This statement of purpose for scholarship (sometimes called a “letter of intent” / “graduate statement” or “application essay”) is an extremely important part of the process for your graduate application.
You tell the admissions committee more about yourself in your Statement of Purpose; what you want to study at graduate school and why; your interests, academic plans, and research interests in the area of study you have chosen, as well as your career plans.
The strength of your statement, regardless of your other qualifications, can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection. It is common for applicants to fail to do justice to themselves in their statements of purpose.
I provide some advice on what to do to give it your best shot.
How to make your Statement of Purpose for Scholarship stand out from others?
On the whole, “statements of purpose” or “letters of intent” should be enough. But only if you already have a supervisor or project assigned, or if your application in its entirety is astounding. You really only have one chance to present some life beyond your transcripts, GREs, and other academic documents.
A CV is the only place where you can demonstrate your personality, motivation, maturity, interest, enthusiasm, diligence, and commitment in a direct manner.
When considering this letter and its qualities in relation to an application that falls anywhere between ineligibility and marginal consideration, a type of preference become evident. As a result, your letter must be even more noticeable on its own. It is unfortunate (and perhaps understandable) that most reviewers will not work hard to find reasons for accepting your application.
Not only will this document show why your data is important and prove to others that you’ve analyzed it well, but it’ll also give you the chance to go more in-depth with parts of the data. You can help reviewers comprehend your message by indicating your main points and strengths, especially if your main points are missing in other places in your application.
By being candid about any minor shortcomings and indicating how you will address them, you can avoid reviewers’ misinterpretations or oversimplifications. Essentially, present yourself favorably, but always remain honest and do not overpromote keep in mind that there is a fine line between saying too much and not enough.
What is the difference between a Personal Statement and a Statement of Purpose?
One way to conceptualize the Personal Statement is that, generally, undergraduate programs are interested in what you can bring to their university community.
This Statement of Purpose displays your personality, and the scientist you have become and will continue to become. With this letter you’re no longer the human but the scientist, so now any personal information will only pertain to your scientific approach and what new scientific discoveries you hope to make.
What is the difference between SOP for Doctoral and Master’s Programs?
For doctoral programs, there are very specific requirements, unlike master’s programs. PhD programs are not inferior to master’s programs; they are merely different. It is therefore incorrect to infer that standards for a statement of purpose are higher for doctoral applications than for master’s applications. Still, there are different standards.
An excellent statement of purpose might or might not indicate a particular research topic in an application for a master’s degree in the Social Sciences. An applicant to a program that is broadly focused should not be concerned about these matters. It would certainly be a liability in a doctoral application to be unclear about them.
Doctoral programs are more intensively specialized, and applicants are expected to specify their academic purposes with a corresponding degree of specificity. Having at least some evidence that you’re familiar with the research that is currently happening in your field at a certain university is probably good for any type of admission statement.
In a doctoral application, it is imperative to show that your interests line up closely with the current research being done by faculty within the program to which you’re applying. If doctoral applicants don’t pay attention to the above-described points, they will lose a competitive advantage over those who do.
Tips on Writing an Impressive Statement of Purpose for Scholarship
(1) Do your Homework:
⇒ Visit the websites of the schools/departments/programs that interest you. Collect brochures and brochures, then read through them in depth. Make a list of the parts of the programs you like and feel qualified for.
⇒ Do some research on the interests and research projects of the faculty in the schools/departments/programs. Take a look at publications from a faculty that interests you.
⇒ Look up current topics related to the research field you’re interested in and have a general idea of how it evolved, and what the most pressing problems and challenges currently are.
(2) Reflect and Brainstorm (on paper):
⇒ Think back on your intellectual development.
- When did you first notice your passion for a certain topic, and how has it impacted the decisions you’ve made in your career?
- How or who influenced your choice or interest (i.e. role models)? What qualities appealed to you about them?
- Could you demonstrate or document that you possess personal characteristics (such as integrity, compassion, and/or persistence) that would help you succeed in the field or profession?
⇒ What abilities do you have (examples: leadership, communication, analysis)?
⇒ What made you choose your research topic(s), field(s), or school?
⇒ What made you choose your undergraduate major?
