How to Write the best Statement of Purpose for Scholarships

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When we talk of the Statement of Purpose, we also a document often called “letter of intent” or “application essay” or “graduate statement”. It is one of the most vital documents needed during your scholarship application process. That’s why this article contains how to write the best Statement of Purpose for scholarships.

A Statement of Purpose gives the admissions committee information that enables them to become more familiar with who you are; what you want to study at graduate school and why; also your mastery and what motivates you for graduate study in your area of specialization. Also, including your readiness for this field of study, your academic plans or research interests in your chosen area of study, and your future career goals.

You must understand that an intelligent and well-written Statement of Purpose often makes the distinction between if you will get admitted and if you will be denied the admission, irrespective of other qualifications.

But applicants oftentimes neglect to do justice to themselves in statements of purpose. That’s why these few pointers below will help you to give your best to create a Statement of Purpose.

To make your Statement of Purpose for Scholarship stand out from the rest, do this

Most Statements of Purpose are just okay. Regardless, unless your project is funded and you have a supervisor already, or the other aspects of your application is extraordinary, then you have to put much efforts into this letter. It means it is your only chance to present some personal insights and life apart from the numbers given by your transcripts, GREs, and other such documents.

In other words, you don’t really have anywhere else to promptly prove your personality, motivation, maturity, interest, enthusiasm, diligence, commitment, to mention but a few, and highlight your most relevant points.

Most importantly, remain honest and never promote yourself beyond your reality. Don’t say too much.

Distinction between a Personal Statement and a Statement of Purpose

A Personal Statement is written, channeled towards who you are as a person and what you may offer to enhance the overall university community.

Meanwhile, a Statement of Purpose characterizes your “brain,” for instance, the scientist you have become and will grow to be. You are now the scientist and any personal information should be related to your scientific approach and how you will enhance the scientific world, unlike the Personal Statement.

Difference between Statement Of Purpose for Doctoral and that of Master’s Programs

For a Doctoral program, a Statement of Purpose is different from that of a Master’s program and not inferior. Therefore, it would be wrong to deduce that the criteria for a statement of purpose in an application to a doctoral program are higher than the criteria applicable to master’s applications. But the standards are clearly distinct.

For instance, in a statement of application to master’s in the Social Sciences, an excellent statement of purpose might or might not indicate any particular research topic that the student wants to pursue in the program. Being unclear about these matters is not problematic when one is applying to a greatly focused Master’s program. But being unclear about them would surely be a liability in a Doctoral application.

Tips To help you write an Outstanding Statement of Purpose for Scholarship

(1)  Do your homework:

  1. You have to browse through the websites of the schools/departments/programs of interest to you. Collect brochures and booklets and scan through them thoroughly. Then underline the aspects of the programs that appeal to you.
  2. Read up on the research interests and projects of the faculty in the schools/departments/programs. Study publications from a faculty of interest.
  3. Also, browse through new articles from the research field of interest and try to get a general understanding of how the field developed and what are its current problems and challenges.
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(2)  Evaluate and Brainstorm (on paper):

  • Weigh your intellectual development.
  • What and when were the main periods in your life that have led you to your current research interest(s) and school/department/program?
  • What or who impacted on your decision or interest (i.e. role models)? What personality about them endeared them to you?
  • What personal characteristics (for example, integrity, compassion, and/or persistence) do you possess that would improve your prospects for success in the field or profession? Is there a way to demonstrate or document that you have these characteristics?
  • What skills (for example, leadership, communicative, analytical) do you possess?
  • Why did you choose your research topic(s)/field/school?
  • Why did you choose your undergraduate major?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  • What do you hope to achieve?
  • What drives you? What motivates you?

(3)  Outline your Statement of Purpose:

  1. From the results of Stage II, specify a central theme/topic that oversees your reviews and brainstorm.
  2. Using bullet points and brief comments/statements, coordinate your reflections and brainstorm ideas that strengthen the central theme/topic of your statement of purpose.
    1. Concentrate on your life experiences and give specific examples.
    2. Put down only those things that excite you
    3. Be honest.
  3. Your outline should cover these areas and, preferably, in this order:
  4. What aspects of the school/department/program appeals to you?
  5. What are your research interest(s)?
  6. How did you become interested in your current research topic/area?
  7. How did you prepare or are preparing to address the issues in this research area/topic (i.e. research experiences, courses, etc.)?
  8. What are your future goals for graduate school (i.e. Ph.D.)?
  9. What are your career goals (i.e. professorship)?
  10. What characteristics of the school/department/program can help you accomplish your goals?
  11. What positive aspects do you bring to the school/department/program?

