A statement of purpose for masters/postgraduate is neither a sob-story nor an opportunity for you to tell the admission board that things are challenging for you. If you have seen personal statement examples, you would hardly see one that leaves the main idea of what a personal statement sample for masters should look like to talk about other less important things.
The question now is, what does a statement of purpose look like? But before we dive in, let’s understand what it is all about.
- What is a statement of purpose?
- What You Need To Know Prior
- What you need to avoid
- Questions your personal statement should answer
- Personal statement sample
- Additional tips
- Download personal statement example (PDF)
What is a statement of purpose?
Before we dive in, we have to know what a statement of purpose is?
It is a letter of intent, the document that is the sole determinant of your admission. That is to say, if your letter of intent makes no sense and shows the admission board that you have no idea as regards your application, you are not getting that letter that has ‘congratulations, we are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into our programme’.
In your personal statement, you get to talk about how this degree or diploma will help you in your future career, why you chose this school and department, your research interest, how your undergraduate degree relates to the postgraduate programme you want to pursue and if it doesn’t relate why you have decided to switch careers.
If there are conferences you have attended or papers you published relating to that course, a personal statement is the right place for you to show it off.
A personal statement or letter of intent should not be very long. Most schools require 500 words. If you are applying to a school like that, make sure you don’t exceed 500 words.
What You Need To Know Before You Start Writing Your Personal Statement
Know the course you want to study. This is extremely important because it will help you tell the admission board that you have an idea of what the course entails and you are not just a random graduate who is looking for an opportunity to leave your country if you intend to study outside your country.
Research about the department. Know specific lecturers in the department and their various research interests. You can add something like ‘Professor Arnold’s detailed research on Old and Middle English Literature spurred my interest to pursue a Master’s degree in this field.’
If you have volunteered either as a leader in your church fellowship, a Nation Youth Service Corps Member, a research assistant, with an NGO or wherever it will look good in your application. I applied for a Master’s degree in Human Trafficking Migration and Organised Crime. My field of study was not related to human trafficking, but I volunteered with an NGO and wrote a novel on the discourse. I got the admission.
If you have published papers or articles in journals, take your time to read what you published and decide if you want to add it to your application or not.
Research extensively about the school. Why do you want to study in this school and not other schools? Why are you interested in the country?
What you need to avoid in your personal statement
- Lame phrases and clauses
- Information about your own life that has little or nothing to do with your application.
- A pleading tone.
- Quoting the scriptures is not the right thing to do. This might be allowed if you are applying to the Department of Religion and Cultural Studies.
Questions your personal statement should answer
- What do you hope to achieve with the degree?
- How has your undergraduate study prepared you for this course?
- Do you have an idea of what this course is about?
- How is your proposed course of study going to help you with your career progression in the future?
- What do you know about this school?
- What do you know about our department?
- Are you enthusiastic about studying this course?
- How does your academic and nonacademic qualities fit the degree you are applying for?
When you are done with your plan for your personal statement, it is then time to start writing it. I will show you guys a master’s personal statement template written with the idea I have written above.
Personal statement sample
My name is Audrey Chima, and I hold a bachelor’s degree in English and Literary Studies, Second Class Honours Upper Division from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
I chose this course of Human Trafficking, Migration, and Organised Crime because of my growing interest in the field. As a student of English and Literary Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, I was introduced to Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sister’s Street. Reading about what the vulnerable young girls who were promised a better life went through in Belgium in the hands of their traffickers, which Unigwe portrayed in her novel, my interest in human trafficking deepened. I want to understand the characteristic of this modern form of slavery and how to stop this menace.
A lot of people are leaving my country Nigeria to seek greener pastures in other countries, those who have the means do that legally while those who do not have the means to migrate professionally look for another route. Most of them fall into the hands of human traffickers or drug dealers because they are desperate to get out of the country by any means.
Last year, Nigeria had a lot of Libya returnees with heartbreaking stories. They all wanted a better life, and they were promised that only they ended up in Libya and not Spain; Some of them did not live to tell the story. I am confident that I have a lot to learn from this course and that studying this course will be beneficial to me and my immediate community as the course will give me a standard introduction to human trafficking, migration and organized crime and it will help me understand the causes, impacts, and prevention of these modern forms of slavery.
In the year 2016, I wrote and published my first novel, Agonies, which was influenced by the human trafficking stories I have read. I created fictional characters and gave them a voice to talk about the trauma the vulnerable victims of trafficking go through. The girls were promised a better life in Italy, and they believed their trafficker because they needed a better experience. Poverty and political instability influenced their decision to migrate, but instead of the good life they were promised, they found themselves on the street of Milan. My novel earned me the award of the Outstanding Young Author in Nigeria in the year 2017. The wife of the President gave me a prize of $300.
After my studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, I was contacted by an NGO based in the Benin Republic to share stories of the victims of human trafficking on my blog. After two weeks, I was invited to visit the Benin Republic and see the victim for myself. My short stay interacting with the victims exposed me to the horrible things the victims of trafficking go through. Staying there for a short while and reading Professor Jane’s paper on human trafficking in Africa spurred my interest in this discourse.
Apart from writing fiction, I am a media writer and a presenter. I have worked with a couple of media houses in Nigeria, creating content, writing PR campaign scripts, and presenting from my days as a student to date. I was also interviewed with regards to my novel, Agonies. As a media person, I have read a lot of trafficking-related stories, and what the victims go through is very heartbreaking. I am a young lady with a unique voice who is passionate about whatever she decides to do. I possess excellent communication skills, self-discipline, and creativity. As an undergraduate, I was awarded the Most Creative Female in the Faculty of Arts with regards to my contribution to the faculty as regards gender discourse and creativity.
I am attracted to St Mary’s University’s holistic approach to meeting student’s needs. According to the school’s website, the university is a caring university that has its students’ support, wellbeing, and guidance at heart. I also learned from an alumnus that the theoretical and practical content of the degrees taught at St Mary’s University is outstanding. My chosen course Human Trafficking, Migration and Organised Crime is very delicate, and I would love nothing more than to study about it in a school like St Mary’s University where I will be an active participant in the organized crime discourse.
St Mary’s University is highly ranked among universities in the world and studying in this great school is a place where a dream, like mine, can be achieved. I am enthusiastic about attending this university because of the institution’s high standard and good record.
I also decided to study for my master’s degree in the United Kingdom because I believe there are lots of opportunities I can benefit from and according to research, St Mary’s University is conducive for learning and friendly to international students. I hope to be admitted so that I can put my knowledge into practice and work in the media, with an NGO that deals with migrants and people who have been trafficked or the public sector dealing with crime control and criminal justice.
Additional Tips for Writing a Personal Statement
From the master’s personal statement example above, you can see that I did not talk about having a rough childhood, I tried to make the admission board understand why I am a strong applicant for this course. I didn’t study any human trafficking or migration-related course as an undergraduate, so I had to bring in a novel I read as an undergraduate which talks about human trafficking, my volunteering experience, my awards and a whole lot of other things.
When you are writing your personal statement sample essays, make sure you sell yourself extensively, highlight your wow factors. Talk about your achievements, especially when they are related to your field of study, talk about the internships and volunteering you have done. It is advisable, to begin with, your strongest selling point. Most personal statements have specific questions, answer them truthfully projecting yourself positively in the best way you can.
Download personal statement example (PDF)
You can as well download a free sample PDF copy of a personal statement: Personal Statement Sample PDF. Show love by sharing this article. Good luck!