Statement of Purpose Grad School
Most universities require applicants to write a statement of purpose to enquire about what they wish to pursue and why they wish to pursue it, especially at the particular university the applicant has applied to. This requirement touches upon the application’s subjective side, while the objective part is largely covered by GPAs, Academic Transcripts, and the likes. Universities receive thousands of applications each year, most of them from Students who may very well be as good as the next. Therefore, it is essential to write a compelling Statement of Purpose to stick out and be picked from among other applicants of similar academic standing. Besides seeking to understand the applicant’s aims and goals, a Statement of Purpose for Grad School is meant to throw light on their life, motivations and events, and incidents that may have influenced their career path. In this student help guide, we will shed light on the statement of purpose for grad school, including how to write it, what constitutes the statement of purpose, and all other details.
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What is a Statement of Purpose for Graduate School
In plain and simple terms, a Statement of Purpose is a long essay stating the purpose of applying for a particular Program at a particular University. The gist of this essay specifically covers who you are, who you want to become, and your readiness to pursue the program in question. So, in essence, what is a Statement of Purpose for Grad School? It is a document that provides an opportunity for the candidate to showcase their strengths, weaknesses, aims, objectives, and motivations, along with a brief background and an insight into the chosen career path. Therefore, it is one of the main requisites of a complete application to a Graduate School Program.
Statement of Purpose Grad School Template
Seeing how a Statement of Purpose is subjective by nature requires no specific template or format an applicant must follow. However, there are certain basic dos and don’ts that one needs to keep in mind, starting with the font size used to the actual content that goes into the Statement of Purpose.
A Graduate School Statement of Purpose Template broadly consists of a few major sections and components that follow a simple yet logical layout. One could spruce things up a little by adding some color, styles, and graphical elements, but overdoing all of that could very well rob the thunder from the actual content. It is therefore important to strike a fair balance between “decoration” and content.
Sections of a Statement of Purpose for Grad School
A Statement of Purpose should have certain key sections laid out logically and in sequence. Additional sections or components may be added, provided they lend cause and character to the document and further compliment or substantiate the points you wish to make.
A sample Statement of Purpose for graduate school would have outlined all the checkpoints effectively, and this can be used to write a new and fresh one from the ground-up.
Not all of the following sections/components need to make it to a Statement of Purpose for Grad School. Depending on what the university’s requirements are, including them would be prudent:
Provide a brief introduction of yourself and your background.
- Academic Background
Outline your academic achievements and accomplishments.
- Professional Experience
Summarize your professional experience, especially that which is relevant to the program.
- Career Goals and Objectives
Spell out your career path, objectives, and goals that you think the program will support.
- Reason for choosing the program applied for
Demonstrate your interest in the program and its compelling features.
- Reason for applying at the chosen university
Provide a compelling reason for choosing the university and why you think it suits your needs.
- Referrals (if any)
Some Universities ask for referrals. If so, mention only those that are important and not more than two.
Wrap it all up by a quick summary of the Statement of Purpose that emphasizes qualifications and compatibility with the university.
Graduate School Statement of Purpose Template
A Graduate School Statement of Purpose Template contains certain sections, components, and formatting requisites, all put together for good presentability and make it an easy read. While there is no set or best Graduate School Statement of Purpose Template, one can certainly create one that suits one’s needs while adhering to general norms and the university’s specific requirements, if any.
Since formatting is part of a good Template, it is essential to pay attention to presentability and the actual content. To do so, one must maintain adequate margins on all four sides of the document, pick a generic, crisp and legible font, choose a consistent font size for headings and paragraph text and keep an acceptable line space of 1.2pt or 1.5pt. Most Universities accept the ‘US Letter’ as a standard size, but some accept this and the ‘A4’ size as well. It is always advisable to read the university’s instructions before embarking on writing a Statement of Purpose.
