How to Write a Strong Statement of Purpose

Industry Advice Grad School Tips & Advice

You’ve found your graduate program of choice and are now prepared to apply. Yet part of that application process is submitting a statement of purpose. Although daunting to some, it doesn’t have to be—particularly if you break the process down into three simple steps.

The reality is that you are the expert on why you want to obtain a graduate degree to advance personally and professionally. This is where you tell your story about who you are and why you deserve to be a part of the Northeastern community. A strong statement of purpose gives the admissions committee the chance to get to know you and understand how you’ll add value to the classroom.

Throughout the application process, you’re afforded few opportunities to directly address the committee. Here is where you’re truly speaking to them. Each student arrives at this process with a unique story, which includes prior jobs, volunteer experience, or undergraduate studies. Think about what makes you you and start outlining.

The Brainstorm

When writing your statement of purpose, you want to think about three key questions:

  • Why do I want this degree?
  • What are my expectations of this degree?
  • Where do I want this degree to take me?

Jot these responses down just to get your initial thoughts on paper. Here’s your starting point, and content you’ll want to work into your outline.

The Content

When you begin drafting the content, you’ll want to make sure you:

  • Provide insight into what drives you, whether that’s professional advancement, personal growth, or both.
  • Address the unique features the school offers that interest you most. For Northeastern, maybe it’s experiential learning; you’re excited to tackle real-world projects in your desired industry. Or perhaps it’s learning from faculty who are experts in your field of study.
  • Be yourself. It’s important to be authentic when writing your statement to show the admissions committee who you are and why you want this degree.

The Editing Period

Before you submit your statement of purpose:

  • Proofread carefully for grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and make sure you use readable fonts.
  • Remember that your statement of purpose should be between 500 and 1,000 words.
  • Walk away and come back later with a fresh set of eyes. Sometimes your best ideas come when you’re not sitting staring at your computer.
  • Ask someone you trust to read your statement before you submit it.

Your statement of purpose can leave a lasting impression if done well. If nothing else, stay focused on what you uniquely bring to the classroom, the program, and the campus community. If you do that, you’ll excel.