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Statement of Purpose

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Joseph Cunningham

on 8 October 2013

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Transcript of Statement of Purpose

Statement of Purpose
Statements of purpose are short essays often part of the graduate school application process.

This presentation will provide you with helpful tips and activities to ensure your statement of purpose is in excellent shape.
Crafting a Hook
Much like writing a basic English paper, you want to "hook" your audience, engaging them, so they are interested in your paper.
Your Experiences
After engaging the reader, the majority of the statement of purpose will be explaining yourself as a candidate, focusing your various experiences, which typically fall into three realms.
Why You Want To Go
After reflecting on your experiences, you will transition to why you want to go to this particular school and program.
Ending on a Strong Note
Obviously, you want to end on a strong note. Again, think back to English composition. Imagine yourself in the future, already accepted to the grad school of your dreams. What kind of student will you be?
Purpose of Purpose
Outline of Statement of Purpose
Let's Practice Creating Hooks!
Academic Experiences
Personal Experiences
Extracurricular Experiences
Let's Compose Lists!
Research Your School
Let's Create an Elevator Speech!
There are many purposes to the statement of purpose:

1. It explains why you are a strong candidate for graduate school.

2. It distinguishes yourself among other applicants.

3.It demonstrates why you are interested in that particular university and program.
There is no set way to write a statement of purpose. Typically, it is a document of one-two pages that cover the following elements:

1. A hook that engages the reader
2. A discussion of your experiences
3. An explanation as to why you want to go to this particular program
4. A conclusion
One theme throughout this presentation is personalization. You want to personalize your statement of purpose as much as possible.
The easiest way to construct a hook for this document would be to construct a personal story about the discipline you are entering. Something like so:
The world to literature opened to me when I first read Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Never before had I read something so powerful. The book opened up new perspectives that my adolescent mind had never grasped before, and I knew that if I could somehow pursue this feeling in both an academic and professional manner, I would truly be in my element.
Your GPA
Your coursework
Presentations and Publications
Work in the academic departments
Student organizations
Student government
Work experience
Military experience
Community service
Notable hobbies
Family experience
Remember to personalize this sentiment. You do not merely want to say that you want to go graduate school to get a better job. You need a deeper reason.
Do a little research about the particular university and program you want to enter. What about that program is special? Who are some faculty members you would like to work with? What about the university draws your interest?
As with any document, you can bring your statement of purpose to the Academic Writing Center, McMicken Hall 149. There, a tutor can look at your draft and help you perfect it.
Full transcript