(4)  Write Draft of Statement of Purpose:

When writing your statement of purpose:

  1. Be Yourself. Be mindful that you are seeking a program that is a good match for you not to please anyone else. Always use positive language when referring to yourself. What the admissions committee want to read between the lines: self-motivation, competence; these are potentials every graduate student must have.
  2. Write a Strong Opening that will catch the reader’s attention and a good closing paragraph.
  3. Use transition words, sentences and paragraphs for a smooth read.
  4. Frame the points you wish to make in a positive light. You do not want to reveal weaknesses in your personality.
  5. Define a significant experience that is related to the program of interest. It is usually good to place this portion of the essay towards the opening. If the experience has contributed to the person that you are today, you have to note it.
  6. Demonstrate everything by example; don’t say directly that you’re a persistent person, show it.
  7. Be specific, honest and outstanding.
  8. Describe why you are a good match for their program.
  9. Talk about your goals. Clarify how a graduate degree will help you achieve those goals.
  10. Explain any weaknesses in your background. (i.e. You had a poor GPA during your freshman year in college. Put a positive spin on this explanation and accentuate how your GPA has improved as you matured.)
  11. Show the admissions committee appreciation for their time at the end of your statement of purpose.
  12. Unless the particular program says otherwise, be concise; an ideal essay should say everything it needs to with brevity. Approximately 500 to 1000 well-selected words (1-2 single space pages in 12 point font) is better than more words with less clarity and poor organization.
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(5)  Do not Stress:

Do not be pressured If you find that you are still having problems completing your Statement of Purpose. Take a few days and put this task aside. You will find that other activities will joggle your mind and make you more creative, thereby providing you with ideas and content to include into your paper.

You must know that a Statement of Purpose needs time and thoughtfulness. You want to sell yourself to the committee and in order to do that you need to put your best foot forward. Keep working on the statement of purpose, even after you have already sent it to school(s) with earlier deadline(s).

(6)  Ask for Critique, Revise and Edit:

  1. When you are finished with your draft statement of purpose, read it out loud to yourself and make corrections.
  2. Ask friends, colleagues and professors to read your edited draft. Taking their comments into consideration, revise and edit your draft.

What to Avoid When Writing a Statement of Purpose for Scholarship

  1. Watch out for Errors, misspellings, poor English.
  2. Do not submit a handwritten essay (unless requested).
  3. Do not “Talk down” to your audience. Your audience does not need to have basic vocabulary defined for them. Be mindful that they are already experts in the program that you are applying for.
  4. Do not be too personal in your essay. Do not focus on deep personal problems or excuses for past performances or experiences.
  5. Do not be repetitive or too general in your statements.
  6. Don’t castigate other school programs.
  7. Don’t use uncommon words that look like they came from a thesaurus.
  8. Do not write an autobiography. You want to give the committee a sense of who you are but they do not want to hear about your entire life story. Be mindful of your personal details.
  9. Don’t submit untruthful or irrelevant information in your essay.
  10. You do not copy and submit another student’s letter of intent. Be original.
  11. Do not be overly informal.

How to compose Statement of Purpose for Scholarship

  1. A “hook” that illustrates your passion for the field
  2. Segue to your background in the field
  3. Description of your academic background in the field
    1. Specific classes you have taken, given by name
    2. Specific professors you have had, especially if well-known in that field
  4. Extracurricular activities in the field
  5. Publications or other professional accomplishments in the field (perhaps conference presentations or public readings)
  6. Explanations about problems in background (if needed)
  7. Explanation of why you have chosen the specific grad school
    1. Mention one or two professors in that school and what you know of and appreciate about their work.
    2. Specific features of the grad program which attract you.


Follow the above tips and ace your admission process to study in the University of your dreams. If you have more tips that worked for you while writing your Statement of Purpose, please let us know in the comment section.

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