t give my mom an allergic reaction.
My vision for myself as a rig worker alongside my dad morphed into getting my undergraduate degree in chemical engineering. It allowed me to pursue my passion for reinvention while keeping my busy mind happy with new problems to solve. I dived into exploring the energy industry, attending lectures, speaking with industry experts, reading and researching, and even driving six hours away to attend a conference on the future of renewable energy. During my summers off from school, I helped my grandfather install solar panels at his home. Oil had been my grandfather’s life and livelihood, but he always encouraged me to think of the future of energy, and if I needed new solutions, to “dig another hole”. I was fortunate to have stellar examples of perseverance and hard work in my life, and to have an instilled passion for and connection to such a dynamic and challenging career.
After graduation, I took a job with ExxonMobil, where I have worked for several years as a petroleum engineer. My most significant projects have centered on developing computer modeling software, to improve the safety of workers and efficiency of drilling and extracting operations. I have also been involved in developing software which tests for and anticipates any geological shifts that can impact drilling or mining operations. I knew the moment I received my undergraduate degree that I wanted to take the next step, so I have taken opportunities to advance myself with professional development courses and volunteered to act as the company’s regional representative at key industry events. I also delivered a speech at the Oil and Gas Symposium on the benefits of cleaner oil extraction and production, and how my company has invested in new technologies to achieve these results.
I want to pursue my master’s in petroleum engineering because it will allow me to move into newer, more niche circles of this industry. It will allow me to use my innovation, my passion and my experience to find better, cleaner ways of using our energy resources and our petroleum reserves. Further education will help me continue to grow as a professional in the oil industry and become a part of the next wave of invention. It will allow me to be on the next team that strikes metaphorical oil and unearths the future of energy.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #11 (755 words)
Public health issues have always been a beast with many heads for me. The preservation and education of public health is a multifaceted, multidisciplinary effort, and the ongoing problems that contribute to public health concerns are the same. They cross disciplines and socioeconomic classes. The dynamic nature of public health as always been of interest to me, from the time I first experienced some of the problems affecting my hometown community’s health and well-being. Homelessness was a longstanding and noticeable problem in our community, exacerbated by issues like drug addiction, poor mental health resources and prejudice. While not all of these are considered direct public health matters, they are all connected threads of a deeper, darker beast.
I was aware of these problems in my community on a surface level, but as I grew up I began to take notice and pay more attention. My father served as a city councillor for many years, and we often attended community events together as a family. One of his favorite things to say was that “everyone can contribute something”, whether we were gathering food bank donations, fundraising for the local town arena or volunteering at the soup kitchen. Everyone pitched in. Everyone contributed something of their time, or money or care. The community worked together to address points of concern. When I sat in on council meetings my father attended, I saw the issues of homelessness and drug addiction were often debated and discussed. Everyone was trying to collaborate on a solution. Meanwhile, very little was actually being done to address the problems, and they continued to worsen. One of the town homeless shelters was shut down after the provincial government pulled funding, and the community saw an uptick in health-related issues, especially among marginalized groups.
I volunteered at homeless shelters in my area for many years, and I heard firsthand the struggles about getting access to healthcare resources such as counseling, safe prescriptions and even first aid. Without the homeless shelter and the more comprehensive resources it provided, such as safe sites and mental health counseling, people were struggling. The shelter coordinators had previously worked long hours to be able to provide the resources they could, but they’d never received enough funding to implement anything more than band-aid solutions. Even after the homeless shelter was shut down, several staff members did what they could to help regular clients at the shelter. After the shelter closed, we lost many of our regular visitors since they could no longer access medical care. Many individuals were arrested on drug charges, exacerbating the tension between the marginalized members of the community and the police, and taxing an overtaxed system.
Experiencing these things at an impressionable age sparked the desire in me to be of service to the community. One more set of helping hands was always welcome, and as my dad told me: “everyone can contribute something.” I wanted to contribute. I decided to study for my Bachelor of Science in social work, intending to continue my work with the homeless and do what I could to improve public health in my community. I’ve worked as a social worker for the past 5 years, as a counselor, advocate and friend of the homeless members of our community. I’ve worked to educate and raise awareness, supervise the installation of temporary homeless shelters, collect and distribute donations, and host free skill-building classes. I’ve been privileged to grow from an eager volunteer to a professional public health and social worker who demonstrates empathy, compassion, creativity and resilience.
However, in fighting this multi-headed beast I realize the problems easily multiply. I can defeat one issue for a while, and two new ones pop up. I wanted to be a part of ending the problems once and for all.
By getting my Master’s in Public Health, I’ll be able to gain a deeper and more nuanced education of the issues surrounding public health. I’ll be able to use that education and my growing professional skills to make sustainable changes in communities like mine. I’ll be able to test and implement solutions that fit the community instead of imposing cookie-cutter solutions to diverse and complex situations. I’ll be able to contribute in a meaningful way.
To your program I will bring my drive and my passion for public health, as well as the skills I’ve built as a social worker, volunteer and community member. I know I have more to give back, and I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of the solution.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #12 (896 words)
I remember exactly where I was when the shelter-in-place order was issued. I was at my teacher’s aide desk in Ms. Colburn’s sixth grade homeroom class, poring over the lesson plan for the day and making notes in the margins. When my email notification dinged on my open laptop in front of me, my future in education was changed forever. The email was notifying us that our lives and jobs as we knew them were about to change. We were told to return home and await further instructions. From that point on, I didn’t step foot in a classroom again for over a year.
