Great Statements of Purpose

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

Fflewddur

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2010
Messages
11
Reaction score
0
Does anyone have some examples of some truly killer statements of purpose? I feel like it's a difficult thing to write and I'd love some of you to show me how it's done :).

Members don't see this ad.
 
++ definitely need some help in that department as well.
 
Members don't see this ad :)
Does anyone have some examples of some truly killer statements of purpose? I feel like it's a difficult thing to write and I'd love some of you to show me how it's done :).

I googled a good template for one. My UG also had a lot of information on this in the psych office.

Someone might be willing to give you a copy of theirs as a reference, but just know that if you use it verbatim at the same school that person applied, you could be asking for trouble...
 
Like most things, there are also good books on the topic:

You could try, Graduate Admissions Essays: write your way into the graduate school of your choice, if you are specifically interested in getting samples of things to do/ not to do. But the staple guides to getting into clinical psychology programs (i.e. Getting in: a step by step plan for gaining admission to graduate school in psychology or the insiders guide) also have tips about what to do that are really helpful


 
The best piece of advice I can think of is to write a good template, and make huge changes for each school. I know some people just sort of sub in the name of the school and write about the school adhering to the scientist-practitioner model, blah blah. It's important that the school knows you seriously researched their program before you applied. This can be time consuming, but if you have the time I would strongly recommend it.

I also had email, phone or in person contact with each person before I submitted my application, and asked them what their upcoming projects were. I mentioned these in my statement of interest (SOI), and combined them with my own ideas. Many of my interviewers addressed the ideas I presented in my SOI during my interview.
 
Like most things, there are also good books on the topic:

You could try, Graduate Admissions Essays: write your way into the graduate school of your choice, if you are specifically interested in getting samples of things to do/ not to do. But the staple guides to getting into clinical psychology programs (i.e. Getting in: a step by step plan for gaining admission to graduate school in psychology or the insiders guide) also have tips about what to do that are really helpful


I used "Graduate Admissions Essays:Write your way into the graduate school of your choice" and I would definitely recommend it. It gives some great samples and exercises for writing your SOP. I wrote my SOP with the help of that book only and I think it was definitely one of the stronger components of my PsyD applications.
 
I liked Dr. Prinstein's guide: http://www.unc.edu/~mjp1970/Mitch%27s%20Grad%20School%20Advice.pdf

Easy to read through and understand. I felt professors were the best guide for my personal statement (as you peruse some Web sites you'll see similar things to Prinstein's guide).

At the end of the day, though, my statement was not amazingly fancy or unique (it was simply well written). Now what I'm going to say next is not for everyone, so take it with a grain of salt. I have a friend who spent three months writing her personal statement... I spent three days on it (plus couple of hours refining it for each school). At the end of the day, we both did well receiving multiple interviews and (at least myself) offers (hard to compare directly because we're applying for different research interests).

My only point is that although I know it's a very important part of your application (especially in defining your research interests and who you want to work with), I don't think it's worth stressing too much over. I feel most statements are very similar and a lot of people get called in on their credentials (as long as you match well with interests of course), which are sometimes more easily read from one's CV.

Spend time on it to where you feel proud and comfortable about what you have produced - (as I don't want to under emphasize the importance of a strong statement)- but just don't get stuck on it (to the detriment of other areas of your application). :)

Also, when I started the process I googled around and asked some of my peers to see versions of their personal statement. It helped to give me an idea of what it generally looked like, but that was about it. What really helped me write mine was reading guides about things to include or not include. And if you read someone else's statement, I would suggest only reading one or two examples - because they are *so* similar it can get very tricky not to plagiarize phrasing (I started running into this issue after I read about two and knew it was time to stop trying to find examples and just write as I normally would or I'd be at risk for crossing a blurry line).
 
Last edited:
I spent a fair amount of time on mine and think it came out fairly strong. The advice I have for you is to NOT make it like a longer, more boring version of your CV. While some of that info should be in there, try to make it read more like the story of who you are, where you came from, and why you are applying. Stories sell you better than lists and are more memorable. That said, have as many profs read it as you can read it and give critical feedback. Most of them are happy to do it and it can be really helpful.
 
I spent a fair amount of time on mine and think it came out fairly strong. The advice I have for you is to NOT make it like a longer, more boring version of your CV. While some of that info should be in there, try to make it read more like the story of who you are, where you came from, and why you are applying. Stories sell you better than lists and are more memorable. That said, have as many profs read it as you can read it and give critical feedback. Most of them are happy to do it and it can be really helpful.


I gave mine to anyone who was willing to read it. I also took mine to the writing center. One of the best things the advisor at the WC told me was to make the SOP like a song. You have to grab their attention with the hook line through a little story. Not the usual going on and on story but a story that really solidifies why you want to be in the program/profession and why you are qualified
 
Top