Some graduate schools I am applying to require both while do not give specific directions of what to include in each . This lack of directions makes me very confused about what to put in each category. I have done some research and have rough idea, however I am not sure. So if you can help me I would greatly appretiate it. Well here are my thoughts. In personal statement, you write information about yourself and/or how you ended up deciding to do physics. While in statement of purpose, you try to persuade the reader that you would be great physics candidate, by presenting evidence of you prior experience with physics. Besides describing research projects, Is it worth mentioning of how you overcame challenges in coursework. As example, doing well at CM 2 without having CM 1 as prerequisite, by studying CM 1 material simultaneously. Or doing well at advanced Computational class without any prior programming experience, by simeltiniously learning programming language. Or doing well in electronics class with zero prior experience and having letter of recommendation for that professor to back it up. Also, in many guides suggest that you write about future goals with Ph.D degree. This scares me. I have no clue what exactly I want to do. Isn't what graduate schools suppose to help you figure out? Is it ok to say that you limited experience in the field prevents you from making accurate judgment, and that you are hoping that awesome wide research of University X will help me to better define my interests. Would it be necessary to mention one specific person whose research you find particularly intriguing. What if, what you did earlier, as undergrad is completely unrelated. Is it worth mentioning biophysics is one of the areas of interest, if you had not taken any biology classes. Is it ok to say that long range goal is to work in industry. Would you need to elaborate more on it?