Writing your Statement of Academic Purpose may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, following some of the steps below can make the process easier and more enjoyable.
When’s the best time to start preparing for your statement of academic purpose? As soon as you’re set on applying for a program! It’s never too early to start working on the statement, and it’s definitely not something that you should leave for the last minute. The key to writing your statement is thinking of it as a process. It involves research, thought, writing, and revision. The sooner you get started, the more time you’ll have to perfect each of those stages without the stress of a deadline looming over you. On top of that many post-graduate applications, including the application at The London School of Economics, have rolling admissions. This means they review applications as they come in, so why not send yours in as early as possible?
Research everything about your program
As I mentioned above, writing your statement of academic purpose is a process. Research is the first key step in that process. By the time you’ve decided on what programs to apply for, I’m sure you have done a fair bit of research figuring out what each program entails. However, this may not be enough to write a thorough statement. Within the statement, it should be clear that you know exactly what you are signing up for, and what the requirements are for someone to join the program. Only after doing that research will you be able to articulate why you would like to join the program, and why admissions should choose you to join based on their expectations. Here are a few things I researched before getting started on the application:
- Program structure and courses: How large is the class size for the program? How many courses will you be expected to take? What are those courses, and how do they align with your interests? What is the assessment or feedback structure like?
- Teaching staff: Who will be teaching the program? What are the research, career, professional, and personal backgrounds of these professors? Why are you excited to learn from these professors? What academic support is offered by the staff?
- Program opportunities and careers: What opportunities does the program emphasize? Research, collaboration, or internship opportunities? What does the career path look like for someone who undergoes the program? How does the program help facilitate opportunities and areas of interest?
- Program in comparison to others: How does this programme compare to other programs you have seen or are applying to? What is unique about this program? What makes you a great fit for the program?
Explain your reason for applying
After you have a good idea of what the program entails, you need to clearly articulate your reason for applying in your statement. This reason should take into account all of your research, as well as your background, experiences, and interests. Most importantly, your statement should answer three questions:
- How do your past experiences and future plans make you a unique asset for the programme?
- What do you hope to do following the degree?
- How will this degree help you to achieve those goals?
- The explanations will be different for everyone. This is an opportunity to prove why you should be chosen from the crowd.
Review and ask for help
Once you’ve formally articulated your reasons for applying, you’ll want to review, review, review! The revision process is incredibly important in making sure that you’ve expressed a clear, concise, and convincing statement. Not only that, but admissions will be on the lookout for attention to detail – so be sure to review your grammar and spelling. Lastly, at all stages, but especially during revision, don’t be afraid to ask for help! It’s amazing to have a second set of eyes offer you some advice or pointers.
Overall, writing an academic statement of purpose can be a fairly simple and fun process. The key is to make sure you understand both the program and your reason for applying. Now, it’s time to get started!