A Comprehensive Guide to Statement of Purpose Writing Examples

A statement of purpose is a great way to make yourself remarked for your qualities and to show your intentions to colleges and workplaces. Today we are going to focus on the educational aspect of a statement of purpose. Education plays a vital role in society; it acts as a source of information about ourselves and gives leverage to turn it into something better. As a student, you are taught and learn how to use your education to achieve your personal and professional goals.

In the higher education sequence, there are various stages but one factor remains common – to advance to the next stage your admission, you require a great written Statement of Purpose. Here, we outline the basic steps on how to write a detailed essay and impress every admission committee.

Statement of Purpose: Definition

To truly your every professor, your statement of purpose has to be perfectly written. Following format rules or basic word count requirements do not guarantee an impeccable statement of purpose. To achieve the intended result, your SoP has to be error-free and should be of academic standards. Editing and proofreading your SoP aren’t the easiest of tasks as it’s quite difficult to find and correct mistakes in your own work.

Asides error tendencies, doubts about the suitability of your work also pop up; increasing the hurdles to get the perfect Statement of Purpose. You most definitely know the importance of this essay and this is why you must work hard to improve your writing and create a valid statement of purpose that will achieve its goal.

Statement of Purpose: Types

Every college and university provides application manuals with specific requirements. To scale this hurdle, your statement of purpose needs to meet the provided criteria in order to receive consideration by the admission committee. This means your application essay will have to meet specific word count and formatting requirements. However, the ultimate success of your SoP task lies in knowing the different types of SoP.

The personal statement can be classified into several categories with respect to the choice program you wish to enroll for or the purpose of writing such a statement.

Statement of Interest for Graduate School

Personal statements for graduate school are quite different from essays written when starting college education. As in the latter, the student is perceived to lack focus on academic results and other important facts. However, for admission essays into graduate school, it a more complex essay with a higher rating.

While writing a paper for grad school, the applicant should focus on reasons for applying to the proposed program and clearly state his/her preparedness for this field of study. Additionally, applicant students should also include research and study interests, career plans and other background information that could influence the committee decision, as they evaluate his/her motivation and suitability for the graduate program.

Statement of Intent / Letter of Intent

A statement of intent refers to essay applications for graduate school in an academic subject. Example: Ph.D. in Biology. It is erroneously believed that a letter of intent is just another expression for a personal statement; it is in the applicant’s best interest to discard this assumption. The statement of intent contains information on your research interests and career goals. The paper requires the applicant to clearly describe the subject area of interest, what he/she intend to research within the program and what academic or research experiences have been garnered so far.

NOTE: This is in contrast to the personal statement which is solely focused on personal and educational experiences.

Statement of Purpose for Ph.D. Applicants

The Ph.D. statement of purpose provides more details about the applicant’s background, motivations for undertaking postgraduate studies and related experiences in the field. Bearing in mind that Ph.D. is the highest academic qualification possible to have, it is expected that students have gained the necessary experience to allow them to focus primarily on their research/academic results.

Ph.D. SoP is similar to the grad school SoP but entails more concise info on previous projects and description of the goal of his/her current research.

Tips for Writing Statement of Purpose for Grad School

Since grad school SoP is your first contact and introductory statement to the admission committee, it is important to make it stand out so you increase your chances of scaling this requirement. The relevance of this essay will most likely have you tensed and confused about how to impress the admission panel. Here are tips to help you.

How to write a good Statement of Purpose:

  • Do not include unnecessary personal information or irrelevant details.

  • Rather include facts in an orderly format; stating your knowledge and intellectual capabilities to the admission committee in clear words.

  • Determine achivements and results, avoid use of superficial expressions.

  • Be specific and direct, avoid text fluffing

  • Write with a conventional, but friendly tone

  • Decide how you want to portray yourself and make sure the information you enter helps you convey that message

  • Be yourself, avoid exaggerations or undue hype

  • Do not make excuse yourself from not achieving things using the SoP

  • Do not recycle your statements for the applications

  • Give reasons why you should be in a specific program rather than pleading committee to accept your application

  • Avoid the use of excessive vocabulary especially those you don’t understand

  • Include details of your professional journey through different levels of education and argue how important this next step is in helping you achieve more

  • Edit, revise and proofread

Important Features of a Statement of Purpose

Your SoP should include:

  • Motivation and inspiration to follow a given program

  • Any experience that influenced your decision or interest in this specific field (but don’t rely solely on this)

