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Writing Your Academic Statement of Purpose

What is it?

Each applicant must submit an academic statement of purpose (ASOP). The ASOP is one of your primary opportunities lớn help the admissions committee understand your academic objectives và determine if you are a good match for the program you are applying khổng lồ. The goal of this document is to lớn impress upon the admissions committee that you have a solid background và experience in your area of interest và that you have sầu the potential to be successful in graduate study.

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The ASOPhường. is also a place, if necessary, where you can (và should) address any blemishes, gaps, or weaknesses in your academic record. In these situations, you will want khổng lồ be honest, but brief. It is best lớn turn negatives into positives by focusing on how you overcame obstacles, remained persistent in the pursuit of your goals, và showed resilience. Share what you learned from the particular experience, & how it led you lớn become a better researcher/scholar/person, etc.

Why is it important?

The ASOP is one of the most important pieces of your graduate school application because it:

Gives the reviewers an understanding of your academic background and interests.Allows you lớn illustrate in your own words what sets you apart from other applicants.Helps them determine if you are a good match for the program khổng lồ which you are applying.Shows your communication style and ability.

Information lớn Include

Introduce yourself and your academic interests

Provide simple background information on your area of interest & how it became of particular interest khổng lồ you.Here you can also mô tả with them how & why you decided to pursue a graduate degree in this field.

Describe your academic background, preparation, and training

Skills you have sầu learned from academic, lab, or retìm kiếm experiences (e.g., undergraduate coursework, research opportunities, scholarly writings, jobs in the field, presentations, etc.). Whenever possible, give sầu specific examples & illustrate the points you are making, don’t just simply tell them.Research you conducted – project title or focus, research mentor, your specific role, what you learned & the outcome. If there were challenges, don’t be afraid to lớn mention what you learned from them. This shows persistence and resilience in the face of adversity– these are also things they are looking for!Important papers or thesis project you completed, as well as anything scholarly beyond your academic degree requirements.Relevant work or internship experience as related to the field you are applying lớn.

Show them you are making an informed decision

Indicate what you would lượt thích to lớn study in graduate school in enough detail to lớn convince the faculty that you understand the scope of retìm kiếm in the discipline and are aware of research trends.Show them that you have sầu thoroughly researched the program, its faculty, & research focus areas, & why you are applying to this program specifically. This will help you write a more informed essay that is relatable to lớn the faculty who will be reviewing your application.Describe why you are a good fit for the program and why the program is a good fit for you.If there are specific faculty you are interested in working with, kiểm tra the program’s ASOPhường instructions & determine how best lớn mention this in your essay. Some programs require you to name a professor(s) with whom you would lượt thích lớn work.Are there any aspects of the program that are of particular interest lớn you (immersion program, opportunities for collaboration with others outside of the institution, retìm kiếm centers associated with the program, etc.)?Include information that is important to you outside of the program – supportive environment for first-year students, access to lớn amazing literary resources, opportunities khổng lồ participate in professional/career development programming, etc.Professional goals – you may wish khổng lồ outline what you plan to vì after you complete the program as a way of underscoring the importance of your choice to lớn pursue graduate study.Share any extracurricular opportunities you have had that show leadership, ability to work with a diverse group of people, teaching skills, etc.Retìm kiếm degree applicants should identify specific faculty members whose retìm kiếm interests align with your own interests.

Important Things to lớn Remember


Pay attention và follow instructions very carefully – every program is different và some have sầu specific items/topics they want you khổng lồ address.Unless otherwise noted, this is an academically focused essay, not necessarily a personal essay. You will likely add some personal details here và there, but be sure lớn keep the focus on your academic background & future potential.Proofread and pay cthua thảm attention khổng lồ details – they really matter!Have others from a variety of perspectives read your essay before you submit it – they should be looking at it in terms of content, style, & grammar. Remember, those outside of your field can provide you with valuable perspective and feedbaông chồng.Keep in mind that you can continue editing your ASOP. after you have submitted it khổng lồ programs with earlier deadlines.

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Length, Format & Tone

Unless otherwise noted one lớn two pages in a standard fonts và size is typical.Include your full name và proposed program of study at the top of each page – if faculty are not reading an electronic version of your essay, pages can become separated.Write with confidence and in an active sầu voice – doing this makes your sentences clear và less wordy/complicated.Language should be positive và focused. Since faculty are the ones reviewing your application, it is fine to lớn use discipline-specific terminology, tone, & style in your ASOP.

Final Checklist

Have you…

Described your academic background in enough detail lớn show your experience & preparedness in the field?Shown that you are a good fit for the program you are applying to?Defined why you want a graduate degree in this field?Demonstrated that you are self-motivated, persistent, competent, & have sầu the skills necessary khổng lồ be successful in graduate school?Followed the ASOPhường instructions as defined by the program you are applying to?Polished, proofread, & had others Reviews your ASOP?