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personal statement or statement of purpose


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In most applications, it does not make a difference since the prompt will be fairly specific. However, if an application only mentions submitting a "statement of purpose" or a personal statement, then I see it like this:


Statement of Purpose: What you hope to achieve (including getting into the PhD program), your career goals, and why you're qualified/prepared to succeed.


Personal Statement: Why you're interested in the subject in the first place (and how your background relates to this) and why you'll succeed. 


Based on these definitions, it's fairly clear why you almost always see a statement of purpose for chemistry PhD applications. 



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