⇒ What are your short and long-term goals?
- In 10 years, where do you see yourself?
- What do you want to achieve?
- What inspires you? What empowers you?
(3) Describe your purpose in your statement of purpose:
⇒ Evaluate the findings of Stage II and establish a central idea, something that dominates your thoughts.
⇒ Create an outline of your statement of purpose, structuring your reflections with brief, bullet point commentary that details or clarifies your goals.
- Don’t give a monologue, use a combination of life experiences and concrete examples.
- Record only those things that thrill you
- You don’t need to lie; stick to the facts.
⇒ Ideally, your outline should cover these areas:
- What appeals to you about the school/department/program?
- Which field(s) are you interested in researching?
- How did you end up focusing on this area of your work?
- Are you preparing to address the issues in this research area/topic (i.e. research experiences, courses, etc.)?
- Do you have any future goals for graduate school (e.g. Ph.D.)?
- Do you have any career goals (e.g. a professorship)?
- What do you need the school/department/program to have for you to meet your personal or professional goals?
- What good qualities do you possess for our school/department/program?
(4) Create a draft of your Statement of Purpose:
Be mindful of these three things when you write your statement of purpose:
⇒ Realize that you are trying to find a program that will match what you have to offer and what you need. Do not dress like a false version of yourself, think of what the selection committee is looking for, and speak about yourself in positive terms. Between the lines: the admissions committee will recognize: the personal initiative, competency, and potential of a future graduate student.
⇒ You need to write a great opening and closing paragraph to stand out in the middle of all those other applications. Start your essay off with a vivid sentence to grab the reader’s attention.
⇒ To make your statement read smoothly, use transition words, sentences, and paragraphs.
⇒ Be sure not to reveal your personal weaknesses when you present your points.
⇒ Relate an important experience relevant to the program of interest. It is often a good idea to put this portion of the essay at the opening. Given your history, this experience may have contributed to the person you are now. Make note of it in your writing.
⇒ Rather than saying you’re persistent, just show it in everything you do.
⇒ State things precisely, say them with brevity, be honest and present an unusual, original perspective.
⇒ Describe how you would be an ideal applicant for their program and what sets you apart from other potential students. Think carefully and be specific.
⇒ Give some reasons why a graduate degree can make achieving your goals easier.
⇒ Reflect on how you overcame past deficiencies and how those traits led you to greater achievements. (For instance, describe how you managed to achieve an above-average GPA by the time you graduated college despite having a below-average GPA during your freshman year. You may explain that maturing allowed you to apply yourself in a more responsible way.)
⇒ In an ideal essay, you should convey all that needs to be conveyed with an appropriate amount of conciseness, unless the specific program specifies otherwise. If you have 1-2 single-spaced pages in 12-point font, approximately 500 to 1000 well-chosen words are better than more words that are less clear and less organized.
⇒ Please take a minute to thank the admissions committee for their time reading your statement of purpose.
(5) Avoid stress:
⇒ If you find that you are unable to complete your Statement of Purpose, try to step back and approach it again later, but only for a few days.
⇒ Engaging in other tasks will exercise your mind and spark creativity, as a result providing ideas and materials to use for your paper.
⇒ In order to sell yourself to the committee, you need to put your best foot forward in the Statement of Purpose.
⇒ Honestly, the most important thing to do is to just be yourself.
⇒ Work on your statement of purpose even after you’ve sent it to schools with earlier deadlines.
(6) Ask for Feedback, Revise and Edit:
⇒ Make corrections to your draft statement of purpose as soon as you finish writing it.
⇒ Send your edited draft to friends, colleagues, and professors and ask them to read it. Revise and edit your draft according to their comments.
What to Include and What to Avoid When Writing a Statement of Purpose for Scholarship?
→ Poor English, mistakes, and misspellings.
→ Be sure to submit a handwritten essay unless instructed.
→ There is no need to explain basic terminology to your audience. Taking into consideration the fact that they are already experts in the program you are applying for is important.
→ Make your essay personal. Don’t talk about deep personal problems or excuses for past performances or experiences.
→ Remember to include a variety of arguments in your discussion.
→ Defame other schools’ programs.