How to write a Statement of Purpose for Grad School
There is a simple solution to how to write a State of Purpose for grad school. Contrary to popular belief, writing one is not rocket science. So long as one can furnish all details expected to be written in the document, one can successfully and easily get down to writing an excellent statement of purpose. Keeping to simple and basic guidelines without overdoing anything is important, failing which the SoP may be discarded for want of expected content or clarity. The process outlined below is simple, easy to follow, and standard practice:
- Step 1: Brainstorm & Ideate
The first step to take before writing a Statement of Purpose is to brainstorm with some sheets of paper and a pen. Get the brain jogging and think of all that can be thrown into the statement of purpose – random thoughts, events, anecdotes, incidents, and anything that simply springs to mind. Formulate ideas and capture a theme or focal point for the SoP, around which everything else can revolve or relate.
- Step 2: Summarize, Condense & Outline
Once the brainstorming is done, pick and choose the best points to go into the Statement of Purpose. This process is a good method to short-list thoughts, points, and ideas and do away with irrelevant, over-the-top, arbitrary, or simply in excess. Before proceeding, prepare the short-list and look to see whether the points can be linked up or not.
- Step 3: Prepare the First Draft
From the points in the short-list, start preparing the first draft of the Statement of Purpose. Do not worry just yet about the logic of the essay or flow. Concentrate instead on expounding the actual point and writing it skillfully and tactfully. While writing, should additional thoughts spring to mind, jot them down and continue without hesitation.
- Step 4: Format & Arrange
Once the first draft is ready, commence with formatting it. Check the document’s margins, select a beautiful, legible font, set a suitable font-size, and pick a decent line-spacing. If other styling options may be required to apply, now is a good time to do so. Following this, arrange or rearrange points and paragraphs to better connect them or help with a logical flow. Articulate all points well and see that the overall essay is free of fluff and clutter.
- Step 5: Reviewing, Editing, and Refining
This step is perhaps the most important step, which, unfortunately, many candidates skip altogether. It is extremely vital to review the first draft, edit the points that have been made, refine the vocabulary and grammar and correct any glaring errors, textual or otherwise. Writing a second draft after affecting all these changes and then reading this second draft several times will ensure that the content is rich and error-free. Do note that getting a mentor, teacher, or a relative to read the last draft and provide feedback or suggestions is a good idea. However, ensure that such person or persons have a fair understanding of a Statement of Purpose and preferably some experience in such matters.
- Step 6: Polishing & Fine-Tuning
If the second or subsequent drafts are satisfactory, review the last draft again – from top to bottom – and polish the rough edges. If there are points that need tinkering or fine-tuning, change them carefully, without dislodging them completely (thereby making them irrelevant.) Check for errors and typos and see if the styling is pleasing to the eye and enticing enough. Finally, make sure that everything is now concise and well-organized, ready to be published.
- Step 7: Publishing or Printing
Some Universities require the applicant to attach the Statement of Purpose to the application and supporting documents/transcripts. If such is the case, print the Statement of Purpose on crisp, thick, wrinkle-free, and crease-free paper. Do not fold the printed sheets and ensure that they do not have ‘dog-ears’ as well. Staple two or more sheets only once.
Alternatively, some Universities may require the applicant to upload the Statement of Purpose on a designated webpage. When doing so, one must stick to a standard Portable Document Format (PDF), unless specified otherwise and keep the file size to around or less than 2MB. It is also a good idea to encrypt the document with a password to prevent editing.
What to avoid in a Statement of Purpose for Grad School
In the interest of being admitted to a particular Program at a particular University, it is common enough for applicants to be overenthusiastic about a Statement of Purpose and its intent. There are a few things to bear in mind and avoid, if the document is to be read and not set aside, such as:
- Elaborating your childhood
A Statement of Purpose is not a historical document and does not warrant a detailed account of the candidate’s childhood, complete with events, dates, and protagonists, thrown in.
- Beating around the bush
It is easy to get carried away and keep writing page after page about a particular section or point without actually making sense or ever arriving at the point! One must be concise and to-the-point, avoiding boring details and an overload of information with no actual bottom-line insight. Keeping sentences short while conveying what they are meant to convey will keep the Statement of Purpose concise, as it should be.
- Sounding profound and intellectual
A Statement of Purpose is meant to highlight the applicant’s reason for applying to a specific program at a particular University, along with a brief academic background and listing of professional experience, in addition to other relevant information. It is not there as an editorial or column article that seeks to expound a philosophical point by any stretch of the imagination. Therefore, one must never make or explicate moral, religious, political, or opinionated statements and go astray from a Statement of Purpose’s actual requisites.
