Statement of Purpose: Telling your story

While participating in two panels last weekend for the Admissions Office, memories of this time last year came flooding back!

It was around this time that I was starting to put finishing touches on the ‘all important’ Statement of Purpose. For all you prospective students out there, I thought I’d put in some quick pointers. Hopefully these will help:

a. Starting early:  Don’t leave this till the week of the deadline. I know it is easy to put off but if you get started early, the quality of your end product will be radically different. Read the prompt multiple times. It helped me to break down the questions into different elements so that my statement answered it all. Read the instructions carefully as well – font size, type and number of pages should all be kept in mind when you start writing.

b. It will take multiple iterations: I am pretty sure no one got their statement right the first time they sat to write it. I know it is hard to stare at a blank page but instead of trying to form that perfect sentence, put down what you have. Read it again and again to check the flow of the piece. Try different structures and choose the one you feel effectively conveys the message.

c. Tell your story!: Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Try and convey in a balanced manner how you are a right fit for HGSE and the program is the right fit for you. I am sure you’ve thought about it enough to consider applying here in the first place. Try to find a narrative that ties in all your experiences and how coming to HGSE will further your progress towards your goal. I understand that not all of us are crystal clear about our future career choices but having some focus does help.

d. Get Feedback: Select 2-3 people to review your statement. I specifically selected a small number because many times there is conflicting feedback that just ends up confusing you rather than being of any help. Talk them through your thought process and your outline so they understand whether your writing conveys what you’re thinking. You do not have to accept all the feedback you receive, the writing still has to be a reflection of you as a person!

All the best and hope to see you on Appian Way soon!

Ghazal Gulati is a Master’s in Education candidate in the International Education Policy Program. After transitioning from finance to teaching, Ghazal is now interested in systems design for monitoring and evaluation programs. With a love for museums, she is enjoying exploring the historic aspects of Cambridge and Boston!