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Essentials on Your Grad School Statement of Purpose


Table of Contents:


Keep the Purpose in Mind

A Practical Example

Formal Requirements: Tone and Style

Formal Requirements: Length & Structure




In this guide, you will discover some essentials on what a grad school statement of purpose is and on how to organize it and write it in an optimal way. Before we begin, there is important information that needs to be clear, that a personal statement can be very different from a statement of purpose. As it was discussed in the previous post, the first is your entry ticket to present yourself first of all as a person, with specific life and study experiences. On the other hand, today we will see that a statement of purpose is much more focused on academic and professional spheres. Indeed, it is the main opportunity you will have to portray yourself academically in front of the grad school admission committee. These points being made, the only thing left is to start digging deeper into more information and tips that will make your statement of purpose memorable.

Keep the Purpose in Mind

In the introduction, it was explained that a statement of purpose is usually focused on your academic and professional results and future projects. However, remember that this doesn't mean to just talk about your results in school and your career plans randomly. Indeed, your narration must have a clear purpose. To help you achieve this, consider two things.

Firstly, every academic activity that you are mentioning in your grad school statement needs to be related to the other subjects and experiences you are talking about. By creating a net of topics that are linked within each other, you will automatically address the second requirement to give purpose to your claims. In this regard, not only the steps of your academic journey should have a connection between each other, but they should also all point towards the same academic and professional vision.

After showcasing this, the last passage is to explain how the program you are applying for will align with your past experiences and help you to continue with your passion on a particular subject, bringing you to a successful future career.

A Practical Example

To understand even better how to build a good statement of purpose, here you can find an (imaginary) example that may help. So, let’s say that you have participated in a research internship on educating companies on human rights, have obtained excellent grades in your international human rights law major, and have written your bachelor’s thesis on child rights in Uganda.

When you start preparing your statement of purpose for a master in human rights, first you will need to show that all these experiences were speaking to each other, that what you learnt in one of them was useful to apply in another one of them. Second, you should also demonstrate that, every time you participated in one of these activities, you were moved by the same interest in human rights. Finally, illustrate how the program you are applying to will give you the right tools to continue with your vision and start a career in the human rights field.

Formal Requirement: Tone and Style

Let’s start talking about some tips on how to keep your grad school statement of purpose formally adequate. Indeed, you can find here some recommendations on the tone and style of your document:

  1. Usually, contrary to a personal statement, a statement of purpose requires a more formal and structured tone.

  2. You should be concise and to-the-point, following typical academic writing models and without trying to create a literary atmosphere.

  3. Avoid overly elaborate language and unnecessary details, work on clarity and professionalism instead.

Formal Requirements: Length and Structure

A statement of purpose length requirements may vary based on the institution or program. However, independently from the word count, a statement of purpose typically follows a very straightforward structure. It should begin with a clear introduction that states the applicant's purpose. Then the body follows, discussing the candidate’s qualifications, experiences, and future aspirations. And lastly it is important to have a strong conclusion, which can emphasize the applicants’ commitment and potential contributions that they could give to the faculty.


In this post, you have read a brief introduction and explanation of the difference between a personal statement and a statement of purpose. Then we saw together that purpose is the main ingredient of your statement, and you learnt how to add it through a strategy that you can use in your own application. Next, a practical example was given to make these points even clearer. And, last but not least, you have discovered some of the main formal requirements that will be needed in your statement of purpose.

In conclusion, I really want to remark that this is the strategy I am planning to use in my application and that I am very open to any suggestion to make it better. So just leave a comment if you have one and good luck with your graduate journey!

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