- Getting technical and using excessive jargon
Getting technical or, for that matter, using jargon that has precious little to do with the actual point will put off the reader of the Statement of Purpose. An applicant must never try to sound knowledgeable with the use of complex terms, technical details, or vocabulary and jargon that do not serve the purpose. Keeping things simple and conveying all that is expected to be conveyed in a Statement of Purpose will suffice.
Statement of Purpose Grad School Examples
A good Statement of Purpose should always leave a mark on the reader and explain why the applicant is the ideal candidate for the program being applied to. There are thousands of Statement of Purpose Grad School Examples available online, but in tune with all that has been outlined so far, here is an example that may serve as an indicator of how one should be written:
Statement of Purpose: Master of Science (Computer Technology), Colorado State University
“I was seven years old when my father brought home our very first computer. To me, it was a true wonder, a magical machine that could mysteriously do so much. My fascination for it grew by the day, and it would not be long before I decided to make Computer Science my elective throughout my academic life. Fortunately, being blessed with a creative and logical mind, I could see endless possibilities of dealing with complex problems and finding simple solutions with Computers’ aid. I always found and continued to find my code’s running to be exceedingly exhilarating and exciting each time it fulfilled its purpose. This feeling and love for programming has propelled me to apply for an MS in Computer Science.
Dabbling with computers and pursuing my strong interest in Computer Science has helped me develop and hone my analytical and reasoning skills. Throughout my four-year Bachelor of Science (Computer Technology) Program at the University of Denver, Colorado, I acquired adequate knowledge to top the class while developing a deeper insight and overall perspective of this scientific discipline. Further strengthening my interest in the subject was Object-Oriented Programming and Database Management, two areas that captured my attention and resulted in my involvement with several projects. Soon and sure enough, I found myself helping with programming and prototyping at our University’s Incubation Center.
My keen interest in Computer Science and my ever-increasing quest for knowledge took me beyond the University Campus and into the research and development labs of Apple Inc. I participated in summer projects and eventually interned. I was trained specifically in Event Handlers and BlockChain, two areas I went on to love and understand more than I ever imagined. For my final dissertation at the University of Denver, I teamed up with two of my classmates to develop an iOS App for dyslexic learners. Supported by Boulder Labs, we crafted complex algorithms and scripts that would elicit the desired response from a dyslexic user to a specific requirement from him/her. In recognition of our efforts and innovation, we were adjudged ‘The Most Promising Technology’ for the year 2020 by Boulder Labs and graciously accepted the ‘Seeking Change for the Greater Good’ award from Helping Hand Charitable Foundation, Denver, Colorado.
While Computer Science was my driving force throughout my academic life, it did not prevent me from other pleasures and pursuits at all. I participated in a wide range of extracurricular activities that ensured better development of my overall personality. When presented with an opportunity, I took part in debates, group dancing, elocution, and chess challenges, in addition to fulfilling my curiosity with photography and pottery. Being wiry in form helped me in athletics and the team sport of basketball, showing me how I could work alone or work as a team. Apart from this, I was the Student Representative of the Department of Computer Science for four years, which had me liaising between the students and the administration. In this role, I was responsible for scheduling additional lectures for classes, assisting the faculty advisor in running the department, and resolving any issues students may have encountered. This experience bolstered my administrative abilities while bringing to the fore my leadership and social skills.
Having acquired a solid foundation in Computer Science through – a robust undergraduate program, various projects, assignments, internships in the IT industry, participation in extracurricular activities, and considerable exposure to administrative and social responsibilities, I am convinced beyond doubt that this is the right time to pursue my graduate studies. I desire to understand Computer Science’s nuances further, amass new knowledge, understand the latest technologies, and take advantage of the vast industry of Information and Technology. My ability to constructively work with both the creative and logical words, I am sure, will present ample opportunities to address some of today’s and tomorrow’s problems and find simple, effective, and practical solutions to them. My deepest desire is to one day build technology that will enable the challenged and slow learners to be on par with their abled peers and, in consequence, make them upright and outstanding individuals.