Being a teacher had been my dream since I myself was in sixth grade. When I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Education, I found a position as a teacher’s aide at Woodward Elementary School. The opportunity to work in the classroom, interact with students and watch them grow and question and discover and collaborate and learn, was a dream come true. I hadn’t yet worked at Woodward a year before the pandemic irreversibly changed the way we educate. As a new educational professional, the pandemic threw an undeniable wrench in my future plans, and it tested my developing skills with challenges I could never have expected. However, it also presented me with opportunities I never would have had otherwise.
The first week of staying at home, I was trying to get organized, install new software on my work laptop, gather my notes and adapt to a working situation that was sometimes changing on a daily basis. My sister called to check up on me, and while we talked she asked if I could do her a favor. My niece was struggling with the new normal, learning how to switch to e-learning when learning in a traditional classroom had already been difficult for her. My niece was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and she’d explained before how she had trouble focusing, keeping herself organized and on task, and sometimes struggled to understand her homework assignments. As a student, I often helped tutor her in my free time and help her develop tools for educational success. We worked together to create a weekly schedule, practice tricks to keep her focused and alert, and established mental health “check-ins”. Since starting her schoolwork from home, her old tools weren’t enough. The changes to her school life and the anxiety caused by uncertainty were overwhelming her. Of course, I agreed to resume our tutoring sessions in my free time. This was a new situation for everyone, and there wasn’t as many resources or accommodations for my niece as there were in her old classroom. So, we improvised. I taught her how to use the new technologies and adapt them to her needs. I helped her find and test out virtual scheduling apps and websites to suit her. We also put her in touch with a virtual counselor who could help her with her mental health. I encouraged her to take “screen breaks” and start new activities at home to help her when she started to lose focus. We began a game of virtual checkers and other mobile games to provide her a fun break when she needed it. The change in my niece was undeniable. Her mental health was better, her social skills improved, and she was adapting to her schoolwork and actually enjoying her virtual lessons. Despite missing her friends, she made her grade that year on the honor roll, and I couldn’t have been prouder.
The students weren’t the only ones who I worked with to improve mental health and morale. My fellow teachers and I kept in touch to coordinate our lessons, of course, but we also started to notice the dip in our mental health. I began a weekly “zoom coffee” chat for social time and a disconnect from work. I also joined online teachers’ groups where I could share my experiences and ask for advice. Having a community, even a virtual one, helped me immensely. It reminded me that although the way in which we were educating was very different, we could still recreate and adapt to our circumstances. Even if I spent my entire career as a teacher using e-learning and digital teaching tools, I knew I could thrive.
I want to pursue my Master’s Degree in Education and Digital Resources to further develop my professional skillset in e-learning knowledge and resources. With a master’s degree, I can adjust to the change in circumstances and better equip myself to be a teacher and educator post-pandemic. I will also have the tools to address the new challenges and realities of digital education. I’ll be able to continue my passion for teaching, despite any hardships encountered, and in fact help students flourish. By working utilizing the skills I’ll gain, I’ll be able to work better with students who are unfamiliar with e-learning technology, have learning disabilities or other struggles with digital education.
The pandemic complete changed the trajectory of my teaching career, but as the field has so dramatically altered in recent years, it made sense for me to go back to school and continue developing myself professionally. I know I will be able to contribute meaningfully, too, with my experiences earned during the pandemic. Moving forward, I know I will be able to be a better teacher than ever in a post-pandemic world.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #13 (593 words)
That morning, a frail Mrs. Jones, surrounded by machines and a labyrinth of tubes, shared her wish: to end her life with dignity. That poignant moment during my early years as a medical intern brought the latent interest, which had been subtly brewing in the backdrop of my academic and professional pursuits, sharply into focus. It ignited an ardent quest to delve deeper into the moral and ethical dimensions of healthcare - the world of bioethics.
Reflecting back, even during my undergraduate years, the intersection of biology and morality seemed unavoidable. I pursued a dual major in Biology and Philosophy, a combination that perfectly mirrored my growing interest in the interplay between life sciences and ethical considerations. During a seminar, I led a spirited debate on the ethical nuances of genetic manipulation, emphasizing both its groundbreaking potential and moral pitfalls. This experience solidified my appreciation for informed discourse and strengthened my skills in analyzing multifaceted ethical dilemmas.
As I transitioned into the professional sphere, this inclination towards bioethics only intensified. At the hospital, beyond the typical responsibilities of an intern, I initiated the formation of a junior ethics committee, primarily comprising young healthcare professionals. Leading this committee, I oversaw discussions on a myriad of subjects, from the rights of the terminally ill to the implications of genetic testing. The committee was instrumental in crafting a set of guidelines for the ethical distribution of resources during health crises, with my detailed proposal on ventilator allocation during an influenza outbreak being unanimously adopted.
Yet, the world outside the hospital held more lessons. I championed health equality as a core member of a grassroots organization “BioEthicalGrounds”. In one notable project, I designed a community engagement campaign titled “Grassroots Perspectives on Life Sciences” targeting underserved populations, educating them on the bioethical implications of genomic data storage and its potential misuse. This endeavor further underscored the significance of comprehensive knowledge and sound judgment when confronting bioethical challenges head-on.
Understanding the need for a structured foundation, I sought formal education in bioethics. I enrolled in a year-long certification course where I delved into the theoretical underpinnings of bioethical dilemmas and contributed to a published paper on the "Ethical Dimensions of Genetic Privacy."
