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Magdalena

February 11th, 2023

5 tips for writing a successful statement of academic purpose

0 comments | 4 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Magdalena

February 11th, 2023

5 tips for writing a successful statement of academic purpose

0 comments | 4 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

It is hard to overstate the importance of an excellent statement of academic purpose. Needless to say, it is the piece that can make a great first impression on selectors for the programme. It is perhaps the part of the application over which you have the most control. For this reason, it is crucial to make the most of it, presenting yourself as a suitable candidate.

If you studied in the UK before, you already know the format. If not – the objective of a statement of academic purpose is to show why you are suitable for the chosen programme. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • your motivations to study the subject itself and your chosen course specifically,
  • your background and how it led you to decide to choose this programme,
  • your academic interests and academic ambitions.

The good news is that the statement can be 2 pages long, around 1,000-1,500 words so you should have plenty of space to present yourself comprehensively.

Here are my tips for how to make your statement of academic purpose stand out from the crowd.

1. Talk about the motivation to study your subject, and be specific!

Why do you want to study your subject? While this is rather obvious and straightforward, really do ponder on it and be specific. What are your academic interests? How did they come about? What readings have consolidated your interest in the subject? What did you take from them? What things have you already done in this area (essays, research projects, a dissertation, etc)? How does your undergraduate degree link to what you want to study?

Every statement is individual and you might want to focus on certain things while skipping others. The key takeaway is to be specific and real – show the selectors that you are a serious candidate.

2. Check out the academic staff in your department

Some people might have chosen LSE precisely because of an academic who works there, but others are drawn to the School as an institution and don’t know that much about its staff.

If you are the latter, a good idea might be to open the website of your department and literally go one by one and explore the members of staff, seeing what they do. It is an incredibly inspiring thing to do in general, and you might discover particular researchers whose course you’d like to take.

If that’s the case, do mention it in the statement – it shows you are serious and knowledgeable about LSE.

3. Check out the course structure of your programme

You are able to see the exact programme structure and requirements on the LSE website.  It is definitely useful to have a look at the selection of courses if you haven’t already.

If there’s a course that you want to take, why not mention it in your statement? It demonstrates that you know what you’re signing up for and that you did your research. As with your motivations, do go into some detail about why this course appeals to you and how it will help you develop.

4. Get to know LSE

What is it about LSE that draws you? Are you inspired by the motto? Are there any extracurricular things that interest you?

You, yourself, know best what the reasons why you’ve chosen to apply to LSE are – it might be worthwhile to mention them in your statement.

5. Let others read it

Last but not least, it’s always a good idea to have a second pair of eyes look at your statement. Show your statement to a friend who can give you feedback, especially if you know someone from LSE. At the very least, they may spot some mistakes that you might have overlooked.

About the author

Magdalena

Hi, I’m Magda, a Sociology master’s student coming from Poland. I’m interested in the issues of class and social stratification as well as history, which I studied for my undergraduate degree. I have an artistic soul and enjoy literature, cinema and theatre.

Posted In: Applying: Masters

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