Writing a Good Statement of Purpose for Research-Focused Programs in 8 Steps
Wednesday, 19 February 2020

 A senior year in high school could be challenging for every student. Final exams, graduation, and college admission are all exciting and nervous at the same time. Teens are busy choosing the best programs and universities to apply to. It's time to determine their future career. This article is aimed at assisting all aspiring learners going through seemingly hard times.


 What Is a Statement of Purpose?

Before preparing a beautifully written statement of purpose, it's necessary to grasp the essence of such a text.

A statement of purpose is a 1-page essay that is usually a part of a bunch of other documents for admission to a higher education institution. It could also be called a motivation letter or personal statement. 

This is the document in which the student reveals one's best skills and personal qualities. Depending on the university, you may need to submit a motivational letter at every academic level. 

However, with a huge competition, it could be challenging to stand out from the crowd and impress the admission committee. What experience and accomplishment are worth including, and how to start a statement of purpose

Keep reading to know the answers.

Review the Requirements 

Usually, the requirements are listed on the program's page on the official website of a chosen college. You can also register at the university application system and find a description there. 

Carefully review all the requirements. Pay attention to the volume of a motivation letter and the list of questions you should give answers to. 

Keep in mind - requirements are not the same for each program, so it could take some time to prepare a motivation letter for each school. 

Define the Structure of the Motivation Letter 

Make a list of paragraphs that will be included in your essay and think about how you will link them together. Don't forget to add an introduction and a conclusion. 

Here is a simple motivational essay structure. You can either follow it or make up your own. 

  • Introduction;
  • Career goals;
  • Career plan - how will the goals mentioned above be achieved?
  • Which of the qualities, skills, and knowledge are required for the described career plan one has, and what are necessary to develop?
  • How will the program you are applying for help you advance qualities, skills, and knowledge?
  • How can you benefit the university?
  • Conclusion.

Specify Your Career Goals 

Most universities include a question about a student's future career in their motivation letter requirements. What industry attracts you the most, and why? Are there any companies that you would like to work in?

Try to define your career goals for the next 2-4 years for the Bachelor's degree and 5-7 years for the Master's degree and MBA. 

 The goals should be:
  • Realistic;
  • Compatible with more comprehensive life goals;
  • Specific, showing your understanding of the industry;
  • Aimed at the improvement of your life and society overall.
What If There Is No Career Plan Yet?

If this is the question that speaks to you - don't worry. Many college applicants have no clear vision of what they will do after graduation. 

In this case, it is worth describing the area in which you think you are will be the best. Let the admission committee know that studying at their university will give you the chance to make a more detailed career plan.

Share your personal qualities, skills, and achievements.

What to Indicate About Your Personality?

This question confuses many applicants. Here are a few suggestions:

1) Identify the qualities and skills required to succeed in your future profession. Which of them do you have? Describe those by giving examples from your academic background and real life;

2) Identify your values that will help you succeed on the chosen path. Describe these strengths by giving examples from your own experience;

3) If you have any exciting hobbies or experiences that may be useful in your academic life, describe them briefly in your statement of purpose;

4) Indicate the qualities and knowledge you would like to improve throughout your career. These are often called "points of improvement" in the motivation essays.

Check out the website of the selected university. Usually, there are some ideas on the qualities that students should have while applying for the research-focused programs.

Show Your Interest in the Program 

Keep in mind that the person reviewing your application is likely to be an expert in the relevant field or subject. It will be essential for them to see proof of your sincere interest and awareness of what you plan to study for years.

Put the Pieces Together

Make the draft of your essay. Follow the structure you've devised and ensure that all the parts are logically linked to each other.

Review and Edit the Motivational Letter

Your ideas, describer in the statement of purpose should be expressed simply and clearly. This is quite easy to achieve if you limit the length of the sentence to 12-20 words. Avoid both familiarity and formal tone of voice. Make sure that each sentence provides vital information, and there are no generic parts. 

Some students start their essays with catchy quotes; others include jokes or non-standard structures. Sometimes it works, but there can also be an opposite effect. Admissions officers may not share your sense of humor and mindset, so don't go too far trying to make your essay original.

Lastly, pay great attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation. An essay written with mistakes gives a negative impression of your skills and effort.

Print the letter and read it carefully a few times. Let someone else check it as well. Make sure every line is clear.

Final Words

The statement of purpose is one of the most important documents submitted by applicants trying to get on a specific program. It is carefully reviewed by the admissions committee, which then decides whether the university accepts a student or not. 

No doubt that you should put much effort and do your best by preparing this piece. Follow the tips from the article, and good luck!
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