How To Write A Winning Statement of Purpose (Samples)

If you have been finding it difficult to write a statement of purpose or you have written unsuccessful statement of purpose before then this article will guide you on how to write your next winning statement of purpose.

Please note: Statement of Purpose or Research Statement is not the same as Personal Statements.

Writing A Statement of Purpose

Generally, statement of purpose or research statement is a type of essay that presents you with the opportunity to discuss your purpose for getting into a particular program or research or academic interest.

It should be specific. Document your conclusions with specific instances or draw your conclusions as the result of individual experience. See the list of general Words to Avoid Using without Explanation listed below.

It should be an example of careful persuasive writing.

It avails you with an opportunity to    objectively yet self-revelatory and directly and in a straightforward manner present your specific area of academic interest ( at times, the research topic you want to work on). This should be done without the use of jargons.

In this essay, you have to convincingly relate how your past education and how other experiences have prepared you to be successful in the undergraduate or graduate program you hope to pursue

It is also an opportunity for you to state what you hope to achieve in the graduate program and how the programme will ensure your career advancement..

Before you start writing you statement of purpose

a) Indicate the area of your interests. Ideally, pose a question, define a problem, or indicate a theme that you would like to address, and questions that arise from contemporary research. This should be an ample paragraph!

b) Look on the web for information about departments you’re interested in, including professors and their research. Are there professors whose research interests parallel yours? If so, indicate this. Check the specific program; many may require you to name a professor or professors with whom you might work.

c) End your statement in a positive manner, indicating your excitement and readiness for the challenges ahead of you.

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Parts of Statement of Purpose

Part 1 of your statement of purpose

The first paragraph contains your introduction. The reader of this first paragraph should get an idea about you

Emphatically start with with an impactful statement that should grab your reader’s interest. Your reader should technically know by the end of the first paragraph that you are clear of your goals, objectives and ambitions.

In this first part, introduce yourself but be mindful of the introduction and avoid writing an autobiography.

Also, highlight your interests and motivations. Use this opportunity to tell the admission committee and faculty board members you are interested in, and perhaps, what ignited your desire to pursue studies at the University.

This should be short, concise and straight to the point so avoid spending so much time on this part.

Part 2 of your statement of purpose

You have taken a decision to join a specific program. The next part should be about your decision to join the program and statements supporting it.

Use this opportunity to summarize your undergraduate and previous graduate career.

Include all the research you are conducting including the ones you have conducted during your previous education.

At graduate level, you have to know that mainly professors and associate professors are the ones reading your statement so you have to indicate with whom, the title of the project, your responsibilities during the project and the outcome.

Technicality is very important, so you have to write technically especially making use of your the language of your discipline.

Moreso, include important paper(s) or thesis project you completed, as well as anything scholarly beyond your curricular requirements.

Part 3 of your statement of purpose

In one or two paragraphs, highlight your work experience, especially the ones that are related to the programme you are applying to.

Use this opportunity to to list your responsibilities as it relates to researching, teaching, organizing or interning in an area that is mostly similar to what you wish to study in graduate school.

Also indicate the impact you have made in this organisation wether it a profit or non-profit organization.

In this part you indicate how working in this environment had helped you to consider studying this program with the aim of improving in this field.

Part 4 of your statement of purpose

As an applicant, you may not be overtly qualified for the programme you have chosen academic wise but if you are able to discuss the relevance of your recent and current activities and it relates to the program in view, you might stand a chance.

Having highlighted the relevance of your recent activities, elaborate on your academic interests.

In this part, you have to indicate what you would like to study in graduate school and explain convincingly that you understand the scope of their research themes and the discipline.

In conclusion, the last paragraph should focus on making reference to the first and preceding paragraph in a manner that it appears like a cycle.

Finally,  proofread, revise, make sure your writing is concise enough.

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Always check the school department website to find out the page Limit Number.

People who reviewer these applications are humans not robots or bots and they usually have to read hundreds of these applications. It is highly advised that you do not overburden them with extra pages.

Also, read and proofread your letters. Leaving typographical errors would make the admission committee think you are a careless thus they may not consider you a serious person.

Avoid Using These Words

Please avoid using these words if you will not be able to explain them properly.




satisfying, satisfaction




meant a lot to me




exciting, excited

enjoyable, enjoy

I can contribute




feel good


appealing to me

appealing aspect

I like it

it’s important



helping people

I like to help


Essential Tips and points

1. Introduce yourself in a manner that resonates in the reader’s mind.

2.Write about your academic and nonacademic plans future plans and how it relates to chosen academic programme.

