Statement of Purpose
If you are asked for a Statement of Purpose - sometimes called an 'Application
Essay ' or 'Letter of Intent' it means that you are seriously being considered
for a placement or post. It is, however, a demanding test of your written
communication skills so you will need to spend some time on this!
Format: A statement of purpose is normally
one or two pages, written in the first person, to demonstrate that you
have both the ability and motivation to
succeed in your chosen career. Drawing on your experience you
show that you are a serious candidate and that your choice is coherent
with your proven abilities and the nature of the institution or company
that you are applying to. The statement should be explicit but try to bear
in mind the KISS principle Keep It Short and Simple!
Preparation: Input from fellow students,
returning students and especially your specialist professors and language
teachers will be very useful. Read the instructions very carefully and
double check rather than assume things. If the statement requires detailed
responses to specific questions, answer fully paying attention
to words and nuance. As in the covering letter your statement
should make reference to the institution or company in a positive and meaningful
way; so research them well and try to remain up to date as develoments
can occur between your original application and the request for a statement
Content: because a statement of purpose is
an extremely personal and candidate-specific exercise we do not provide
a model for one on our examples pages. Nevertheless here is a rough outline
of what is expected.
- Introduce yourself and provide some personal information about your upbringing
and your background particularly where it has relevence to your current
- You may like to introduce any themes that you wish to develop later as
you explain your motivation. It is OK to be original but not at the risk
of being strange. Avoid any humour that isn't very mild!
- Draw lightly on experiences that have little to do with your current request
but significantly on what you have learned and assimilated from those
that have. Talk about how you have gone further than necessary, or when
you have taken initiative. Explain any setbacks and show what they
taught you. You should make a clear link between your recent experience
and your current canditure to give your application coherence.
- Achievements, goals attained, awards and good marks should be emphasised
as should your skills and qualities but avoid being too egotistical.
- Explain how your current request corresponds to your longer-term career
- Say what you hope that the post ( placement, internship
) will have given you when you successfully finish.
In conclusion. Proof-reading is of course essential; punctuation,
spelling, names and addresses should be perfect. Make an effort with the
layout, printing (and paper unless it is in electronic form). Respect deadlines.
For more specialised information and more examples see www.statementofpurpose.com/