Almost all grad school applications require a statement of purpose. Take advantage of the chance to express your passion for what you'll be studying, your commitment to your work, your plans for using and applyling the knowledge and skills you'll gain, and your sincere desire to contribute to the program to set yourself apart from other applicants.


  • Aim for depth, not breadth.
  • Focus on one or two specific themes and discuss experiences related to them.
  • Concentrate on capturing the reader’s interest in the opening paragraph.
  • Strive to make the essay unique by using concrete examples from your life experience.
  • Select people you trust to read and critique your personal statement.
  • Connect life experiences to your professional goals and career motivation.
  • Articulate career goals clearly.


  • Write a clichéd introduction or conclusion.
  • Preach to the reader.
  • Be repetitive.
  • Discuss money as a motivating factor.
  • Cram too much information into the essay.
  • Exceed word and/or page limits.
  • Exaggerate your qualifications or experience.
  • Discuss potentially controversial topics (e.g., politics or religion) unless your program of study is directly related to the topic.
  • Include spelling, punctuation, formatting or grammatical errors.
  • Apologize for any preconceived shortcomings: instead, discuss areas in whch the program will help you grow.