  • Research, internship, previous work experience or other activities in your field where you participated

  • Detailed information about course and professors in courses you’ve already taken

  • A clear description of your short and long term goals

  • An explanation of the ways this specific program would impact on your academic and career goals

Steps to Start a Statement of Purpose

Ready to write your SoP, but don’t know how to start? Well, beginnings are usually the hardest parts of every process. When ideas start flowing, it gets a lot easier and smooth. These highlighted steps will help you get started:

  • Have a clearly stated goal – this is an important first step to get started. You need to have a clear goal regarding your education, career preference and what you want to achieve with the specific program. Without a clear-cut goal, conveying your intentions in the SoP becomes difficult.

  • List your reasons for enrolling into the program - take a note and write down your motivation or other reasons why you think a specific graduate program will help you reach your goals. Writing this down will help you recall these points later on research.

  • Research – next you proceed to research. Research in this case will entail finding information about the university, its programs, professors, your chosen field, current developments and updated information regarding your academic interest and many more. Research is great for generating ideas and will help you write a well-informed paper.

  • Writing Proper – with the above steps fulfilled, you can now proceed to write the first draft on your PC or a blank piece of paper. At this point, do not get overly concerned about sentence structures and other factors; just write down all that comes to mind. Once done, read your draft and make corrections or adjustments where necessary and adhere to requirements. Also, eliminate mistakes and unnecessary parts.

  • Be sure to have a catchy introduction, one that is sure to grab the reader’s attention immediately.

Ideal Length of a Statement of Purpose

The size of a statement of purpose varies from one university to another. However, standard SoP ranges from 500 to 1000 words. You’ll get a list of the format and writing guidelines to follow in the requirements page. One example is double-spaced, font size. It is advised you stick to the given description and do not exceed the limit imposed.

Statement of Purpose Examples

Sometimes, the application material will include questions that are needed to be answered, while usually, students are free to compose their applications from scratch. Students could experience difficulty trying to determine what they are going to write about, so here are a couple of great examples that can help students to compose the perfect statement of purpose possible.

Statement of Purpose Examples for Grad School (Sample Questions)

  • Why is the purpose of your application?

  • Why made you choose this particular program?

  • What influenced your choice of this given college?

  • What is your level of experience in this area?

  • What do you want to do after graduating?

  • What expectations do you have of this graduate program and the university?

Sample Questions for Letter of Intent

  • What do you plan to do, professionally with this degree?

  • What is your reason for applying to this program?

  • To what extent has your academic or work experience prepared you for this program?

Statement of Intent (Sample Questions)

  • What do you seek to achieve your studies?

  • What is your favorite part about the program?

  • How can the program help you achieve your goals?

  • Describe your previous research works and how they made you choose the respective program

  • In what ways can this program help you get past problems you experienced in previous studies?

Here’s Two Statements of Purpose

This sample focuses on an Information Technology applicant:

The main appeal for me in IT stems from a number of factors, not only that I have university study and work experience in computer science as a related field to Information technology but I have loved technology since I was a little boy. Both experiences have shown clearly that computer science and its related IT field cover a broad area of which expertise in a particular field will yield huge benefits.

I’ve experienced how important computers and IT are to individuals, modern companies and the global populace and have realized the need to explore and contribute my quota to the advancement of this industry. Virtually all spheres of human endeavor now incorporate IT hence, growing demand for professionals in this field to keep up with the increasing need for IT services and products.

Although IT is gradually becoming a common space in most organizations and human sectors, my plan is to promote a well-developed information technology ecosystem to support emerging technologies and seek out more inclusion in areas where IT is yet to be applied.

As the world tends to technology, it is my desire to be a part of this revolution. I am determined to apply to the MSc Information Technology program taking into consideration my job experience in IT and computing, which has equipped me with a great start where I can build my knowledge.

One of the reasons for which I applied to this specific program is the fact that this university is ranked among the best IT schools globally, its reputation for producing very sound graduates in this field, it utilizes the latest tech and trend strategies for students, giving them a competitive advantage in the IT field. The program is interesting, it helps students think for themselves and my work experience will come in handy as I build my knowledge base. I held various jobs while at the university and I also interned at Seattle-based IT company. One of my favorite things to do was to understudy with the IT team and provide support services for clients 24/7.

