How to Write a Winning Statement of Purpose for Scholarship (Examples)

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The Statement of Purpose (often called “letter of intent” or “application essay” or “graduate statement”) is one of the most important components of your application process.

Statement of Purpose provides the admissions committee with information that allows them to become more acquainted with who you are; what you want to study at graduate school and why; your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in your area of specialization, including your preparation for this field of study, your academic plans or research interests in your chosen area of study, and your future career goals.

A thoughtful and well-written statement often

makes the difference between admission and denial, irrespective of other qualifications. But applicants frequently fail to do justice to themselves in statements of purpose. In what follows, I offer a few tips to help you to make your best effort. You may also like to read about Writing an Impressive Academic CV for Scholarship.

How to make your Statement of Purpose for Scholarship stand out from others?

Most ‘statements of purpose’ or ‘letters of intent’ are fine. However, unless you have a funded project and a supervisor lined up, or the rest of your application is impeccable and remarkable, then put substantive efforts into this letter. It really is your only chance to present some personal insights and life beyond the dry numbers provided by your transcripts, GREs, and other such documents.

Nowhere else can you directly demonstrate personality, motivation, maturity, interest, enthusiasm, diligence, commitment, and so on. The importance of this letter and its personal attributes become amplified in an application that is in any way ‘marginal’, or that has no specific faculty supporting or justifying it. Your letter must then be even more able to stand out, and be noticed, on its own. Most reviewers are unfortunately (and perhaps understandably) not going to work hard at finding reasons to accept you.

Statements of purpose is also your opportunity to account for anything about your ‘data’ that would benefit from further explanation. You can assist reviewers in their interpretations of your ‘record’ by highlighting your strongest and most relevant points, especially any not well covered elsewhere in your application.

Similarly, you can work to prevent reviewers’ misinterpretations or oversimplifications by being candid about any minor shortcomings and by indicating how you are, or will be, addressing those. Basically, be clever in, and work at, presenting yourself favorably, but also always remain honest and never promote yourself beyond reasonable reality. Remember that there is the proverbial fine line between saying too much and not saying enough.

What is the difference between Personal Statement and Statement of Purpose?

One way to think about Personal Statement is that, in general, undergraduate programs are interested in you as a person and what you may offer to enrich their overall university community.

Statement of Purpose describes your “brain,” the scientist you have become and will grow to be. You are now the scientist and any personal information should be related to your scientific approach and how you will enrich the scientific world.

What is the difference between SOP for Doctoral and Master’s Programs?

A statement of purpose for a doctoral program is different than one for a master’s program. A master’s program is not inferior to a doctoral program; it is merely different. Therefore, it would be wrong to infer that standards for a statement of purpose in an application to a doctoral program are higher than the standards applicable to master’s applications. But the standards are certainly different.

For example, in a statement of application to master’s in the Social Sciences, an excellent statement of purpose might or might not indicate any particular research topic that the student wishes to pursue in the program. Being unclear about these matters is not inappropriate when one is applying to a broadly focused master’s program. But being unclear about them would certainly be a liability in a doctoral application.

Academic programs are more intensively specialized at the doctoral level, and a corresponding degree of specialization and precision in the way, applicants specify their academic purposes is reasonably expected. Evidence of your familiarity with the educational research currently under way at the university is probably a good thing to see in any statement of purpose, even at the master’s level.