Now, standing at this crossroad, Columbia University's distinguished Bioethics program seems to be the right path for me. Its unique blend of rigorous academic training and real-world applications represents the ideal avenue for my aspirations. Situated in the heart of New York, a nexus of global health organizations, Columbia offers unparalleled opportunities. The program's interdisciplinary curriculum and emphasis on active engagement align seamlessly with my experiential background.
Moving ahead, my primary focus at Columbia University will be to research the ethical implications of advanced genomic techniques in prenatal testing. The rapid advancements in this area are pushing the boundaries of our ethical frameworks, especially when considering the potential for designer babies and socioeconomic implications of access to such technologies. I am particularly intrigued by how religious, cultural, and socio-economic contexts influence the moral decisions of families when confronted with the choices these technologies present.
My journey, starting from that dawn with Mrs. Jones, has been one of continuous exploration, leadership, and an unyielding drive to understand and act on bioethical concerns. I'm eager to embrace the challenges and opportunities Columbia's Bioethics program offers, hoping to bring my diverse experiences into the fold and drive forth the discourse on bioethics in innovative ways. With a comprehensive education, hands-on leadership roles, and an unwavering commitment to ethical considerations in healthcare, Columbia is the next logical step in my journey.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #14 (809 words)
My earliest memory is punctuated by a cacophony of notes emanating from the family grand piano. That formative moment, watching my mother gracefully dance her fingers across the ivory keys, illuminating our modest living room with Chopin’s harmonies, sowed in me an unyielding passion for music. It was more than just auditory appreciation; it was the realization that music, in its purest form, was an encapsulation of history, culture, emotion, and the spiritual essence of humanity.
My musical odyssey took root with formal piano lessons at the age of six, forging a disciplined regime of mastering scales and refining finger techniques. This dedication soon bore fruit when, at twelve, I secured a place in the esteemed "Young Pianists' Showcase" competition. Preparing for this event, I meticulously studied Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," not only mastering its rhythm and melodies but also delving into its history and the maestro's inspirations. Competing against a myriad of talented peers and being adjudicated by accomplished musicians wasn't merely an avenue to demonstrate my skill. It was a profound immersion into classical music's vast universe, each composition narrating tales of bygone eras, legendary composers, and the societies they graced. While the accolades from such competitions were heartening, they also ignited an unwavering curiosity about the stories and cultural fabric behind every note and composition.
In high school, I was given the opportunity to lead our school orchestra, a position that added another layer to my musical foundation. Leading an ensemble of diverse instruments and temperaments required much more than a proficiency in music. It demanded leadership, an acute understanding of each instrument's intricacies, and the ability to weave a tapestry of sound that resonated with audiences. One of my most significant achievements was reconstructing a lesser-known Baroque-era composition and adapting it for our ensemble, a task that combined my skills in performance, leadership, and historical research.
Parallel to these engagements, my insatiable thirst for understanding music's evolution led me to self-study. I devoured books on classical music's progression, from its liturgical roots in the Middle Ages to its multifaceted manifestations in modern times. This autodidactic journey further convinced me of music's unparalleled role in mirroring and shaping societal changes.
My undergraduate years were spent at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, where I majored in Musicology. The formal academic setting introduced me to systematic research methodologies, interdisciplinary approaches to music studies, and access to vast archives of primary sources. I excelled in my coursework, especially enjoying collaborative projects that allowed me to work with peers from diverse musical backgrounds. One such venture was curating a series of performances that juxtaposed classical compositions with their modern reinterpretations, fostering dialogues about music's evolving role across centuries.
Additionally, I was fortunate to participate in a workshop where I collaborated with a team to draft an opera. This endeavor refined my skills in composition, understanding narrative structures, and delving deep into historical contexts to create resonant and relevant musical pieces. The opera, based on a 17th-century French fable, went on to be performed at a college gala, receiving commendations for its fidelity to historical contexts while innovating in presentation.
Catholic University's Musicology department stands out as my top choice, and I sincerely hope to be granted the privilege of studying here. The department’s commitment to a comprehensive study, blending practical musicianship with rigorous academic inquiry, aligns seamlessly with my aspirations. The esteemed faculty, known for their extensive research and contributions to the field, would provide the mentorship I seek to delve deeper into nuanced studies, particularly those at the intersection of music, culture, and theology.
Furthermore, the University's grounding in Catholic tradition resonates deeply with my belief in music as a spiritual endeavor. The rich tapestry of liturgical music, its evolution over centuries, and its interplay with secular compositions present vast arenas of exploration, ones I am eager to embark upon. In particular, I am drawn to research the transformation of Gregorian chants from the Medieval era to the Renaissance, focusing on their influence on the polyphonic styles of the latter period. Dr. Maria Jenkins, a renowned expert in medieval and renaissance music at the Catholic University's Musicology department, has extensively studied this transition. Collaborating with Dr. Jenkins, I aim to unearth deeper insights into how these chants were adapted, evolved, and influenced the larger musical landscape of Western Europe, potentially culminating in a comprehensive research project or publication.
The tapestries of history, culture, and spirituality are interwoven through the threads of music. Through systematic study, fervent practice, and deep introspection, I've honed skills and imbibed knowledge that make me a fitting candidate for the Musicology program at Catholic University. My quest is not just to study music but to understand its soul, its eternal resonance, and its ability to elevate humanity. At Catholic University, I see a haven where this quest would be nurtured, challenged, and fulfilled.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example #15 (677 words)
It's often said that the most powerful things come in small packages. In the world of nuclear engineering, a single uranium fuel pellet, roughly the size of a pencil eraser, holds the energy equivalent of 150 gallons of oil. As I sat in my high school physics class, I remember the awe I felt when our teacher revealed this fact. It wasn't just the sheer power of nuclear energy that captivated me, but the vast potential it held for sustainable energy. From that defining moment, my path was clear – I wanted to delve into the world of nuclear engineering, unlocking the mysteries and potentials that lay within the nucleus of an atom.
