Writing a Winning Statement of Purpose - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Title: Writing a Winning Statement of Purpose


1
Writing a Winning Statement of Purpose
Adapted from materials developed by Glenn M.
Callaghan, Department of Psychology, San Jose
State University (http//www.sjsu.edu/faculty/gcal
laghan/graduate/winningstatement.htm), from
Maureen OBriens Demystifying the University
Application Process, and from Ann Sarrafzadehs
Writing a Winning Statement of Purpose.
2
Determine your PURPOSEin writing the Statement
  • Why should the admissions committee choose you?
  • Why will you succeed in your field?
  • -motivation?
  • -abilities?
  • -experience?
  • Pay attention to the purpose throughout the
    statement so that extraneous
  • material is left out.
  • Pay attention to the audience (committee)
    throughout the statement.
  • Remember, your audience is made up of faculty
    members who are experts in
  • their field. They want to know that you can think
    as much as what you think.

3
Determine the CONTENTof your Statement
  • SJSU
  • You can use the structure
  • Who I am.
  • What I want to do.
  • Why this university?

Private Schools Dont want a generic response
Write a brief statement (500 words or less)
describing reason(s) for pursuing graduate or
postbaccalaureate study. Include any additional
information concerning your preparation that is
pertinent to the objective specified. You may
also send a resume and/or letters of reference if
required by department. If you have already sent
your Statement of Purpose directly to the
department/program, please enter the following
text in the box below "Statement sent directly
to department/program."
4
Answer all QUESTIONS in your Statement
  • Be sure to answer any direct questions fully.
    Analyze the questions or guidance statements for
    the essay completely and answer all parts.
  • For example
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses in setting
    and achieving goals and working through people?
  • There are actually 6 parts to this question
  • Strengths in setting goals
  • Strengths in achieving goals
  • Strengths in working through people
  • Weaknesses in setting goals
  • Weaknesses in achieving goals
  • Weaknesses in working through people

5
Determine your APPROACH and STYLE of the statement
  • There is no such thing as the perfect way to
    write a statement.
  • There is only the one that is best for you and
    fits your circumstances.

6
Considerations about FORM
  • Keep to the page limit number! (reviewers have to
    read hundreds of these applications dont
    overburden them with extra pages.)
  • Check for typographical errors if your error is
    actually a word, the word processing program may
    not alert you to the mistake. You dont want to
    be taken less seriously due to a typo, rite?

7
Usually, graduate and professional schools are
interested in the following
  1. Your purpose in graduate study. This means that
    you must have thought this through before you try
    to answer the question.
  2. The area of study in which you wish to
    specialize. This requires that you know the field
    well enough to make such decision.
  3. Future use of your graduate study. This will
    include your career goals and plans for your
    future.
  4. Your special preparation and fitness for study in
    the field. This is the opportunity to relate your
    academic background with your extracurricular
    experience to show how they unite to make you a
    special candidate.
  5. Any problems or inconsistencies in your records
    of scores such as a bad semester. Be sure to
    explain in a positive manner and justify the
    explanation. Since this is a rebuttal argument,
    it should be followed by a positive statement of
    your abilities.
  6. Any special conditions that are not revealed
    elsewhere in the application such as a large
    (35-hour a week) work load outside of school.
    This too should be followed with a positive
    statement about yourself and your future.
  7. You may be asked, Why do you wish to attend this
    school? This requires that you do your research
    about the school and know what its special appeal
    is to you.
  8. Above all this, the statement is to contain
    information about you as a person. They only know
    what you tell them. You are the subject of the
    statement.

8
There are some things the statement should not
be
  1. Avoid the what I did with my life approach.
    This was fine for grade school essays on what I
    did last summer. It is not good for a personal
    statement.
  2. Equally elementary is the approach, Ive always
    wanted to be a ________. This is only
    appropriate is it also reflects your current
    career goals.
  3. Also avoid a statement that indicates your
    interest in psychology is because of your own
    personal psychotherapy or that you want to get an
    MBA because people in your country with an MBA
    are rich.

