If you’re considering a teacher preparation master’s program, there’s no doubt you’ve seen a statement of purpose as an admissions requirement. Admission committees want to understand why you’d be a good fit for their program, if you have what it takes to succeed, and how you plan on reaching your career goals.
But how do you write a statement of purpose that stands out from the rest? Admission committees read hundreds—if not thousands—of statements besides yours. Here are a few tips to write the best possible statement of purpose.
- Know what the school is looking for. Every school has different prompts for a statement of purpose. They might ask why you want to go to grad school, what your career goals are, or what’s motivating you to continue your education. Be sure to read the qualifications closely—you shouldn’t write the same statement of purpose for multiple schools. Each school is unique, and they’re looking for unique statements of purpose!
- Tell your own story. The best story you can tell is your own. Help the admissions committee get to know the person beyond the test scores and letters of recommendation. Is there a specific moment you just knew you wanted to be a teacher, or a moment when you knew you wanted to go grad school? Tell that engaging story, keeping in mind you’re applying to graduate school so professionalism is always the name of the game. Use details, be emotive, and be specific. Emotional appeal is what connects us—and it makes you a memorable applicant.
- Be formal yet conversational. You want your statement of purpose to be both formal and conversational. Your statement should be easy to read so the admissions committee doesn’t get bored, but you shouldn’t write like you’re sending a text to a friend. Meeting in the middle will give you a perfect balance of professionalism and friendliness. Vary sentence lengths, avoid as much jargon as possible, and be yourself!
- Write multiple drafts. The first draft should never be the final draft. Write multiple—try different formats, use different stories, and see what works best. Read it over for repetition of phrases, grammar errors, and sentence structure. It’ll get better with each and every draft, and by the end, you’ll have a statement of purpose that you’re proud of.
- Get feedback. A pair of fresh eyes can do wonders during the writing process. After you’ve been writing and rewriting drafts, it’s easy to glaze over grammar errors and areas that need work. The solution? Get a friend, a colleague, or a mentor to read it over and give feedback. They’ll come in with a fresh perspective and useful tips to make your statement even better.
There you have it—five tips for a standout statement of purpose. Now get writing! And if you’re looking for a graduate degree in teaching, check out NYU Steinhardt’s Embedded Master of Arts in Teaching program.