Upon entering the University of Florida for my undergraduate studies, I committed to a dual major in Nuclear Engineering and Physics. This was not merely to obtain a degree but to cultivate a comprehensive understanding of the core principles and real-world applications of nuclear energy. While my courses laid a robust theoretical foundation, I actively sought avenues for hands-on experiences to bring my learning to life.
One such opportunity arose during my junior year when I secured a coveted internship at the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station. This wasn't a typical observational internship. I was thrust into the heart of reactor operations, working side-by-side with seasoned nuclear engineers. From calibrating reactor control mechanisms to troubleshooting minor hiccups in the cooling systems, my responsibilities were vast. This experience drove home the paramount importance of safety and precision in nuclear operations. For instance, while assisting in a reactor shut-down procedure, I realized the intricate choreography required to ensure each step was flawlessly executed. Any oversight, however minor, could escalate into a significant issue.
Beyond the confines of the power plant, I recognized the value of sharing knowledge and engaging with the broader nuclear community. This realization prompted me to participate in the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Student Conference. Alongside a dedicated team from my university, we researched and presented a detailed paper on "Advanced Safety Mechanisms in Modern Reactors." The countless nights we spent analyzing reactor models, scrutinizing historical data, and simulating potential scenarios were arduous but profoundly enlightening. Our paper was not only well-received but sparked stimulating debates on the future of reactor safety. This experience underscored the significance of continual learning and innovation in our rapidly evolving field.
Eager to further contribute to the nuclear engineering community, I took the initiative to organize the Nuclear Engineering Students' Symposium at the University of Florida. Steering this event, I found myself in a whirlwind of activity – from curating a diverse lineup of guest lecturers, including industry stalwarts, to devising hands-on workshops that simulated real-world reactor challenges. The success of the symposium was a testament to my organizational prowess, but more importantly, it emphasized the importance of fostering a vibrant community where budding engineers could engage, learn, and innovate.
North Carolina State University stands as a beacon for nuclear research, especially in my area of interest: Advanced Passive Safety Systems in Nuclear Reactors. Passive safety systems, capitalizing on natural phenomena like gravity and convection, are the future of nuclear reactor safety. I'm eager to delve into this area, particularly focusing on enhancing the efficiency and reliability of such systems. Dr. Walt Williams, with his groundbreaking work on passive cooling mechanisms, is someone I've admired and followed throughout my academic journey. The opportunity to work under his guidance at NC State is an enticing prospect, one that promises profound growth and meaningful contributions to the field.
My journey from that enlightening high school physics class to the cusp of advanced nuclear research has been both demanding and deeply rewarding. I believe North Carolina State University, with its unparalleled legacy in nuclear engineering, is the perfect place to further this journey. My educational background, coupled with my hands-on experiences and unwavering dedication, positions me well to contribute to and benefit from the esteemed Nuclear Engineering Department at NC State. I am eager to embark on this next phase, driving innovations and pushing the boundaries of what's possible in nuclear engineering.
A graduate school statement of purpose tells the admissions committee more about you as an applicant. A strong statement of purpose offers a compelling narrative about your interests, abilities, and experiences, to show the committee that you are a strong applicant and the right fit for their institution and graduate program.
A graduate school statement of purpose usually ranges between 500 and 1,000 words in length. Be sure to check the specific requirements stated by the program as you prepare to apply.
Set aside plenty of time for preparation so that you are not doing anything at the last minute. Research your institution and program of choice carefully to get a better sense of its values and academic culture. Brainstorm how and why you would make a good fit for the school and program of your choice. Contact any potential mentors amongst the academic faculty to discuss your research interests with them. Make a list of any requirements your program specifies for your statement of purpose. If you have any questions, be sure to ask the appropriate authority at the school for clarification. Before you start writing, make sure you have all of the materials you may need for reference close at hand, such as your academic transcripts. Make some notes outlining what you would like to include in your statement to help guide you as you write.
A graduate school statement of purpose should contain an introduction, a main body based on 2 or 3 experiences, and a conclusion. Your statement should be clearly written and well-organized to help the reader follow the flow of your narrative.
A statement of purpose should include four main elements: your research interests in your chosen field, your academic and professional preparation, your strengths and weaknesses, and your career plans. You need to give specific examples for each of these main elements, and to explain what you have learned from every experience you mention.
In writing your statement of purpose, you need to commit to writing several drafts to make sure your statement is as strong as it can be. You should ask for feedback from trusted academic mentors or professional consultants to ensure that your statement is effective and compelling. You also need to carefully proofread your work multiple times before submission.
You must never plagiarize your statement of purpose. Avoid using clichés and tired phrasing to keep your writing original and fresh. It is also important to favor clarity over artfulness, so be sure to avoid using overly-fancy language so that the focus is always on the substance of what you’re saying. Also avoid technical or overly specialized language unless absolutely necessary, and be sure to define any technical or specialized terms that you must use.
Before you submit your statement of purpose, take some time to review your statement in its final form to make sure it is the best version it can possibly be. Make sure you have followed all of the requirements in terms of length and formatting as specified by the school. Ask yourself if you have rewritten the statement several times, and if you truly believe it does not require another draft.
