Statement of Purpose Formula

After the entire day of researching how to write a good statement of purpose for grad school application, and contemplating why grad school, I've devised this formula.

The numbers indicate the paragraph order.

Research interest (1)

  • What do you want to study? Be specific? What program?
    • open with questions, it plants seeds for the entire statement
    • discuss, briefly, an idea in your field that turns you on intellectually
  • Which area of research? specialization?

Past experiences (2-3)

  • college experience
    • why interest in your major?
    • Important class or classes you took which stimulated your desire for graduate study; specific project or class?
  • Research experience
    • What was the problem you were trying to solve? Why was it important? What approaches did you try
    • Formula: one line each: summary + clarification of terms if necessary + need of the work (e.g., gaps) + our contributions + outcomes + my specific input.
  • work experiences
  • Other accomplishments, important activities (skills/qualities) that will help you in grad school

Why grad school (4)

  • why do you need grad school?
  • Why this program specifically?
  • research interest (elaborate on first paragraph)
  • future use of the program
    • career goals

Why X? (5)

  • Why you want to come to X?
    • demonstrate you’ve read the catalog carefully and researched the program
  • Whom might you like to work with?
    • refer to their names, who have you been in contact?
  • What papers have you looked at from X that you enjoyed reading?

Paragraph 1-4 seems pretty reusable for all schools, but paragraph 5 is where you need to do your research.

I want a platform where I can filter by school, by research area of interest, and it can show me the professors and their students, along with their contact info. Does this exist? Maybe I'll build one. Twitter seems to be a good way to source them, maybe is a good tool to integrate here.

For more in-depth resources, check out Writing a Statement of Purpose | The Unicode Blog