Statement of intent requirements vary greatly across graduate programs and schools, so students should always consult admission advisors and the program’s website. But following some general rules will strengthen any statement of intent.
- Spelling, Grammar, Correct University and Program Name – It Matters!
Your beautifully written statement of intent could be tossed aside if there is a small typo. If you’re applying to multiple schools, please update the name of the university in each statement. Also, speak specifically about each program. It could be a deal-breaker if you don’t!
- Tell Your Story – For Real. Be honest, vulnerable. Be yourself.
- We really need to know about your background, so we can get an understanding of your story and why you’re interested in the graduate program. You don’t need to tell us everything, but most graduate programs would like to hear about your path to applying.
- Tell us why this field, why this university, why this program. Tie it to your story.
This is key! Research universities and read up on their mission statements. Know the core messages and ideals of the school and the program to which you’re applying. If there are specific faculty who inspired you to apply, note them in your statement. Applying to five or more schools/programs? Make sure to adapt your statement to match the school’s values.
- No Dissertations. Keep it short.
Faculty are drowning in papers, so they may not read anything more than five pages. At best, they’ll skip a good chunk of it. Many programs have minimum and maximum page requirements, so make sure to check with each school!
- Address the prompt provided by the program, but still do #2 and #3!
Some programs may have a prompt you’ll be asked to address. If you don’t address it, your application may not move forward. It’s ideal to address the prompt while telling the larger story of yourself and your interest in the program.