Check to make sure you are providing compelling examples for every claim you make regarding your experiences or abilities. Read your statement over again and make sure it is a narrative that gives the reader interesting details and context, not just a list of your achievements to date. Finally, make sure you have proofread your statement and eliminated any typos or grammatical errors that would distract your reader.
Your own research and ability to write concisely and clearly will be important in making your statement strong. Firstly, give yourself enough time for multiple drafts. Trust us when we say that your statement will need to be written and rewritten multiple times - it's inevitable. Secondly, be selective with the experiences you choose to include in your statement. It is more important to show rather than tell how you would be a great addition to the program. Being selective about your experiences will allow you room to go into detail and demonstrate to the admissions committee how your experiences make you the perfect fit.
Remember, if you are feeling overwhelmed, you can always research legitimate companies or consultants that can help you polish your statement and avoid wasting another year on applications. If you are considering whether BeMo is worth your time and money , make sure to read up on the successful experiences of our past students.
A good statement of purpose for graduate school will include why you want to study at the graduate level, why you are interested in a particular field and what you have done to prepare yourself for graduate study and your future career. It may also share your future career goals and how a program will help you achieve those goals. An effective statement will be clear, well-written and have a narrative flow that captures the reader’s attention and leaves them wanting to learn more about you.
An effective graduate school statement of purpose needs to hook the reader in the first sentence. Try to think of a specific experience or anecdote you can introduce to the reader in a creative and compelling way to open your essay. Continue building your narrative based on 1-3 experiences which shaped your desire to go to grad school or enter a specific career field.
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Have a question ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions, 19 comments.
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Hi Ablie! Thank you for your comment! We are glad you found this helpful!
Thanks a lot for your information. If my intended field of Ph.D. research is quite different from my previous research experiences, what am I suppose to do to link my previous interest with the new one? and Is it possible to have feedback on my writing?
Hello Ayman! Thank you for this wonderful question! It is not a problem that your previous research experience is not related to your new PhD interest. Even if they are not related in theme, it is important to showcase how your previous research experience honed your skills as a researcher. Demonstrate that the expertise that you acquired throughout your research history can be easily translated into this new field. Do not forget to give the admissions committee some sense of how you got interested in this new field, but it is not a problem that you decided to switch disciplines/interests. And of course we can help you with feedback on your writing. Please contact us for a free initial consultation (https://bemoacademicconsulting.com/Contact-Us.php) and we can discuss how we can help you make your statement the best it can be.
Ayman Alfadil, you are the winner of our weekly draw. Please email us by the end of the day tomorrow (June 19) at content[at]bemoacademicconsulting.com from the same email address you used to leave your comment to claim your prize!
This is indeed the best Statement of purpose ever ,I love everything written here! It has really help me thank you!!!
Hello Joana! Thanks for your comment! We are glad you enjoyed this article!
Hi...I want the sample for statement of purpose (for masters) where the student changes his filed/background/majors from science to IT... Atleast one sample which helps me to write my own. Thank you.
Hi Asra! Thanks for your comment and suggestion! We will try adding this kind of example as soon as possible!
I am so much in love with the way you make a big and difficult task simple. As a practitioner in adult education in Nigeria with over 6 years of experience, I intend to further my experience by having a Masters program in Canada. Problem is, my first degree is not in education, but Arts - Philosophy. I hope to scale through. Thank you for this great write ups.
Hi Segun! Thanks so much for your comment! We are glad you enjoyed the article. When you apply to a Master's program in Education, you do not need to have an undergrad degree in education. Your first degree in liberal arts will be a perfect fit for an Education graduate degree. Good luck and let us know if we can help you any further!
Chika happiness nwachukwu
Hi,indeed is the best statement of purpose ever,please I want the sample for statement of intents for masters,where the student changes his field,background/ majors from accounting education to educational foundations that will help me write my own. Thank you.
Hello Chika! Thanks for your comment! We will keep your request in mind when we update this blog! Thanks!
Hi, I wonder if you can only help me with SOP edits? Thanks.
Hello Bob! We can absolutely help you! Please contact us here https://bemoacademicconsulting.com/Contact-Us.php to schedule your free initial consultation.
Hi, this is the best article on SOP I have read. Please, I need your advice. I am very passionate about teaching. I studied English, but my M.A. thesis is related to pragmatic. How do I relate both to my deep flare for education?
Hello Nwabueze! Thanks for your comment. Try to reflect on what connects your educational and professional background to teaching? Just because your MA thesis is not related to education, it does not mean that it cannot inform your love for teaching. Try making connections between your experience in the MA and what you want to do next. Hope this helps!
Can i get samples of these write-ups in Music?
Hello Smuela! Thanks for your comment. When we update the blog, we will make sure to keep your request in mind.
Good morning, please I want to start up personal statement but don't seem to know how to go about it am applying for Agricultural science soil and water option. Please I will need a guide. Thank you
Hi Chisa! Thanks for your comment. Please feel free to reach out to us to discuss how we can help you with your personal statement! Look forward to hearing from you!
hey, thanks for the clear explanation, can you please help me write purpose statement for a journalism degree course
Hello Lucy! Please feel free to reach out to us to discuss how we can help you with your statement of purpose. Hope to hear from you!
This piece is extremely helpful
Hi Frimpong! Thanks! Glad you found this helpful!
Thank you for sharing this useful tips on SOPs.
