How to Prepare a Statement of Purpose


Graduate school and law school applications often include a statement of purpose or personal statement, a section that terrifies some applicants. However, applicants should consider the statement of purpose as an opportunity to convey something about themselves that otherwise may not be known by the admissions committee. Carefully considering the information and presenting it effectively enhances an application.

Express Yourself

  • Plan what ideas you want to include in the statement. Focus on activities and beliefs that set you apart, make you a strong candidate for the program and indicate your interests and potential for success. You may include something about your background, what you have done that makes you a unique candidate and what you know about the program. For instance, to get into an education or business graduate program, you might focus on how you developed and ran an after-school program.


  • Start your draft with an interesting idea about yourself, such as a brief anecdote or concept that grabs the reader's attention. For example, to apply for a medical program, you could discuss how the illness of a loved one set you on this path. When applying to a veterinary program, you might tell a brief story about how you sutured a neighbor's dog that had been hit by a car.

Body Paragraphs

  • Fill in the narrative with supporting details that clearly connect to the statement's purpose. Rather than announcing that you are well-organized, tell a story that indicates this quality. Choose language that conveys a positive attitude and illustrates your confidence. For instance, use the word "will" instead of "might" or "could" to indicate what you plan to do with your graduate degree. Avoid qualifiers such as "rather," "quite," "somewhat," "probably" and "possibly," the website recommends. When you finish, proofread carefully for spelling, punctuation and other grammatical errors in order to convey a professional attitude and illustrate your ability to communicate well. Keep your statement within the required word count and focused on the required topic to avoid having your application rejected.

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