Statement of Purpose: MS Applicants, Win Over Grad School!

statement of purpose for msApplying for grad school can be scary. There are applications to fill out, essays to write and hearts to win over so you can begin the next step of your educational career. How do you do it? Writing a winning statement of purpose is a crucial element to securing your spot at your top school. If you’ve ever applied for a job that requires a cover letter – you’re half way there. A cover letter allows you to explain all the details you can’t include on your resume. Similarly, a statement of purpose is your chance to fill in the details that are not included on your academic record. This is your chance to sell yourself, your relevant experience and why you chose the school you did. Showing knowledge on the program you are applying to will go a long way with the people reading your essay. Learn how to fill out a Master’s degree application like a pro in this easy online tutorial.

Structuring Your Statement of Purpose

The structure of the statement of purpose is pretty straightforward. You want to open the statement with information regarding the field you are applying to. Demonstrate that you already have a solid grasp on what it is you are pursuing. Next, segue into how that information is applicable to your career goals and what your long-term plan is. After you have set the stage for what you want to do, you need to explain why you are qualified for the program and what assets you can bring to your field of study. Don’t feel bad about bragging a little here, you want to make yourself look as good as possible (without going overboard, of course). And finally, wrap up the statement of purpose with how the school you are applying to is the best candidate for you to achieve your goals. Express your admiration for the department, program or staff and include why you feel that way. Get some more help with your statement, application and other required documents in this course to ensure college admission success.

The statement of purpose should only be one page long. Don’t draw it out over several pages because one: you’ll lose the interest of whoever is reading it and two: its more work for you. Make sure to keep it to the point, clear and use a thesaurus if your vocabulary isn’t the best. A couple big but well placed words can make you stand out amongst your peers.

Example Statement of Purpose for a Master’s Program

Even as our global market soars, celebrities buy million dollar mansions and corporations welcome multi-billion dollar profits, over 1.3 billion people live on less than a dollar a day. I’ve seen women walking miles to fetch a day’s worth of dirty water, and I’ve seen children dying from preventable diseases because their family couldn’t afford, or didn’t have access to health care. These are blatant violations of their basic human rights. It is these social injustices that I strive to find feasible and practical solutions to through methodologies within international justice studies and socioeconomic program development. Therefore, my career goals in International Social Justice could advance solutions to worldwide socioeconomic injustices and potentially find long sought answers to why poverty exists and more importantly, what can be really be done to eradicate it.

To achieve these career goals, I need to learn much more about micro and macro economics, financial aid institutions worldwide (like the IMF and the World Bank), and foreign government involvement in developing countries. A Master’s degree will provide me with theoretical understanding, guidance in developing practical approaches to alleviating poverty and will aid me in decision making and research skills as I gain expertise in core areas of International Justice. I am interested in understanding, specifically, how foreign governments can potentially aid or harm developing countries through financial aid programs, charitable donations and other direct involvement. I seek to understand if foreign powers like the United States and China can do more or less to benefit nations fraught with poverty.  I would also like to explore how historical events and trends may have contributed to the conditions of impoverished countries we see suffering today.

Curiosity, passion and critical thinking skills have helped me to develop an analytical and unbiased approach to solving one of the world’s most haunting issues: poverty. Time spent in developing countries in Africa and the Caribbean as an aid worker has also given me insight that traditional classroom lessons cannot provide. It’s during these experiences that I have learned the complexity that surrounds the issues of poverty and have gained more fuel to use an analytical approach while addressing these problems. Additionally, experience gained while I worked at a refugee and immigration center gave me the opportunity to do micro-research on socioeconomic conditions in several countries from the citizens themselves. I look forward to applying these skills to the opportunities that Vanderbilt University has to offer. I feel my experience and immense desire to be a part of a practical solution will be an asset to the International Studies department and the global community as a whole.

I have selected the International Social Justice M.A. program at Vanderbilt because of its research facilities, exceptional faculty, flexible learning environment, and study abroad opportunities. The program’s curriculum aligns with all of my interests and career goals as it covers in-depth international economics and developing countries. It’s these attributes that make Vanderbilt my first choice school. The ISJ program at Vanderbilt provides a global perspective to an age old problem while providing students with the opportunity to actually make a difference. I hope to become a part of this dynamic culture which will ultimately give me the edge I need to be an effective and successful leader in the field of international justice.

Obviously, every statement of purpose is going to be different depending on your program of study, the school you’re applying to and your relevant experience and skills. Use this template as guidance as you write your statement and you won’t have to sweat getting a rejection letter. Remember to talk up all of your skill sets and experiences, even if they seem miniscule or unimportant. If it has anything to do with what you want to study – include it – every little bit counts! Master degrees aren’t cheap. If you need help finding financial assistance that you don’t have to pay back, check out this college scholarships course to learn some tips on finding the perfect scholarship for you. Alternatively, if you are still deciding if grad school is for you check out this handy infographic about self-learning instead of getting a Master’s degree. You might be surprised!