→ Use unusual words, because they look like they came from a thesaurus.
→ Writing an autobiography is a great idea to give the committee an understanding of your background and aspirations, but they do not want to read your entire life story. Focus on your goals and what’s really important to you in life.
→ Don’t include untrue or irrelevant information in your essay.
→ It would be wrong to submit someone else’s letter of intent, especially one by a student that doesn’t apply.
→ Considerably less formal than normal.
How to organize a Statement of Purpose for Scholarship?
⇒ Show your passion for the field with a “hook”
⇒ Tell us about your background in the field
⇒ An overview of your academic background
- Names of specific classes you have taken
- Name the professor and what they teach if they are famous in that field.
⇒ Field-related extracurricular activities
⇒ A publication or other professional accomplishment in the field (for example, a presentation at a conference or a public reading)
⇒ Background explanations (if necessary)
⇒ An explanation of why you chose the school you are applying to
- Name one or two professors from that school and what you appreciate about their work.
- Specifics of the graduate program that drew your interest.
Now get ready to write your statement of purpose for the scholarship:
Once you finish reading all of this, it will be your turn to begin drafting your winning statement of purpose.
Am confident that if you follow the steps and strategies, you will certainly be able to ace the application process and study at the university of your dreams.
Can you share any tips and strategies that helped you get accepted?
How did you win admission? What strategies worked for you?
Let us know in the comment section so that we can help others. Happy writing!
My doctoral program will enable me to gain a deeper understanding of higher education and prepare me for senior-level college administration. As a result of my work with many administrators, I have had many educational and life-changing opportunities. The nature of this program provides me with an opportunity to continue to be a catalyst, not only within higher education but also in my community.
With this, I will be able to study further into the college expectations and knowledge of African-American first-generation college students, by exploring pre-college programs at their schools.
My professional goals are to learn as much as I can about higher education so that I will be able to contribute to the profession’s overall mission and purpose. It would be my dream to become a dean of students or vice president for student services or student affairs someday, as well as a faculty member. Based on my experience so far, I’m ready to assume a position of responsibility as a senior administrator.
In my time at American Justice University (AJU), I worked as a graduate assistant, supervisor, advisor, and practitioner in an urban setting. As a student at AJU in Detroit, I gained the skills necessary to work in a variety of cultures, lifestyles, beliefs, and backgrounds.
Due to the various classes that I took in college including higher education law, finance, and administration, and a study abroad experience in England, Scotland, and Ireland, I became more acquainted with the field and how colleges and universities operate. In these experiences, I gained an understanding of higher education and had the opportunity to put theory into practice.
Throughout my time as an active member of many different organizations, I have become a catalyst for change. More than just striving for the successes of others, I work to instill hope.
I currently serve as an advisor to the Gamma Club (GC) of Detroit, Michigan. This youth auxiliary, which was established in 1970, serves to better young women, provides the young girls with opportunities to work with college and professional women, offers access to sorority national programs and services, and prepares them for academic and career success.
A number of the young women who participate in our program are raised by single parents or guardians (typically mothers), which is why we work so hard to ensure these girls have the skills and female role models necessary for success.
Additionally, I serve as a committee member for the MLK Weekend Celebration in Detroit, Michigan. Last year, the committee added an essay contest as part of the celebration to inspire critical thinking and to help kids develop their creativity.
With the college experience becoming more difficult and challenging, I was able to work with the officials of the NASPA University (which is located in Denver, Colorado) to establish a scholarship program that would provide assistance for these needs for the first, second, and third place winners of an essay contest.
The university gladly accepted this program to help lighten the financial load for students in the beginning stages of their studies at the university.
As the RHD at NASPA University, my goals are to teach campus community members about diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion and their vital roles in society, to monitor minority students’ academic and career success, and prepare them for graduate and professional schools through the Graduate Recruitment Program, and to emphasize empathy, cultural competence, and accountability within our institution.
As an advisor at GRP, I believe I have had an influence on the lives of these students through seminars, workshops, and other programs that urge them to seek higher education.
NASPA University’s EdD program has prepared me exceptionally well for my life experiences. In addition, I’m confident that this program will help me become a catalyst within my profession by increasing my understanding of higher education.