You’re ready to sit down and write your statement of purpose. You’ve got a cup of coffee and chunk of time to think and write. Now, how do you get started? Here are 4 things you need to write a great statement of purpose:
1. A clearly thought out goal
This is the most important thing. Your statement of purpose, whether for a Master’s or PhD, is a forward-looking statement – you must have a clear sense of what you want to study in grad school and why. For PhD programs in particular, you will spend a significant part of your SOP describing your specific future research interests and goals.
2. A reason you’re studying this topic and pursuing this degree
Hint: loving your field is necessary but not sufficient. You should also think about your post-grad school goals. For example, if you’re applying for your MA in English, loving literature is a reason, but won’t sound compelling enough to an admissions committee; they’ll be more interested in why you want to get the degree and how you intend to use it.
3. An understanding of your field
Presumably, if you’re proposing advanced study in a particular field, you’ve done some careful research and preparation. If not, you need to do that now. Your SOP is not a good place to sound naïve or ill-informed.
4. Careful research on each program you plan to apply to
How is each program a good fit for your needs? Is there a professor in the department who you see as a potential mentor, or whose research excites you?
If you start your SOP prepared – with a clear sense of why you’re going to grad school – it’ll be easier to write and it will be infinitely more effective.
By Dr. Rebecca Blustein, Accepted consultant since 2008, former Student Affairs Officer at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center. Dr. Blustein, who earned her Ph.D. at UCLA, has helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to top MS, MA, and Ph.D. programs. She’s also an expert on grad school funding and scholarships. Want Rebecca to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!
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