9
Dont
  • Flatter the school or focus on the location,
    size, or appearance of the school.
  • Criticize other schools or employers you had in
    the past.
  • Apologize for your English or your test scores.
  • Brag about yourself or be too altruistic
  • Be vague or use general words without a follow-up
    explanation
  • Try to use a flowery writing style with long
    words, which are not appropriate
  • Use a statement that you found on the internet
  • Repeat the same information that is already
    included in your resume or your application.

10
Words to avoid without explanation
significant invaluable appealing to me
interesting exciting, excited appealing aspect
challenging enjoyable, enjoy I like it
satisfying, satisfaction I can contribute its important
rewarding valuable fascinating
gratifying helpful appreciate
meaningful useful helping people
means a lot to me feel good I like to help people
stimulating remarkable incredible
finding better synonyms at www.thesaurus.com may
be helpful
11
These are some things the statement should do
  • It should be objective yet self-revelatory.
    Write directly and in a straightforward manner
    that tells about your experience and what it
    means to you.
  • It should form conclusions that explain the value
    and meaning of your experiences such as
  • What you learned about yourself
  • What you learned about your field
  • What you learned about your future goals
  • What you learned about your career concerns
  • It should be specific. Document your conclusions
    with specific instances or draw your conclusions
    as the result of individual experience.
  • It should be an example of careful persuasive
    writing.

12
Do
  • Read catalogues/websites to make sure you and the
    school are a good fit
  • Show that you are knowledgeable about your field
    and this school.
  • Give an honest and clear picture of who you are,
    emphasizing your strengths.
  • Answer the question completely. Be Specific and
    use examples.
  • Maintain a positive tone about your own past,
    including challenges you had.
  • Write the essay yourself, even if it takes a long
    time to do so.

13
Statement of Purpose Consultations
  • Review this information
  • Explore useful websites and take notes
  • Brainstorm before writing a rough draft
  • Proofread your rough draft for any errors in
    language use. I will not respond to a paper that
    is full of basic mistakes in structure.
  • Send me the rough draft as a Word Document for
    comments (huma.saleem_at_sjsu.edu). It may take me
    up to one week to send my comments back to you.
  • Using my comments, write a second draft.
  • Email me to set up a 15-minute appointment, where
    we will go over your final draft

I will not re-write your essay that would be a
violation of University ethics. However, I will
help you to make it better.
14
Useful Resources
  • http//www.studential.com/personalstatements/
  • http//www.accepted.com/grad/sampleessays.aspx
  • http//www.statementofpurpose.com/essay_samples.ht
    ml
  • http//www.essayedge.com/promo/sampleessays
  • http//owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/642/02/

15
Getting Started
  • Academic Qualities

Topic Examples, Experiences, Anecdotes
Academic Achievements, Honors, Prizes
Leadership
Creativity
Open-mindedness
Responsibility
Integrity
Initiative
Enthusiasm
Sense of Humor
Independence
Commitment
Honesty
Confidence
16
Getting Started
  • Career Information

Topic Examples, Experiences, Anecdotes
What professional work experience have you had? What was your job? Other responsibilities? How did you carry it out?
What are your career goals? What factors formed this decision?
Why is your career choice correct for you? (how is it practical and realistic in your life?) Personal experience in the field is a good place to begin.
What professional qualities do you possess? (consider working with others were you an effective leader or a productive team player?
17
Getting Started
  • Miscellaneous

Topic Examples, Experiences, Anecdotes
What is a memorable accomplishment in your life? How did you achieve it?
Do you have any travel or international experience that could be beneficial to your future success?
Have you participated in any extracurricular activities? What role did you play? What have you gained from this experience?
18
Getting Started
  • Why this University?

