Statement of Purpose

This resource was prepared by the Business Communications Lab at the Sam M. Walton College of Business
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Most applications to academic programs or internships require a statement of purpose, also sometimes called a personal statement. A statement of purpose is a brief essay in which the applicant explains why he/she is applying to the program or internship and what he/she can contribute to it.

How do I write a compelling statement of purpose?

Introduce the statement of purpose by explaining why you are applying to the program or internship. What do you hope to do after completing the program or internship? How will the program or internship help you achieve both your short-term and long-term goals?

Next, more specifically explain how the program or internship to which you are applying aligns with your goals and interests. In other words, synthesize (hyperlink to Synthesis resource) your goals and interests with the features of the program or internship. What can this program or internship do to help you reach your goals that other programs or internships cannot?

Do not submit the same generic statement of purpose to every program or internship. Tailor your statement of purpose to each program or internship you apply to. Show that you have thoroughly researched the program or internship by specifically referring to its features, including courses and individuals that align with your interests.

Remember that the statement of purpose is about more than just why you are applying. It is also about what you can bring to the program or internship. How will you benefit and reflect positively upon the institution you will represent? What skills do you have that will make you an outstanding applicant?

Conclude by showing appreciation to the selection committee and reminding them that, if selected, you will serve as a positive representative of the institution.

What does a statement of purpose look like?

Different programs and internships will have different formatting and length requirements for the statement of purpose. Use this model as an example of what content to include in a statement of purpose, but always make sure you adhere to the requirements of the program or internship to which you are applying.

(Model will enlarge with click)

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