Hello Anne! Thank you so much for your comment. Glad you found this helpful!
Elif Ülkü Türkoğlu
Thank you so much, this will be super helpful for my MA applications.
Hi Elif! Thanks for your comment! We are glad this is helpful!
Raphael Barrack Wangusu
Currently struggling with SOP preparations..i pursued Law for my bachelor degree and i wish to apply for masters scholarships in CANADA, UK, SWEEDN and USA. Thank you.
Hello Raphael! Thank you for your question. Please reach out to us for a free strategy call to discuss how we can help.
Amazing content! I've never seen it explained the way you guys did it here!! Thank you!!!
Hello Joy! We are very glad you found this helpful!
It made me understand clearly what i have to do. thank you
Thanks Tumie! Glad you found this helpful!
i cant find any sop become related to food science. I really need a sample to help me. Could you help me please
Hello Shabnam, thanks for your message. We will keep your request in mind for when we update this blog.
I have enjoyed reading every bit of this document. I am so enlightened by it. Thank you.
Hello Michael! Glad you found this helpful! Thanks for your comment.
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Personal statements for postgraduate applications
A well-crafted Masters personal statement is the key to convincing admissions tutors that you deserve a place on a postgraduate course. Discover the dos and don'ts of writing a personal statement and take a look at some examples for inspiration
What is a personal statement?
'We certainly find the personal statement an essential part of the application process,' says Helen Hayes, assistant registrar (postgraduate and non-standard admissions) at Aberystwyth University.
A Masters personal statement is a piece of writing that you submit as part of your postgraduate application . It's your first real chance to sell yourself to the university and to demonstrate to admissions tutors that you're right for the course.
It's likely that you've already written a personal statement for your Bachelors degree , so this should give you some idea of what to expect. However, don't be tempted to use your undergraduate personal statement as a template. You will have progressed academically since then and admissions tutors will want to see evidence of this.
Your postgraduate personal statement should be unique and tailored to the course that you're applying to. Use the opportunity to show off your academic interests and abilities, and to demonstrate that the programme will benefit from your attendance as much as you'll benefit from studying it.
'From an admissions officer perspective, given that we have to read a large number of personal statements, we are always keen to see enthusiasm, interest and passion for the subject emanating off the page,' adds Helen.
How long should a postgraduate personal statement be?
A Masters personal statement should be around 500 words. This equates to one side of A4. However, some universities require more, often two sides. Some institutions also set a character limit instead of a specific word count, so it's important that you check the application guidelines before starting to write your statement.
As they're relatively short in nature, don't waste words on autobiographical information. This isn't necessary in postgraduate personal statements. Instead, focus on why you want to study a particular programme and your potential to successfully complete the course.
What should I include in a Masters personal statement?
You should tailor your personal statement to fit the course you're applying for, so what to include will largely depend on the course requirements. However, in general you should write about:
- Your reasons for applying for a particular programme and why you deserve a place above other candidates - discuss your academic interests, career goals and the university and department's reputation, and write about which aspects of the course you find most appealing, such as modules or work experience opportunities. Show that you're ready for the demands of postgraduate life by demonstrating your passion, knowledge and experience.
- Your preparation - address how undergraduate study has prepared you for a postgraduate course, mentioning your independent work (e.g. dissertation) and topics that most interested you.
- Evidence of your skillset - highlight relevant skills and knowledge that will enable you to make an impact on the department, summarising your abilities in core areas including IT, numeracy, organisation, communication, time management and critical thinking. You can also cover any grades, awards, work placements, extra readings or conferences that you've attended and how these have contributed to your readiness for Masters study.
- Your goals - explain your career aspirations and how the course will help you achieve them. 'Describe how studying your chosen course fits in with your long-term ambitions and career path,' advises Helen.
Address any clear weaknesses, such as lower-than-expected module performance in your undergraduate degree or gaps in your education history. The university will want to know about these, so explain them with a positive spin. 'We look for positive reflection in situations like this,' explains Helen. 'Cover how things have been addressed and what will be different in your proposed postgraduate studies.'
How should I structure my personal statement?
Your personal statement should follow a logical, methodical structure, where each paragraph follows on from the one before. Make sure paragraphs are short, succinct, clear and to the point. Remember, you only have 500 words to use.
Capture the reader's attention with an enthusiastic introduction covering why you want to study a particular Masters. Then, engage the reader in your middle paragraphs by summing up your academic and employment background, evidencing your knowledge and skills and demonstrating why the course is right for you.
Your conclusion should be concise, summarising why you're the ideal candidate. Overall, aim for five or six paragraphs. You can use headings to break up the text if you prefer.
The majority of postgraduate applications are submitted online directly to the university. If this is the case, present your personal statement in a standard font such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman, text size 11 or 12. If your course application is submitted through UKPASS (UCAS's postgraduate application service) font style won't matter, as personal statements are automatically formatted.
How can I write a good postgraduate personal statement?
- Give yourself plenty of time and don't rush . Your personal statement can make or break your application so it needs to be perfect. Tutors can tell if you're bluffing, and showing yourself up as uninformed could be costly. Before you start, read the rules and guidelines provided, check the selection criteria and research the course and institution.
- The best personal statements adopt a positive, enthusiastic and professional tone and are presented in clear, short sentences . Avoid elaborate or overly complicated phrases. Unless otherwise stated, all postgraduate personal statements should be written in English and your spelling, grammar and punctuation must be spot on, as the personal statement acts as a test of your written communication ability.
