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Hey all,

I'm starting to draft my statement of purpose and was wondering if any of you had any advice about the general structure of how the statement should look. It'd be great to hear any other advice as to what you believe the the essential aspects of a successful statement are 

Applying to sociology PhD programs and a couple of MA programs in theology, but would be happy to hear advice from those outside of these disiciplines as well.

Thanks in advance! 

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I applied to clinical psych PhD programs and this was my structure:

  • How I got interested in psychology (tried to make it brief but substantive and non-fluffy)
  • Research experience (in chronological order, about 3 paragraphs, main emphasis on my thesis)
  • Clinical experience (not really applicable to you)
  • Special skills (e.g. SPSS)
  • Grad school goals + what I want to do after grad school
  • Fit with professor(s)
  • Fit with school

Depending on the word limit for a particular school, I would cut certain sections; first the special skills section, then trim the research/clinical sections, and if it wasn't short enough by then, sometimes I cut the whole intro paragraph to a single sentence. Those 500-word-maximum statements were so hard, barely had enough room to discuss fit with professors.

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