A statement of purpose (also known as a letter or intent or LOI) is a concise, focused essay that you submit as part of your application to a school/university. The LOI identifies your intention to enroll and informs Admissions about your education and career history. To determine if a student is a good candidate for the school’s graduate program, the admissions department examines the LOI along with any other materials.
It is best to provide a high-quality, professional LOI. This will highlight your best academic and professional qualities. Your LOI should be a summary of your strengths, your experience and your drive. These are some tips to help you structure your letter of intention.
- Real reflection Spend some time reflecting on your motivations for pursuing an advanced education.
- How much value can you expect to gain?
- What are your short and long-term goals for the future?
- Research: Do your research on the colleges and universities that you are interested in and get as much information as possible.
- What length of time does the program last?
- What is the graduate rate of this university?
- Are alumni raving about the program?
- Outline: In a letter of intent, outline the characteristics that you have — academic, professional and personal — that best suit your chosen degree program.
- What makes you a strong candidate?
- What passions and skills do you have?
- Draft rough: Make a rough draft for your LOI.
- What are the benefits of working towards this degree?
- What are you going to do with your degree?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What sets you apart from your competition?
- Review: Ask someone to review the rough draft. It is best to have at least two or three people review your draft and provide feedback.
- You can use this feedback to improve your LOI until it is solid.
- Get a new set of eyes to review it for clarity, content and errors.
- Send your LOI to admissions at the program you are interested in.
A letter of intention is a very important piece in your admissions package. A letter of intent is not like a college essay where you aim to impress the admissions board with your passion and enthusiasm. Instead, it is a carefully-written document that shows your disciplined, productive process. Make sure you are as specific as you can about why this program is right for your needs. Be specific about your background and why you are qualified for admission. Attention to detail and respect the admission deadlines.
You can make your LOI a powerful piece of your package. It will highlight your professional and academic potential.