Topic Examples, Experiences, Anecdotes
What do you know about this program? (do your research!)
What do you want from this program? How will this program further your objectives?
Why do you think this program is the right one for you?
What can you bring to this program?
Do you have any special interests in the program? (specific courses, areas of specialization, faculty research interests, internships, lab research, hands-on experience, other)
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Writing a Winning Statement of Purpose

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Title: Writing a Winning Statement of Purpose


1
Writing a Winning Statement of Purpose
Adapted from materials developed by Glenn M.
Callaghan, Department of Psychology, San Jose
State University (http//www.sjsu.edu/faculty/gcal
laghan/graduate/winningstatement.htm), from
Maureen OBriens Demystifying the University
Application Process, and from Ann Sarrafzadehs
Writing a Winning Statement of Purpose.
2
Determine your PURPOSEin writing the Statement
  • Why should the admissions committee choose you?
  • Why will you succeed in your field?
  • -motivation?
  • -abilities?
  • -experience?
  • Pay attention to the purpose throughout the
    statement so that extraneous
  • material is left out.
  • Pay attention to the audience (committee)
    throughout the statement.
  • Remember, your audience is made up of faculty
    members who are experts in
  • their field. They want to know that you can think
    as much as what you think.

3
Determine the CONTENTof your Statement
  • SJSU
  • You can use the structure
  • Who I am.
  • What I want to do.
  • Why this university?

Private Schools Dont want a generic response
Write a brief statement (500 words or less)
describing reason(s) for pursuing graduate or
postbaccalaureate study. Include any additional
information concerning your preparation that is
pertinent to the objective specified. You may
also send a resume and/or letters of reference if
required by department. If you have already sent
your Statement of Purpose directly to the
department/program, please enter the following
text in the box below "Statement sent directly
to department/program."
4
Answer all QUESTIONS in your Statement
  • Be sure to answer any direct questions fully.
    Analyze the questions or guidance statements for
    the essay completely and answer all parts.
  • For example
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses in setting
    and achieving goals and working through people?
  • There are actually 6 parts to this question
  • Strengths in setting goals
  • Strengths in achieving goals
  • Strengths in working through people
  • Weaknesses in setting goals
  • Weaknesses in achieving goals
  • Weaknesses in working through people

5
Determine your APPROACH and STYLE of the statement
  • There is no such thing as the perfect way to
    write a statement.
  • There is only the one that is best for you and
    fits your circumstances.

6
Considerations about FORM
  • Keep to the page limit number! (reviewers have to
    read hundreds of these applications dont
    overburden them with extra pages.)
  • Check for typographical errors if your error is
    actually a word, the word processing program may
    not alert you to the mistake. You dont want to
    be taken less seriously due to a typo, rite?

7
Usually, graduate and professional schools are
interested in the following
  1. Your purpose in graduate study. This means that
    you must have thought this through before you try
    to answer the question.
  2. The area of study in which you wish to
    specialize. This requires that you know the field
    well enough to make such decision.
  3. Future use of your graduate study. This will
    include your career goals and plans for your
    future.
  4. Your special preparation and fitness for study in
    the field. This is the opportunity to relate your
    academic background with your extracurricular
    experience to show how they unite to make you a
    special candidate.
  5. Any problems or inconsistencies in your records
    of scores such as a bad semester. Be sure to
    explain in a positive manner and justify the
    explanation. Since this is a rebuttal argument,
    it should be followed by a positive statement of
    your abilities.
  6. Any special conditions that are not revealed
    elsewhere in the application such as a large
    (35-hour a week) work load outside of school.
    This too should be followed with a positive
    statement about yourself and your future.
  7. You may be asked, Why do you wish to attend this
    school? This requires that you do your research
    about the school and know what its special appeal
    is to you.
  8. Above all this, the statement is to contain
    information about you as a person. They only know
    what you tell them. You are the subject of the
    statement.

8
There are some things the statement should not
be
  1. Avoid the what I did with my life approach.
    This was fine for grade school essays on what I
    did last summer. It is not good for a personal
    statement.
  2. Equally elementary is the approach, Ive always
    wanted to be a ________. This is only
    appropriate is it also reflects your current
    career goals.
  3. Also avoid a statement that indicates your
    interest in psychology is because of your own
    personal psychotherapy or that you want to get an
    MBA because people in your country with an MBA
    are rich.