  1. the multitude of other applicants. Write an opening that grabs the reader’s attention.
  2. Use transition words, sentences and paragraphs. Your statement must read smoothly.
  3. Frame the points you wish to make in a positive light. You do not want to reveal weaknesses in your personality.
  4. Describe an important experience that is relevant to the program of interest. It is usually good to place this portion of the essay towards the opening. This experience may have contributed to the person that you are today. Make a point to note that in your writing.
  5. Demonstrate everything by example; don’t say directly that you’re a persistent person, show it.
  6. Be Specific, Concise, Honest and Unique.
  7. Describe why you are a good match for their program. Tell the committee about your skills and interest in that particular program. Be specific and thoughtful.
  8. Talk about your goals. Explain how a graduate degree will help you accomplish those goals.
  9. Explain any shortcomings in your background. (i.e. You had a poor GPA during your freshman year in college. Put a positive spin on this explanation and illuminate how your GPA has improved as you matured.)
  10. Thank the admissions committee for their time at the end of your statement of purpose.
  11. Unless the specific program says otherwise, be concise; an ideal essay should say everything it needs to with brevity. Approximately 500 to 1000 well-selected words (1-2 single space pages in 12 point font) is better than more words with less clarity and poor organization.
  12.   Do not Stress:
  13. If you find that you are still having difficulties completing your Statement of Purpose, do not stress. Take a few days and put this task aside. You will find that other activities will jog your mind and creativity, providing you with ideas and content to incorporate into your paper.
  14. Specific classes you have taken, given by nameSpecific professors you have had, especially if well-known in that fieldExtracurricular activities in the fieldPublications or other professional accomplishments in the field (perhaps conference presentations or public readings)Explanations about problems in background (if needed)Explanation of why you have chosen the specific grad schoolMention one or two professors in that school and what you know of and appreciate about their work.Specific features of the grad program which attract you.Now Start Writing Your Statement of Purpose for Scholarship:Now its your turn to start writing your impressive statement of purpose by following the tips and strategies explained above. If you follow all the steps and strategies, you will definitely ace the admission process and will be studying in the university of your dreams just like me and my friends. Do you have any tips and strategies that worked for you in winning an admission? Please let us know in the comment section to help others. Happy Writing!ExampleThe doctoral program will provide me with an opportunity to learn more about higher education and prepare me to be a senior-level college administrator. I have had several educational and life-fulfilling opportunities to work with many administrators to help contribute to the field. Due to the nature of this program, I believe it will provide me with a chance to continue to be a catalyst not only within higher education but also in my community. In addition, this program will help me further my understanding of first-generation African American college students’ expectations and knowledge about college before enrolling in their respective institutions by participating in pre-college programs.
  15. My professional goals are to learn as much as I can about higher education that would strengthen my awareness about trends within the field and how I can contribute to the overall mission and purpose of the profession. I would like to someday become a dean of students or vice president for student services or student affairs, as well as a faculty member. I believe my past and current experiences have prepared me tremendously to serve as a senior-level administrator.
  16. As a graduate student at American Justice University (AJU), I studied and worked in many capacities, i.e., graduate assistant, supervisor, advisor, and practitioner within an urban environment. Located in Detroit, AJU challenged me to think critically and provided me with the skills to work with many different cultures, lifestyles, beliefs, and backgrounds. Classes such as College Student Development, Higher Education Law, Finance, and Administration, and my study abroad experience to England, Scotland, and Ireland deepened my understanding of the field and how colleges and universities operate. These experiences provided me with an opportunity to enhance my knowledge of higher education and apply theory to practice.
  17. As an active member within several different organizations that work to improve the lives of others, I believe I have not only been a catalyst for change but have instilled a “sense of hope” for many students. Currently, I serve as an advisor to the Gamma Club (GC) of Detroit, Michigan, which is a youth auxiliary of Beta Beta Beta Sorority, Inc. This youth auxiliary was established in 1970 and designed to assist young females between the ages of 8 – 18, providing them with opportunities to regularly work with college and professional women, expose sorority national programs and services, and prepare them for academic and career success. Many of the young women who participate in this program are raised by single parents/guardians (predominately women); therefore, my colleagues and I work extremely hard to ensure these students are provided with the necessary skills to be successful and influenced by positive female role models.
  18. In addition, I serve as a committee member for the MLK Weekend Celebration in Detroit, Michigan. Last year, the committee implemented an essay competition to encourage high school students to think critically and display their creative writing abilities. With access to college becoming more burdensome and stressful for many college students, I worked with university officials at NASPA University, which is located in Denver, Colorado, to establish a scholarship (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship) for the first, second, and third place winners of the essay competition. The university agreed to support this initiative to help offset costs during their first semester of study at the university.
  19. In my current role as a Residence Hall Director at NASPA University, I strive to educate the campus community about diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion and how it plays an essential role within our society. Part of my responsibility includes monitoring minority students’ academic and career success and preparing them for graduate or professional schools through the Graduate Recruitment Program (GRP). As an advisor to GRP, I believe I have been influential in empowering these students through seminars, workshops, and programs that encourage them to continue seeking higher education.
  20. I believe my experiences have exceptionally prepared me for the EdD program at NASPAUniversity. I am confident that this program will continue to enhance my understanding of higher education and prepare me to help my colleagues and future colleagues be catalysts within the profession.

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