When applying to a graduate or doctoral program, you will likely need to write a statement of intent. This genre is perhaps the most difficult in which you have to write. Statements of intent are typically two to three pages long and could make a big difference between the success and failure of your application. However, you can focus on conveying your interests and experiences in vivid and specific details to create an outstanding statement that will excite admissions committees.
Part 1 of 3: Make an Outline
Step 1. Determine the "hook."
The admissions committee expects all applicants to be enthusiastic about studying in the field for which they are applying (be it biology, history, or whatever else). In order to stand out, you should start with an eye-catching hook that explains the exact reasons why you are motivated toward advanced studies in that field.
- Brainstorm certain factors that influenced your decision to pursue graduate school. These should be as interesting as possible while remaining truthful and credible.
- For example, it could be the case that that time you were stranded at the Rome airport for 24 hours is what made you interested in studying Italian or that you have made the decision to study entomology because you remember the stories that your grandparents told you. They recounted how devastating cotton weevil infestations were.
Step 2. Make an outline of a description of your experience in the field
In case you have carried out a research project or have some other type of significant experience in this area, you should definitely mention it in the statement of intent. You should only focus on those experiences you have gained during your undergraduate program, as no one will be interested in learning about your high school chemistry classes. You should include a section where you can discuss anything that is relevant, such as the following:
- your undergraduate thesis, your final year project or any other important research work
- the time you have spent as an intern in a laboratory, in a cultural foundation, etc.
- publications you have produced or contributed to
- important presentations, talks, panels or exhibits in which you have participated
Step 3. Include a section where you talk specifically about what you want to study
Here you should be specific and not only mention that you want to study sociology but, for example, describe that you have a serious interest in the intersection between gender, public health and post-industrial urban spaces. In this section, you should also make it clear why you consider that the institution you are applying to is the correct option to study in this area.
Do some research. Check the websites of the departments you want to apply to and study the faculty as well. While their investigative interests don't have to be exactly the same as yours, they must be related
Step 4. Fantasize about your future plans
It is advisable to discuss a bit about what direction you would like to take after your graduate studies. To do this, you could mention that you want to work as a researcher at a university or put your advanced knowledge of chemistry into practice in the pharmaceutical field.
Step 5. Pay attention to the specific questions that are asked of you
The instructions for declarations of intent are usually very general (for example, "Describe your interests and experiences in this area and where you envision your future in it"). However, sometimes there will be more specific questions, such as "What specific resources do you think you will need for your graduate research?" If the request code includes a specific question, you should incorporate it into your outline.
Part 2 of 3: Write a Draft Statement
Step 1. Astonish them with your knowledge of the field
At least one substantial paragraph should be dedicated to the topics of your particular interest. Talk about contemporary theories, books, scholars, or topics that give you inspiration and enthusiasm.
- You can write your interests as questions. In this way, your writing will be engaging and you will demonstrate that you have the ability to ask research questions.
- Here's an example of something you might write: "The question I keep coming back to in my research is: how did gender-based concerns shape the epistolary novel and related genres in the France of the eighteenth century? ".
Step 2. Focus on showing and not counting
In a statement of intent, you should let the details do the talking. This will excite the admissions committee and your statement will stand out from the rest of the boring, dry, and imprecise essays.
- For example, you shouldn't just write, "I got a lot of experience as a chemical engineering lab intern and will apply it to my graduate studies."
- Instead, you can write something like "During my internship in the chemical engineering laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley, I discovered a new method for the crystallization of citric acid. In the article I published in the New England Journal of Chemistry (" New England Journal of Chemistry ") explain how this has the potential to transform industrial production of that compound. I intend to continue researching these applications during my graduate studies."
- Feel free to use the technical jargon of the field you belong to. You must remember that your writing will be directed to your peers and they want to know that you are well informed.
Step 3. Throw in flowers
Statements of intent are not the time to be modest. While you shouldn't brag, you should mention your accomplishments in a direct way. Don't forget that your goal is to impress the admissions committee.
- So you can't just write something like, "During my undergraduate studies, I did excellent academically."
- Instead, you must show specific evidence of these accomplishments: "I received a $ 2,000 grant from the Louisiana Historical Society to fund my research on material culture in everyday life for African Americans in the pre-American era. The American Civil War. The thesis I wrote reporting on my findings won the Louisiana State University Library Research Award for Undergraduate Studies. "
Step 4. List those you want to work with
In case you want to work specifically with certain professors in your graduate studies, you will need to mention them in the statement. Likewise, you must adapt this part to each of the institutions to which you apply. For example, you could write: "I am interested in taking one of Professor Méndez's courses on contemporary theories of the novel" or "As a student of his program, I would further my research by participating in Dr. Cortez ".
- Not bad if you haven't thought of anyone specific yet. Instead, mention the strengths of that department or university and how they will benefit you: "As a practicing translator, I would enthusiastically contribute to your university's Intercultural Communications Center."
- Talk about your interests in an honest way and don't think that you can only discuss the job with reputable people.
- Keep in mind that sometimes the most famous professors in a department may not work with many graduate students.
Step 5. Explain interruptions or academic problems
There is nothing wrong with taking time off after finishing your undergraduate studies before starting your graduate studies. However, you do need to address it briefly. Also, if you had an academic setback (for example, if you failed a course one semester or scored poorly on an exam) but your application is otherwise strong, this will not be an automatic rejection, although you will need to explain it.
- Here is an example of what you can write: "After finishing my undergraduate degree, I worked for two years as an assistant for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. This experience will inform my graduate studies in the area of public administration. ".
- If you need to address an academic problem, you can say something like "After choosing the subject for my thesis, my sense of concentration intensified, my GPA increased greatly, and I got the highest grade in my thesis."
Step 6. Be concise
For the most part, statements of intent are between 500 and 1000 words (1 to 2 pages) in length. In case the extension is not specifically mentioned, your statement should stay within this range. If it is too short, the admissions committee will not be impressed, while if it is too long, it will annoy them.
In case your application specifically requires a statement of intent of less than 500 words or more than 1,000, you will need to follow these instructions
Part 3 of 3: Review the return
Step 1. Read aloud what you have written
The statement is aimed at an audience of academics and may use specialized vocabulary, but it should also sound good. A good way to make sure your text flows well and doesn't contain any awkward phrases, long sentences, or other problems is to read it out loud.
Check off all the problematic parts you find when reading the statement aloud and then correct them
Step 2. Ask your teachers to review your statement
A professor in your field will know what makes a statement of intent captivating and compelling. You should ask at least two professors who know you well (for example, your thesis advisor or any other professor who has written you a letter of recommendation) to read your statement after you write it.
In case they give you any suggestions to improve it, you should correct the statement and then ask them to read it again
Step 3. Make revisions and edits
Once you have written and corrected your statement of intent and obtained approval from some of your teachers, it is ready for a final review. Read your statement carefully for typing and other errors.
You should not rely on your word processor's grammar and spelling checking tools, as some errors may be missed
Step 4. Double-check all requirements before submitting the return
Once you have finished it, reread the instructions on the application and make sure you have answered the specific questions in the locker (if applicable) and that everything is in the correct format. When everything seems to be in order, the statement is ready to be sent.