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Any advice on writing the statement of purpose for grad school?

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I am going to be applying to grad school at various programs across the country (Vanderbilt, TCU, SDSU, etc.) but I am confused about how to write my SOP? The schools don't give any info about what to include nor how long it should be. If any of yall have samples or suggestions please share!

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Each school should have a prompt. If there is no specific instruction, just sell yourself. Talk about why you're applying to that specific school, and why you'd be a good fit. Tell them why they should pick you. Explain inconsistencies (if any) on your transcripts.

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Start here: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/642/1/

I would be wary about reading too many other personal statements. There are many threads of advice on this topic already, and someone pointed out that if you read too many other personal statements, it becomes tempting to make your SoP a mash-up of the ones you have read. I can understanding wanting to get a sense of what other people write, and there are a few samples on the website I gave you. This is your chance to show schools why you want to be an SLP, and why they should want you in their program. Show that you have researched their program and you know why you will be a good fit for them. A good rule for length if they don't specify is about 500 words, or about two pages double-spaced.

I found it helpful to write several different drafts, and then edit them and combine them into a final draft, which I then gave to my sister, a professor, and a classmate to read over. I found it helpful to get all that feedback, but was glad I had done the preliminary work by myself to make sure the statement was mine and written in my voice.

Some other resources:


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  • 5 weeks later...

Technical points: (unless otherwise specified)

2 pgs, double-spaced

1" margins

name in the header on BOTH pages

page numbers on BOTH pages

(SOP's are often printed out by an admissions officer clerk, and you can make it easy for them by over-labeling)

I also included the name of the school / admissions office address (etc) on the top of my front page as a reference for every SOP I wrote (did 7 applications, so this helped me to keep them straight)


Advice from SLP admissions committee professors:

-Stick to the topic or prompt ; show your personal style in your writing, but don't be too "flowery" or over the top or they won't take your SOP seriously

-If no prompt, you need to show that you are interested in THEIR program -- not just the SLP field -- something that is specific to their research areas, focus areas, internship or externship opportunities, the location of the university, etc.

-Don't be afraid to show your personality.  They get TONS of application essays (400+ in many cases), and you want yours to stand out -- mention something about you as a person, what makes YOU, you.  If you have life-changing experiences that led you to the point of applying for this field, mention those.  Some departments are more interested in the academic side of you, so beware of putting too much into this part, but definitely show YOU in the essay, and you will stand out for who you are.  

-If you have any areas of interest that you must include in order to be eligible for scholarships, grants, or research assistantships, be SURE to include those.  Check to see if an extra essay is required for any of those opportunities.  


Definitely get it proof-read, and then STILL, you proof it again.  I missed "led" on one of my essays (the "l" was deleted) and was glad to catch it before submitting.  It seems like a small, mundane detail, but imagine being on the admissions committee... you receive essays with one or two typos, and they automatically go in the "maybe" pile, or even the "no" pile.  The competition is fierce!


Good luck!! 

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