- Don't use the same supporting statement for every course . Admissions tutors can spot copy-and-paste jobs. Generic applications demonstrate that you have little understanding of the course. In order to stand out from the crowd, Masters personal statements must be unique and specific to the course and institution.
- Draft and redraft your statement until you're happy . Then ask a friend, family member or careers adviser to read it. Proofreading is incredibly important to avoid mistakes. Memorise what you've written before any interviews.
What do I need to avoid?
- follow online examples too closely
- use your undergraduate UCAS application as a template
- be negative
- lie or exaggerate
- use clichés, gimmicks, humour, over-used words such as 'passion' or Americanisms
- include inspirational quotes
- make pleading/begging statements
- needlessly flatter the organisation
- include irrelevant course modules, personal facts or extra-curricular activities
- namedrop key authors without explanation
- use overly long sentences
- repeat information found elsewhere in your application
- leave writing your personal statement to the last minute.
How should I start my Masters personal statement?
Try not to waste too much time coming up with a catchy opening. The more you try, the more contrived you'll sound and the more likely you are to fall into the trap of using clichés.
Avoid using overused phrases, such as:
- For as long as I can remember…
- From a young age…
- I am applying for this course because…
- Throughout my life I have always enjoyed…
- I have always been interested in…
- I have always been passionate about…
- I have always wanted to pursue a career in…
- Reflecting on my educational experiences…
Admissions tutors read hundreds of applications per course so the opening paragraph of your personal statement needs to get straight to the point and make a real impact. Avoid overkill statements, gimmicks and popular quotes.
If you're really struggling, come back and tackle the opening once you have written the rest.
How should I end my personal statement?
Conclusions should be short, sharp and memorable, and leave no doubt in an admissions tutor's mind that you deserve a place on a course.
The perfect ending should pull all of your key points together without waffling or repeating yourself.
Like the rest of your Masters personal statement, keep the ending simple. Be succinct and make it clear why you'll be an asset to the university and end on a positive note, with a statement about why the institution would be lucky to have you as a student.
What are admissions tutors are looking for?
- an explanation of how the course links your past and future
- an insight into your academic and non-academic abilities, and how they'll fit with the course
- evidence of your skills, commitment and enthusiasm
- knowledge of the institution's area of expertise
- reasons why you want to study at the institution
- demonstrable interest in the subject, perhaps including some academic references or readings.
Personal statement examples
The style and content of your postgraduate personal statement depends on several variables, such as the type of qualification that you're applying for - such as a Masters degree , a conversion course or teacher training . Here are some postgraduate personal statement templates to help you get started:
Law personal statement
You'll apply for an LLM the same way you would for any other Masters, directly to the university. Whether you're undertaking a general LLM or a more specific programme, such as an LLM in human rights or international business law, you'll need to convey why you want to study the law in more depth and how this could potentially aid your career. Discover more about LLM degrees .
Psychology personal statement
Applications for conversion courses such as these are fairly straightforward and made directly to individual institutions. You need to explain why you want to change subjects and how your current subject will help you. Explain what experience you have that will help with your conversion subject, and what you hope to do in the future. Learn more about psychology conversion courses .
Social work personal statement
If your Bachelors degree was in an unrelated subject but you now have ambitions to work as a social worker you'll need a Masters in social work (MSW) to qualify. Social work Masters have a substantial work placement element so you'll need to cover what you hope to achieve during this time as well as demonstrate other relevant experience. Find out more about social work courses .
PGCE primary personal statement
As well as detailing why you want to work with this particular age group, a PGCE primary personal statement should highlight the ways in which your educational background has inspired you to teach. You'll need to cover relevant skills you have gained and any related work experience, as well as demonstrate your knowledge of the primary national curriculum. Read up on PGCEs .
PGCE secondary personal statement
You'll need to cover why you want to teach at secondary level while also acknowledging the pressures and challenges of working with older pupils. As you'll be teaching a specific subject, you'll need to evidence your knowledge in this area and demonstrate how your first degree was relevant. It's also essential to highlight any related work or voluntary experience. Learn more about teaching personal statements .
Find out more
- Search postgraduate courses .
- Find out what else you must consider when applying for a Masters degree .
- Completed your application? Discover what postgraduate interview questions you may be asked.
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Graduate School Personal Statement Examples: Good, Bad, & Everything In Between
Your personal statement should demonstrate that you have thought deeply about why you are making the decision to go to grad school and that your decision is one that will endure the challenges that graduate school presents. Sounds a little challenging? Don’t worry, this blog post will break down the strategy of writing a strong personal statement for graduate school.
Comparing Graduate School Personal Statement Examples
Below I will share types of personal statement examples: one with a strong writing approach and one that lacks clarity and may cause confusion for an admissions committee reader. Then I will describe the strengths and weaknesses of each example.
Introduction Paragraph Examples:
Ex. 1-Strong) The ocean is as fundamental to our lives as any other ecological habitat, so why don’t we have systems in place to treat it that way? Growing up in Monterey, California I was first introduced to marine biology through my advanced placement biology class. While in community college I helped form a student-led monthly beach clean-up team. This rewarding experience led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in Biology with an emphasis in ocean preservation. My passion for developing innovative and culturally informed approaches to marine preservation on a global scale have led me to pursue a doctorate in the field of marine biology. My desired research focus will explore solutions to the impacts of micro plastics in our ocean.
