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Advice on Statement of Purpose

  1. Jan 5, 2007 #1


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    Hey all,

    It's that time again... applying for another graduate school program. I have to write yet another statement of purpose. Does anyone have any advice?

    I seem to be suffering from a debilitating bout of writer's block. I've written and thrown away three of these damn things now.

    I'm particularly keen to hear from anyone who has been involved in the admissions process as an university employee, but any advice is good advice.

    - Warren
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2007 #2


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    The last time I did one of those was about 19 years ago, when I went looking for a job, and before that, about 25+ years ago when I applied for university for the first time.

    I think three ideas come to mind -

    1) to pursue knowledge with an insatiable and inherent curiosity,

    2) to contribute to the body of knowledge and advance the state-of-the-art,


    3) to contribute to humanity or to contribute toward making the world a better place for all.

    If this is for a PhD program, then it will involve new and useful research - or innovative and independent research which will contribute of advancing the state of the art, as opposed to an MS program where one simply contributes to some else's research.
  4. Jan 10, 2007 #3
    For applying to a grad program -- personal statements should be about research and technical experience, letters or recommendation should back up that research... maybe put in a bit about teaching experience. I was on a graduate selections committee -- I suspect departments flooded with applications pragmatically want to know you can do research and get out of there with a degree... so they don't care about your shoestrings inspiring you to study string theory. :rofl:

    As an aside, I'm noticing a lot of common topics: maybe we should post some additional stickies! :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
    Sticky about factors in graduate school admissions and how they factor in...
    Sticky about who to choose for recommendation letters...
    Sticky about personal statements...
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