In today’s times, most students are fighting over school positions. The competition is getting higher and higher each day, and those that lay their guard down will be skipping a year.
If you’re frightened by the idea that you’ll have to wait one year before applying again, don’t be. It’s going to be okay. However, if you really want to ensure that it won’t ever happen, you must do your best to impress the graduate school committee’s members.
The statement of purpose that you’ll send has to be excellent in order for your approval chances to go higher. After all, the people who review your application are still human, they have emotions, states, beliefs, and so on. What you can do is ensure that you’re impressing them on a personal level. When you do that, your approval chances skyrocket!
In today’s post, I’m presenting several tips and tricks on how to craft an excellent statement of purpose for your graduate school application.
1. Follow the Structure
Inside your statement of purpose, you should demonstrate your originality and flair all the way, as long as you color inside the lines, of course. Otherwise, you may risk it all. Why?
Well, this should go without saying… The admission committee must also be convinced of your ability to follow the structure, same as you’d expect from your students.
2. Don’t Forget Who’s Reading It
Keep in mind that by the time the admissions officers will read your statement of purpose they might have already read dozens of others, during several application seasons. Besides the fact that they are tired and maybe annoyed by their job, they will also feel harassed by poor content.
Moreover, they will sense your insincerity and your formulaic writing from miles away. But at the same time, when they come across a genuinely unique piece of content, they get truly excited.
3. Apply to More than One School
To ensure that you’re not left out, you should write more applications. In this case, you will probably think that you should craft one complex application and send it to more schools.
That’s good, but you shouldn’t forget about something. Each and every application you send should be personalized according to the school’s application program and culture
Just make sure you’ve done your homework on each institution you’re applying to. Better would be to make it sound like it was fate that led you to them, no matter how many schools you apply to.
4. Use a Draft
If you think you’ll have a moment of inspiration that’ll result in the “perfect” pitch that should be sent immediately, you seriously need to reconsider. In most of the cases, the best writing comes from a tedious and complex process.
Without a doubt, you’ll need several drafts just to brainstorm your ideas and lastly a rough draft. If you want no mistakes, then you have to put your focus in proofreading and editing.
5. Don’t Be the Basic Student
Writing a statement of purpose is all about presenting your story that follows your life path. Your story obviously has to be unique and original. Tell them something that they haven’t heard before, and ensure that you’re genuine.
You must ask yourself first “What makes my story different from others?” Once you got your answer, make sure you emphasize it, so they can see too how special you are.
6. Write to Find a Deeper Meaning
There are times when you truly lack ideas and you find yourself staring at the blank page for ages now. Many people encounter this problem, especially when they have to write something important such as a statement of purpose.
The key is to start writing even if you don’t know what point you’re heading towards. Just start writing down your thoughts and let yourself discover the deeper meaning on the way.
7. Write Clear and Concise Statements
Even though you may have great writing skills, when it comes to literature, fiction, or philosophy, a statement of purpose is not the place to show them off. Don’t forget who you’re writing it for. Your “target audience” is the persons behind the committee.
Of course, you can leverage your skills, but only as long as you communicate your message clearly and concisely. Don’t lose yourself in words. Also ensure that you don’t use say irrelevant things, stories, or remarks.
8. Revising Time
Once you consider that your draft is in its final format, you must start proofreading it. This is an important process, so take as much time as you need. The word revision actually means “see again”. Therefore, this process is about looking at your work with other eyes.
Try to come to a better and deeper understanding of your meaning in your statement of purpose. This is the best way to improve your work.
9. Finishing Touches
Now that you’ve done all the major changes and improvements by proofreading and editing your work, it’s time to put your focus on the details. If you don’t want to kill your chances to impress the admission committee, you should better engage in this process of finishing touches.
Think about what you might have missed, think about what other relevant ideas you want to display, and start looking for unnecessary words. I’d advise you do this after one or two days from the moment you finished your proofreading. Disconnect from it and come to it again with a “new pair of eyes”.
10. Ask for a Second Opinion
Now that it’s all done, and you feel like you couldn’t have possibly done it better, it’s time to ask for a second opinion. As you’re the author, you may be subjective, and as no human being is perfect, you might have failed to spot certain errors. Even if you didn’t, it’s always safer if a trusted friend reads it once.
Your statement purpose is surely a great opportunity to display what you couldn’t display in your resume. Even if your resume isn’t that phenomenal, an extremely efficient cover letter will raise your approval chances significantly. My last advice is to always pay attention to the details and never send something you’re not 100% convinced of.