9
Dont
  • Flatter the school or focus on the location,
    size, or appearance of the school.
  • Criticize other schools or employers you had in
    the past.
  • Apologize for your English or your test scores.
  • Brag about yourself or be too altruistic
  • Be vague or use general words without a follow-up
    explanation
  • Try to use a flowery writing style with long
    words, which are not appropriate
  • Use a statement that you found on the internet
  • Repeat the same information that is already
    included in your resume or your application.

10
Words to avoid without explanation
significant invaluable appealing to me
interesting exciting, excited appealing aspect
challenging enjoyable, enjoy I like it
satisfying, satisfaction I can contribute its important
rewarding valuable fascinating
gratifying helpful appreciate
meaningful useful helping people
means a lot to me feel good I like to help people
stimulating remarkable incredible
finding better synonyms at www.thesaurus.com may
be helpful
11
These are some things the statement should do
  • It should be objective yet self-revelatory.
    Write directly and in a straightforward manner
    that tells about your experience and what it
    means to you.
  • It should form conclusions that explain the value
    and meaning of your experiences such as
  • What you learned about yourself
  • What you learned about your field
  • What you learned about your future goals
  • What you learned about your career concerns
  • It should be specific. Document your conclusions
    with specific instances or draw your conclusions
    as the result of individual experience.
  • It should be an example of careful persuasive
    writing.

12
Do
  • Read catalogues/websites to make sure you and the
    school are a good fit
  • Show that you are knowledgeable about your field
    and this school.
  • Give an honest and clear picture of who you are,
    emphasizing your strengths.
  • Answer the question completely. Be Specific and
    use examples.
  • Maintain a positive tone about your own past,
    including challenges you had.
  • Write the essay yourself, even if it takes a long
    time to do so.

13
Statement of Purpose Consultations
  • Review this information
  • Explore useful websites and take notes
  • Brainstorm before writing a rough draft
  • Proofread your rough draft for any errors in
    language use. I will not respond to a paper that
    is full of basic mistakes in structure.
  • Send me the rough draft as a Word Document for
    comments (huma.saleem_at_sjsu.edu). It may take me
    up to one week to send my comments back to you.
  • Using my comments, write a second draft.
  • Email me to set up a 15-minute appointment, where
    we will go over your final draft

I will not re-write your essay that would be a
violation of University ethics. However, I will
help you to make it better.
14
Useful Resources
  • http//www.studential.com/personalstatements/
  • http//www.accepted.com/grad/sampleessays.aspx
  • http//www.statementofpurpose.com/essay_samples.ht
    ml
  • http//www.essayedge.com/promo/sampleessays
  • http//owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/642/02/

15
Getting Started
  • Academic Qualities

Topic Examples, Experiences, Anecdotes
Academic Achievements, Honors, Prizes
Leadership
Creativity
Open-mindedness
Responsibility
Integrity
Initiative
Enthusiasm
Sense of Humor
Independence
Commitment
Honesty
Confidence
16
Getting Started
  • Career Information

Topic Examples, Experiences, Anecdotes
What professional work experience have you had? What was your job? Other responsibilities? How did you carry it out?
What are your career goals? What factors formed this decision?
Why is your career choice correct for you? (how is it practical and realistic in your life?) Personal experience in the field is a good place to begin.
What professional qualities do you possess? (consider working with others were you an effective leader or a productive team player?
17
Getting Started
  • Miscellaneous

Topic Examples, Experiences, Anecdotes
What is a memorable accomplishment in your life? How did you achieve it?
Do you have any travel or international experience that could be beneficial to your future success?
Have you participated in any extracurricular activities? What role did you play? What have you gained from this experience?
18
Getting Started
  • Why this University?

Topic Examples, Experiences, Anecdotes
What do you know about this program? (do your research!)
What do you want from this program? How will this program further your objectives?
Why do you think this program is the right one for you?
What can you bring to this program?
Do you have any special interests in the program? (specific courses, areas of specialization, faculty research interests, internships, lab research, hands-on experience, other)
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