Statement of Purpose Tips Your statement of purpose is an extremely important component of your admissions application.
When highly ranked graduate programs receive applications from many extremely qualified applicants with excellent grades and GRE scores, writing a strong and powerful statement of purpose can literally be the deciding factor that gives you an edge over the other applicants. It is the venue you use to voice why exactly it is that you would like to go to graduate school, what you would like to study, and how your proposed course of study and previous experience will be an asset to the department or program. Your Statement of Purpose may also be used to make funding decisions or align your interests with that of a specific faculty advisor and their current research projects. • • • • • • • • Read very carefully the guidelines to the statement of purpose and adhere to them Start early Maximum one page, single spaced Make an outline of what you plan to discuss No long biographies, but state why you are special and why you will succeed in graduate school Clearly state short and long‐term goals, how the university can help you meet them, why going to graduate school can help you achieve your goals and how you intend future use of your graduate study Be prepared as you may be asked “Why do you wish to attend this school?” Why specifically you want to go to The University of Michigan: identify interests, faculty you’d like to work with, show you’ve researched the school, the department and are knowledgeable about your faculty of interest’s research, or course offerings of interest to tailor the content of your statement When you indicate any particular faculty members you are interested in working with and how their research relates to your interests, be sure not to overdo it with flattery as this may come across you trying to glaze up to the admissions committee Discuss in specifics, the area of research in which you wish to specialize Be specific about research experience highlights, relevant internship experience, course work, other relevant experience, how this led to your decision to apply for graduate school and why you are prepared for study in the field Show that you are well rounded, volunteering, groups, extracurricular activities, (work it in, don’t dwell on it) Individualize Statement of Purpose for each institution you apply to. Having a standard essay is a great tactic, but tailor portions specifically to each school and the faculty committee that review your application. Note any problems or inconsistencies in your records or scores, such as a bad semester, or any gaps in your academic record Have an advisor or professor review your statement of purpose for feedback and allow enough time for a revision Completely error free with correct spelling and grammar: Proofread and consult writing and grammar specialists as you should not rely solely on the spelling and grammar checks on your word processing software Should be enthusiastic, show motivation, make it easy to read, and keep the readers interested
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