3.Detail your research interests and learning long and short term goals and how you plan to successfully accomplish and accommodate all of them.
4.Do not forget to mention why you should be be selected and why you consider yourself a good fit for the program.
5.Ensure you find a connection between your previous education and training and the desired program.
6.Always give a context and a flow of how you will navigate through the selected program.
7.Make sure you answer all the questions asked since sometimes certain universities will be very specific in their questions.
So get your research work done about the university before your start writing.
that you’re ambitious but make sure you don’t boost yourself too much.
9.I always had a journal where I jot down my main passions, interest, mistakes I made, and achievements to simply thread them together. It’s a handy tool!
10.If there are any challenges that you overcame in your research write them down because it reflects how you’re a problem solver.
11.Write your career goals, and how you learned about this program. Make sure that you’re aware of what the research is been done in the department or the university.
12.First, make a draft or outline of your essay then bring them together in a good sequence.
Also, make a note of the page length limit!
13.Don’t use unnecessary jargon, check your tone. Simple is better.

Sample of a Winning Statement

Sample Statement 1 (Arts and humanities)

Having majored in literary studies (world literature) as an undergraduate, I would now like to concentrate on English and American literature.

I am especially interested in nineteenth-century literature, women’s literature, Anglo-Saxon poetry, and folklore and folk literature. My personal literary projects have involved some combination of these subjects. For the oral section of my comprehensive exams, I specialized in nineteenth century novels by and about women. The relation ship between “high” and folk literature became the subject for my honors essay, which examined Toni Morrison’s use of classical, biblical, African, and Afro-American folk tradition in her novel. I plan to work further on this essay, treating Morrison’s other novels and perhaps preparing a paper suitable for publication.

In my studies toward a doctoral degree, I hope to examine more closely the relationship between high and folk literature. My junior year and private studies of Anglo-Saxon language and literature have caused me to consider the question of where the divisions between folklore, folk literature, and high literature lie. Should I attend your school, I would like to resume my studies of Anglo-Saxon poetry, with special attention to its folk elements.

Writing poetry also figures prominently in my academic and professional goals. I have just begun submitting to the smaller journals with some success and am gradually building a working manuscript for a collection. The dominant theme of this collection relies on poems that draw from classical, biblical, and folk traditions, as well as everyday experience, in order to celebrate the process of giving and taking life, whether literal or figurative. My poetry draws from and influences my academic studies. Much of what I read and study finds a place in my creative work as subject. At the same time, I study the art of literature by taking part in the creative process, experimenting with the tools used by other authors in the past.

In terms of a career, I see myself teaching literature, writing criticism, and going into editing or publishing poetry. Doctoral studies would be valuable to me in several ways. First, your teaching assistant ship program would provide me with the practical teaching experience I am eager to acquire. Further, earning a Ph.D. in English and American literature would advance my other two career goals by adding to my skills, both critical and creative, in working with language. Ultimately, however, I see the Ph.D. as an end in itself, as well as a professional stepping stone; I enjoy studying literature for its own sake and would like to continue my studies on the level demanded by the Ph.D. program.

Source: “How to Write a Winning Personal Statement for Graduate and Professional School” by Richard Stelzer


Sample Statement 2 (Sciences)

I was raised to have a deep and reverential respect for the natural world around me. From a very young age, I was taught the importance of science – whether to simply understand how the things in my environment worked, or to contribute meaningful research that would affect the lives of the next generation. My father actively fostered a love of science; he would read Stephan Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” with me during my middle school years, explain the curvature of space while sitting on our family’s trampoline, and even got me a chemistry set when most other girls my age were asking for ponies. My mother supported my endeavors as well, making sure that I knew I could do just as well as the boys in my math and science classes. So it came as no surprise to them when I enjoyed and prospered throughout all of my high school science courses. But something was missing – and while I loved Biology, Chemistry and Physics, I just could not see myself donning a white lab coat and poking Petri dishes or staring at chalkboards full of equations all day. It was not until my first psychology course that I finally realized what I was missing – the human element. Human beings are made up of various compounds, molecules, electrical signals and hormones that somehow coalesce in all the right ways to form a thinking, feeling organism. I am interested in the complexity of the human mind – I am interested in how it works, and fascinated when it sometimes does not. In order to better understand the structure of the brain, I plan to enter into the field of Experimental Psychology with a focus in Neuropsychology.