Ex. 2-Weak) Yea sure, the ocean is in a devastated condition, but what are we going to do about it? Well, with my degree in bio I plan to get a PhD in marine biology to help figure out how to address micro plastics in our ocean. I know so much already, and I just know that with a PhD I will be able to contribute on a greater scale. I know the PhD is a lot of work, but I am pretty sure I will be able to complete the program and have a great time doing so. I have always wanted to live in Santa Barbara, and that is definitely a part of my decision to apply to your program.
Conclusion Paragraph Examples:
Ex. 1-Strong) As a first generation college student, and an English language learner, my journey to receive my bachelors of science in marine biology has been tough. Along the way I have developed leadership skills, research and lab experience, as well as a refined passion for the work that marine biologists are able to do when informed by the local community members. I desire to continue my studies with an emphasis on ocean preservation research through the innovative and unique PhD program offered at UC Santa Barbara. It would be an honor to work with Dr. Jonas Mendoza and Dr. Raquel Pacheco, two professors whose work aligns with my research interests and who have been welcoming and encouraging through our email correspondence. While my research goals are ambitious, I am confident that your program offers the resources and mentorship required for a unified effort to resolve the impact that microplastics have on not only human life, but all marine animals and ecosystems.
Ex2. -Weak) I think it’s a miracle that I even completed my B.S degree! That’s how I know that with the funding and laid back atmosphere at UC Santa Barbara I can definitely complete the PhD. I’m not so interested in the teaching part, or the amount of course work I would be required to take, but I just know that once I get out there and get into the water, it will all be worth it. My research experience is competitive and top-notch, I am a great person to work with and easily make friends. I am hopeful to hear back and excited for the next steps! Thanks for reading this far.
Diving Deeper Into Personal Statement Examples
So, let’s discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the examples above!
- Throughout the paragraph the applicant demonstrates that they have been involved with marine biology since high school, this is important because it demonstrates their commitment to the field early on in the essay
- The applicant mentions a desire to live in Santa Barbara, while it may be true, it is not a strong enough reason to pursue a PhD and signals to the admissions committee that you may be pursuing the program for the wrong reasons. Keep details like this out of your personal statement and focus on reasons for applying that are academically motivated.
- The applicant concludes by mentioning the importance of a “unified effort” for their research goals. This goes a long way to demonstrate that they understand how important collaborative effort is. This helps make an applicant more attractive in the eyes of an admissions committee that must also consider the work ethic of all applicants.
- The applicant describes their research experience as “competitive and top-notch”, even if you have the most impressive curriculum vitae focus on instead listing what you have done, with who and what they outcomes were and let the admissions committee decide how they interpret it.
So, what makes a good personal statement?
Your personal statement will be one amongst many that a committee of real people will read to assess who you are. you have to remember that the committee members do not get to meet you before they read your application materials. you cannot risk leaving out crucial information. oftentimes, students struggle to talk about themselves, they see it as “bragging” or “showing off”. it is important that you overcome your discomfort and realize that the personal statement is essentially the first impression you will make on the committee. make the most of the opportunity to introduce yourself and make sure to address the following:.
- Why now? Admissions committees have been through graduate school. They know better than anyone that graduate school is not a choice one makes simply because “you don’t know what else to do”. Demonstrate that you are prepared for the commitment and the work by specifying why you have decided that graduate school is the best option for you at this time and that your current and past experiences align with your intentions if admitted into the program.
A good personal statement will address all of these questions and be mindful about appropriate boundaries with each. Ultimately, it will demonstrate to the committee that you are prepared for the program, that you are likely to succeed if admitted, and that you are passionate about and committed to pursuing a career in which the training and the degree that you will receive is imperative to your future goals.
The importance of a clear narrative:
A clear narrative will allow for the admissions committee to extract the necessary information about you without any hassle. Remember that you are one applicant amongst many, when writing your personal statement do not assume that your reader will know the importance of any information or the necessary context if you do not provide these details for them. Consider these tips when writing:
- Do not overestimate the importance of proofreading! Read your essays out loud and record the audio while doing it. Does it flow? Does it answer every question provided in the prompt (if provided one)? I recommend finding at least one person who is in graduate school and preferably within your field to read your essay.
Summary and Major Takeaways
The personal statement is usually just 1-2 pages. With a document this short and with so much importance towards your chances of admission, every word matters! Consider these takeaways as you prepare and always remember you can reach out to us at Magoosh for more in-depth and personalized support.
Do this before you get to writing. Gather information from this blog post, the programs official website, any correspondence between you and professors or graduate students at each program you will be applying to, and develop a document that lists every experience and detail you wish to include. Use this as a reference as you write so that you are certain you are hitting every point.
Do not skip this step! Seek out support from current graduate students or a writing service for some feedback. Double check for any language that is too casual, or can be off putting or concerning to anyone who will review your application.
Remember that admissions committees are made up of real people who read an unbelievable amount of applications. Do your best to stand out, really think about what sets you apart and what skills you have developed throughout your life that are relevant to the program you are pursuing. After you have your first draft, focus on language and phrases that are both professional and captivating to your reader. Sprinkle in some flare!
Verónica Mandujano is an Admissions Instructor at Magoosh. She supports students throughout their application process in various forms including live classes on an array of topics, writing support and coaching. She is excited to be able to share from her past and current experiences as a PhD student and as an instructor at the University of California, Santa Barbara where her research employs interdisciplinary methods to address birthing justice, the colonial impacts of obstetrics, and the re-matriation of ancestral plant birthing medicine. She is a creative writer, a proud chihuahua momma, and a firm believer in never putting your taco down once you take the first bite.
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