The environment in which I worked in was creative and demanding, but also revelation seeing the important role of IT. This job position made me more independent, helped me develop my skills and kept me updated with trends around the IT industry. We live in a world where Information Technology is important. Specializing in Information technology will provide a platform to explore my creativity and offer my expertise to numerous sectors. After completing my master's degree, it is my goal to use all the knowledge I gained to help companies, both big and small, scale up with IT trends and utilize its many resources in the best possible manner.

Additionally, I want to help new entrants and young people with interest in IT achieve success in their career.

This sample focuses on different personal approach:

I had not yet finished my bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez when I began to feel that I should acquire experience in the field of research and to familiarize myself with the lifestyle of scientists. It was then that I managed to work as a research assistant in the UPRM's biochemistry laboratory in 2012, and there I discovered my goal: to undertake postgraduate studies in cellular and molecular biology at the same university. I had enjoyed this type of work very much and specially to participate in innovative projects and exchange ideas with successful biologists. However, although I would like to run the lab team and process research results, I also want to be part of the team that runs the project. My senior colleagues have fueled my ambition and I feel that I have the potential to begin my master's degree. Cell biology and biochemistry really captured my interest in my undergraduate studies. During this stage, I learned that cell biology is an interdisciplinary enterprise: you need to have a foundation in chemistry and physics in order to be at the forefront. This interacts well with my skills. I consider it a challenge to apply my knowledge to solve practical problems. For this reason, I chose to carry out a research project related to the behavior of protein molecules in high-energy fields in the 2010-2011 academic year with Dr. Alvarado, a protein specialist, as a mentor. The university scientists were impressed with my abilities and wrote the recommendations that guided me to my current job. Many people ask me why I did not continue with my master's degree studies after having graduated from high school. My answer is that I wanted to assure myself of my passion and to think well about the decisions that I must make for the academic future. The recess has provided the time to work with the local Natural History Society in which we create awareness in the community about the environmental problems that threaten it. She is also a member and organizer of the Puerto Rican Society of Film Documentary, where we see and discuss international documentary films. I like the multidisciplinary activities and I would like to be part of the Film Society of the UPRM to continue expanding my horizons and contribute my knowledge about scientific films to help them in their Growth. Having selected the master's program in cellular and molecular biology at the UPRM has been greatly influenced by the way in which the curriculum addresses biology at the molecular, genetic and cellular levels. I am particularly excited about the possibility of taking courses in Developmental Biology and Bioinformatics. It motivates me to deal closely with Dr. Borges and Dr. Vargas because his research works resemble what I aspire to be my thesis topic. I have maintained contact with students of the program who have spoken very well about the offers and the people who participate in it. My long-term goal is to carry out doctoral studies in cell biology after completing the master's degree. That is why I am willing to take the academic challenge of pursuing my master's degree in UPRM and I know that I will be able to meet all the requirements of the degree.

Many people asked me why did I not continue with my master's degree studies after having graduated from high school. My answer is that I wanted to assure myself of my passion and to think well about the decisions that I must make for the academic future. The pause has provided the time to work with the local Natural History Society in which we create awareness in the community about the environmental problems that threaten it. I am also a member and organizer of the Puerto Rican Society of Film Documentary, where we see and discuss international documentary films. I like the multidisciplinary activities and I would like to be part of the Film Society of the UPRM to continue expanding my horizons and contribute my knowledge about scientific films to help them in their increase

Having selected the master's program in cellular and molecular biology at the UPRM has greatly influenced the way in which the curriculum addresses biology at the molecular, genetic and cellular levels. I am particularly excited about the possibility of taking courses in Developmental Biology and Bioinformatics. It motivates me to deal closely with Dr. Borges and Dr. Vargas because his research works resemble what I aspire to be my thesis topic. I have maintained contact with students of the program who have spoken very well about the offers and the people who participate in it. My long-term goal is to carry out doctoral studies in cell biology after completing the master's degree. That is why I am willing to take the academic challenge of pursuing my master's degree in UPRM and I know that I will be able to meet all the requirements of the degree.

In conclusion

To impress your professors, your statement of purpose has to be well articulated. Adhering to format instructions and word count rules are not enough. The paper also has to be error-free and on par with academic standards which should not be hard if you are following the guidelines mentioned above.

Editing your SoP isn’t an easy task because it’s difficult to find and correct mistakes in your own work. Coupled with doubts about what parts to delete or include in your final submission. This essay is too important to do it on your own.

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