The Personal Statement and Statement of Purpose
boston college career center
Most graduate school applications ask for a personal statement and/or a statement of purpose.
The Personal Statement
This statement may include your reasons for choosing the graduate school and/or field you are pursuing, some related accomplishments in academics or other extracurricular activities, or something unique about you that may not be covered elsewhere in your application. As a rule, this personal statement should be about two pages long, double-spaced.
Write from personal experience, and write honestly. The most compelling personal statements have a ring of authenticity to them, whether they are serious, funny, sad, or some combination of the three. Write carefully and proofread for proper syntax, grammar, and spelling.
The Statement of Purpose
While a personal statement is about you as a person, the statement of purpose focuses on you as a developing professional.
Indicate how your interest in your subject area began. Review what you did to advance your understanding through academic work (classes and research) and experiences (activities internships and jobs), and discuss what you have learned from those experiences. Describe what you want to learn, professors you want to study with, and what programs you would like to join at the specific graduate school where you are applying. The statement of purpose should conclude with what you want to do as a professional using what you learned in graduate school.
See Grad Sample Essays for more suggestions on writing the personal statement.