From the Fall semester of 2004 through the Spring semester of 2007, I actively contributed to the laboratories of both Dr. Mary Brown and Dr. Greg Burns. While working with Dr. Brown, I have garnered an immense amount of practical experimental experience. Under her mentorship, I have spent the past two years developing skills related to study construction, data collection, data entry, and paper and poster development and presentation. I have co-authored a poster entitled “Computerized Scoring of the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale” that has gone to the Western Psychological Association (WPA) Convention in Spring of 2006. I have also first-authored a poster entitled “Exploring Sex Differences on the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale Using Modified Instructions” that will be presented at the 2007 WPA Convention. During my first two semesters, I helped Dr. Brown with a vast variety of research tasks, and as I became a more experienced member of her lab, the complexity and variety of my assigned tasks increased, such as completing the training and orientation of new lab members. In an effort to continue providing Research Assistants with diverse guidance, I was put in charge of constructing and presenting various workshops to develop both basic and advanced skills on programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 2. I also created two workshops on skills needed to apply and gain admission to graduate school: choosing a mentor and preparing for the Graduate Record Exams.

During the summer of 2006, I was the first undergraduate ever in Dr. Brown’s lab to be appointed to the position of Lab Manager. My task as manager was to meet with Dr. Brown every week in order to organize weekly meetings with other Lab Assistants. This included drafting agendas, organizing and preparing for workshops and presentations, and discussing overall progress in the lab. I also ran lab meetings to oversee the progress of various research related tasks, and to provide direction for fellow research assistants. I made myself available to answer various questions on numerous topics; those pertaining to the lab itself, as well as general questions about the GREs and applying to graduate school. I also helped with coordinating plans to attend psychological association conferences. Finally, in order to assist with Dr. Brown’s PSY 712 (Standardized Tests and Measurements) class, I learned advanced techniques with Dreamweaver, and then answered questions on creating a website, linking pages, and how to conduct an online study.

Despite the absolutely wonderful research experience I gained with Dr. Brown, I found my passion with neuropsychology while working with Dr. Greg Burns. In Dr. Burn’s lab, I helped develop a study to classically condition Event Related Potentials. I learned how to apply surface electrodes to a volunteer’s scalp, and then presented visual and auditory stimuli to the participant. However, we soon found that the equipment and software we were using were out of date; so for the past two semesters, we have been trying to develop a program to correctly present the stimuli at staggered intervals and to record the brain’s responses. This required me to collaborate with engineering students, as the program we need must use engineering software to correctly time stimuli and average the incoming brain waves. Our work is ongoing, and this semester we should finally be able to determine whether or not classical conditioning can “trick” the brain into producing lessened, but observable responses without a physical stimulus present. Participating in Dr. Burn’s lab has given me valuable hands on experience interacting with participants, developing studies, and working with professionals in other fields to create workable solutions to a psychology-based problem.


During my undergraduate career, I successfully managed my time between work, school, and extracurricular duties. I excelled at my studies, obtaining a 3.99 unweighted GPA. I spent 4-5 hours a week in Dr. Burn’s lab working with other assistants. While lab manager, I contributed 8-12 hours a week to the lab, and fielded calls at home if a research assistant needed immediate help with a task. Assistants could also reach me by email when I was not on campus. During the Summer and Fall semesters that I participated as manager, I also worked 25 hours a week as a sales associate at Canyonland, a store specializing in rocks, minerals, and Southwest Native American trinkets. There, I spent time greeting customers, cashiering, stocking, merchandizing, ordering, receiving, updating the store’s computers, and designing and printing signs, informational printouts, and technical information sheets on the various specimens and Native artifacts. I worked diligently at both jobs part time – while still remaining a full time student – and maintaining straight A’s for both semesters.


However, the largest part of my undergraduate career was spent fostering a love of experimental psychology through laboratory work. This lab work has allowed me to cultivate a particular research focus – I am interested in basic questions of sensation, perception, and cognition at an almost reductionist level. I am attracted to the idea that an understanding of brain anatomy can lead to a greater understanding of emotion, cognition, and perception. I am fascinated by the physical capabilities and limitations of the brain, and how the development of new technology can depend on neuropsychology. For example, linguistics has always held a special appeal to me, and the advancements of voice recognition and production software rely heavily on understanding the perception of pitch, and how humans produce and understand speech. I believe that neuropsychology can inform the development of technology; from giving paraplegics wirelessly controlled mechanical limbs that receive messages from their motor cortex to developing glasses that transmit information to occipital lobe implants and let the blind see. A background in neuropsychology adds a vital piece towards understanding these technological puzzles.

Overall, I believe that my work and research experience has prepared me for the demands of the graduate program here at UNLV. I have shown that I strive and flourish under the pressures of advanced coursework, and the commitments of both lab and work. It has come to my attention that both Dr. Chris Matthews and Dr. Aaron Adams will be joining UNLV this fall as faculty with specializations in Neuropsychology. I hope to correspond with both during the application process, to get better acquainted with their research interests. I am excited at the prospect of working with one of the new faculty members in the fall, and look forward to producing quality research that reflects UNLV’s high standards. If my undergraduate research experience is any indication, I truly believe that UNLV will help me achieve my goals for higher education as well as prepare me for a career in Neuropsychology.

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