The MS in Computer Science offered by the Colorado State University will undoubtedly provide me with an astute education, complete with the right skills, knowledge, and exposure to pursue my dreams to the fullest. The invaluable combination of coursework, research programs, and lab work on offer will allow me to enhance my understanding of the subject while honing the skills necessary for executing it. I am immensely confident that an MS in Computer Science at the Colorado State University will strengthen and further build my knowledge base while adding (tremendous) potential to realize my professional goals.
By the time I am through with my Bachelor of Science, I shall be truly ready to take on my MS in Computer Technology with focus, intent, and zeal.
This graduate school Statement of Purpose example largely covers the major sections and components required to go in. It is short, concise, and relays all the information relevant to the applicant, his or her accomplishments, the program, and the university.”
FAQs about Statement of Purpose Grad School
|Q: How to start a statement of purpose for grad school?|
|A: The best way to begin preparing a Statement of Purpose for Grad School is to brainstorm first, collect ideas and points and then pen them down, not necessarily in a logical or chronological order. Composing thoughts and deciding on what must go in is perhaps the most crucial part of the whole process of writing a Statement of Purpose.|
|Q: How important is the statement of purpose for grad school?|
|A: A Statement of Purpose for Grad School is arguably just as important as Scorecards and Academic Transcripts that accompany an application to a University. While the latter serves as the objective part of the application, a Statement of Purpose satisfies the subjective part – wherein the applicant should substantiate why he/she would be a good fit for the program.|
|Q: How to end a grad school statement of purpose?|
|A: A Grad School Statement of Purpose should always end with a closing paragraph or conclusion, in which the candidate should speak of their readiness towards signing-up for the chosen program. Sounding prepared, motivated, and focused is always a good idea.|
|Q: How to format a statement of purpose for grad school?|
|A: Formatting, a Statement of Purpose, is fairly simple and straightforward. The main sections should be split into paragraphs; adequate margins should be maintained, all in a font and font size that is clear and legible. A 1.2pt or 1.5pt line spacing is also recommended.|
|Q: How long should a grad school statement of purpose be?|
|A: A Statement of Purpose should ideally be between 1 and 2 pages long with 750 to 1000 words in all. However, the length of a Statement of Purpose may vary based on the university being applied for and any specific requirement the chosen university has.|
|Q: How can I write a Perfect Statement of Purpose for Grad School?|
|A: There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ Statement of Purpose for Grad School, as the document is subjective and open to interpretation. Sticking to the basic guidelines and fulfilling what the university may have asked for in a Statement of Purpose will certainly help. However, it is the actual content and the way it is written to make a good and compelling document.|
|Q: Can a Statement of Purpose help with a Scholarship for Grad School?|
|A: Yes and no – it depends on the University and Program being applied for. If an applicant is eligible for a Scholarship, it is general practice for the University or the Scholarship Committee to ask for a separate Statement of Purpose. If such is the case, the applicant is typically required to outline why they are a deserving candidate for the Scholarship and what makes them unique from the rest of the candidates.|
|Q: How is a Statement of Purpose different from a Personal Statement?|
|A: A Statement of Purpose seems similar to a Personal Statement, apart from a few aspects. While a statement of purpose focuses on the candidate’s motivation, goals, and purpose for applying to the chosen Program and University, a Personal Statement is more personal; it generally seeks to understand the applicant beyond academics and general perception of a character.|
Additional Resources for writing Statement of Purpose Grad School
One can find several journals in libraries and many websites available to write an excellent Statement of Purpose for Grad School. However, reading too many tips and sample statements of purpose may cause a great deal of confusion and make the whole experience of writing a statement of purpose rather frustrating. Therefore, we advise caution when seeking help from external resources, some of which are listed below:
- Wordvice – Wordvice is a wealth of information and resource for those applying for Grad School. The site offers writing and editing services for a fee, serving as an option for seeking help from professional writers.
- Essaysmith – Essaysmith has a sample Statement of Purpose for a host of Graduate School Programs. Additionally, the portal also offers a statement of purpose writing services and at a fee.
- MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) provides students with guidelines about writing a statement of purpose for grad school.
- Essayedge – Essayedge has an in-depth article about what to cover in the statement of purpose for grad school.
- University of Southern California – University of Southern California (USC) provides top tips about writing a statement of purpose for grad school.