Essay Writing Resources cover single image

How To Write a Statement Of Purpose

July 03, 2018 Admission essay
How To Write a Statement Of Purpose

Most students get the statement of purpose wrong, writing narratives about their dreams and aspirations, putting the admissions board straight to sleep. A statement of purpose is not an admission essay. It is a formal paper with a specific structure aimed to convince the jury that you are confident in your skills and that this university is the right place for you.

Here’s a brief example of how to start a statement of purpose:

“I wish to take the Master of Arts program at the University of X because I am confident that my skills will come to full fruition with your program. This university is a place where I can develop my technical knowledge and challenge myself with invaluable hands-on experience in the business field.”

Note the simple and direct language used in this introduction. Almost every statement of purpose example you’ll find will sound similar to this one. However, to stand out from the crowd, you have to be original, while remaining confident and collected. Without further ado, let’s dive deeper into how to write a statement of purpose and make it work!


Table Of Contents

What is a statement of purpose?

A statement of purpose is short formal essay and part of the university application process. Before writing a statement of purpose for an application, the student must know exactly why they wish to study their preferred subject. On the other hand, an application essay is a more extended composition, usually a narrative, written in a more free-form style.

A statement of purpose is basically your resume for the admissions committee. Open up about your true passions, list your accomplishments, prove that you’ve had valuable experience in the field - but make it brief.

How long should a statement of purpose be?

statement of purpose length

In about 500-1000 words - the student must demonstrate their motivation and perseverance throughout their studies. Reviewers can usually dissect generic motives of lazy students from miles away. In most cases, they get cliche statements with phrases like ‘I want to be a doctor because I want to save lives.’ Remember that their job is to read between the lines and evaluate each student as a potential candidate for the massively competitive spot. A typical statement of purpose length is 500-1000 - which is enough to tell reviewers what they need to know.

Asking yourself the right questions

If you’re motivated and excited about the college path you’ve chosen, you should have no problem answering these questions:

  1. What major have you decided to study at graduate school?
  2. Why have you chosen this major?
  3. What kind of academic or extracurricular experience do you have in this field?
  4. What’s your plan after grad. school and how does it involve this major?

The admissions committee is looking for someone whose intentions are clear. They want enough valuable background information about you in as little text as possible. Answer the questions being asked like you’re in it for the long run. Being over-creative and flashy may give reviewers the wrong impression. Take a confident and direct approach.

Statement of purpose - the topic is your philosophy

While admission essays are rooted in topics, a statement of purpose relies more on your underlying philosophy. There must be a bedrock from which you make all your academic decisions. To write a convincing statement of purpose, you must know your philosophy for continuing the educational journey. Look at any successful statement of purpose example, and you’ll see that the student has a motivation and a philosophy.

Applicants usually apply to several schools at once. In most scenarios, they draft a sample grad school statement of purpose and tailor it individually for every college they apply to. Do your research - check out the requirements for each college; learn about the underlying philosophy of your chosen academic institutions. Picture yourself in that college.

Reviewers will consider your application when they get the impression that you organically fit with their college. They analyze hundreds of applicants each day, so their job is pretty formulaic. It won’t be hard to impress them with unique writing. Your underlying philosophy is the topic, thesis, and key to achieving success, as it will show that you have a strong motivation and understanding of the college’s ideals.

Statement of purpose format and organization

First off - write a draft. Inspiration will come when you start jotting down ideas. Start brainstorming and writing drafts as far from the application deadline as possible. Don’t stress - it’s supposed to be raw. Learn from your own mistakes and polish them up to reveal your strengths. Once you’re on your third draft, you’ll see that you’ve come a long way.

statement of purpose organization

As you can see, the statement of purpose format is simple and easy to fill out. Since it is like a resume, you can expand upon it, altering it each time. If your application has failed, merely reread your statement of purpose and improve the weak areas.

How to write a Statement of Purpose

In writing the statement, you must convince the reviewers of your achievements in your field. To make your point come through organically, split your paper into four parts. Here’s a short guide on how to write a statement of purpose.

  • Intro: Your motivations and Interests

    • Your interests will tell the committee a lot about your character. Show the spark that ignited your passion for continuing studies. Although it sounds quite flamboyant, do not confuse this section for an autobiography.
  • Summary: Talk about your undergrad and grad career

    • Talk about the research you’ve done. Indicate the projects in which you have participated. Talk about the result of your studies. Indicate people’s names, articles, publications, sources, etc. This is for professors who will read your statement.
    • If you’re applying for grad school, talk about your thesis and other scholarly work you’ve done, even if it was done outside academia.
    • Mention your work experience. If you already have work experience in the field, you will be a valuable addition to the university. The committee recognizes people with experience.
  • Recent activities

    • Talk about the projects you partook in after having graduated uni. Talk about your responsibilities, your team, what you’ve learned and accomplished. Note in your text that your experience has sparked motivation in pursuing your graduate career.
  • Academic Interests

    • Here is where to look to the future. In concise detail, indicate what you wish to study in grad school. Show the reviewers that you comprehend the discipline and are aware of the work you’ll have to do.
    • Focus on your area of interest. Propose a question or an issue, link it to modern studies to show your engagement in the field.
    • Do your research on particular professors and departments that intrigue you. If there are professors, who are currently working on the same thing as you-you can end up working with them!

statement of purpose advice

Valuable Tips to Help You Succeed

  • Talk positively and use active voice.

  • Professors can offer lots of advice on how to format a statement of purpose. They can provide insight into college philosophies and help you proofread and edit your work.

  • Show examples of everything. Don’t just say you’re motivated - make them see it!

  • Often outside factors inspire our most significant decisions. If you’ve witnessed difficulties, talk about them and show your perseverance in overcoming them.

  • Continuity is when every element of your work dances together in the same rhythm. If a sentence is irrelevant to your paper - remove it!

  • These papers are usually 500 to 1000 words - and not just words - but correctly selected words. Clarity and organization is key to communicating your point.

  • Revision literally means “to see again” - revise your paper and perfect it each time.

  • Show the paper to your friends, family, professors, etc. Peer review may help you notice some flaws that you didn’t initially see.


Need some help with your statement of purpose?

Here at EssayPro, we host hundreds of BA, MA, and Ph.D. level writers who are brilliant in writing application essays. Give them your info, and they’ll put together a solid statement of purpose graduate school or Ph.D. Pro writers have been down this road before, and they know exactly what the committee wants to see. If you need a pro to write a statement of purpose example or in full- you know where to find us!

Essay Writing Guide

Types of Essays

Types of Academic Writing

Tips for Writing an Admission Essay

Essay Format

Custom Writing

Other Articles

Essay Banner

Essay Writing Prices

Read more about the services supplied by our essay writers.


Writing $8 - $12/page

Rewriting $7 - $10/page

Editing $5 - $7/page