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How to write a goal statement' the appropriately required standard

The following article gives a straightforward and detailed guide of how to write a goal statement that will make you stand out from the rest of the applicants

How to write a goal statement: The Introduction

A goal statement is a very common requirement in grad school applications. Goal statements are a chance to introduce yourself to your audience, which in this case is the admission board. It is where you demonstrate your aptitude, knowledge and ability to put your thoughts into writing. The goal statement is where you show your passion for the field and how prepared you are in taking on the challenges of research and study.

Goal statements are not easy to write. They give many sleepless nights to lots of grad school applicants. Knowing how to write a goal statement is a skill in itself and has to be learned. So here we go.

The Research Process

Research is the first step to doing anything. Before you put the first word on the paper, gather as much information as is available. Every goal statement is written to a specific program in a particular university. It is suicidal to have a generic goal statement that can be used for any college application. Take ample time to gather information about the particular college and program you are applying for. Also, make sure that you have adequate knowledge about your field at your fingertips. Being specific will show the admissions board that you are serious and prepared for rigorous study. It indicates that you have clearly thought out your plans.

Organize your information

The second step on how to write a goal statement is to organize all the information you have collected. It would not make sense to have a ton of information and knowledge which is all jumbled up. You need to organize your data so that you present your thoughts in a clear and logical manner. Information is to be organized where it is most relevant. Carefully read the goal statement question of the college you are applying for admission. Make sure you fully understand what is required of you before you attempt to answer it. Having done this, choose the angle you will use that will best respond to the question. Decide what relevant and specific piece of information you collected will be most suitable in answering it.

Identify your goals

It’s great that you want to apply for a graduate degree, but what do you want the degree for? Defining your goals is the most important part of writing the goal statement and for this reason, we will spend some time here. If you can be able to determine all your motives and aims in attaining your graduate degree, then you are on the right track of creating a great goal statement.

Determine the source of your passion

What is the source of all that love that you have for your area of study? Many grad school applicants give vague and uninteresting reasons behind their passions and end up boring the admissions committee to death. In an engaging and entertaining way, you have to show to the admission committee that you have enough zeal and commitment to carry through the years of study and research. Be direct and personal. Search through your experiences to find relevant events that kindled your interest into that particular field. Dig deep into your life and be introspective, then find a memorable way to say it.

The committee wants to determine if you have the motivation to warrant your passion. Our experiences shape who we are, the admissions board, wants to know specifically how your individual experiences have influenced your decision to apply for a particular program.

Determining the source of your passion is a very vital part of your goal statement as it will either retain the attention of the admissions board members or you will lose it forever.

Suppose an applicant, say, Bob, wrote the following paragraph as an introduction to the goal statement:   

“I am delighted to apply for the Master of Library Science Program at the University of Example. I have a most fervent passion for books. Since I was a little child, I have known that I wanted to become a librarian.”

The above statement from Bob looks okay, doesn’t it? So what exactly is wrong with it?

One thing to keep in mind in writing your goal statement is that you are not the only person applying for admission. You are in a gigantic fish pond with a lot of fishes. The statement from Bob is quite vague, not specific and just downright boring. Most of the applicants will have statements more or less the same as Bob, such that the committee is already prejudiced against you before they read the rest of your application. You failed the number one rule in writing any material, hook your audience from the beginning.

Suppose now Bob revised his introductory statement to something like the following:

“When I was only ten, my grandmother, Alice, passed away and left me a treasure that changed my life forever. She left me a library with about ten thousand books. Ever since then, reading and arranging those books has been the joy of my life and the library has been my sweet haven. This is the reason I so desire to be a librarian.”

Contrast the second statement with the first. The latter statement is direct, specific and personal. It shows the admission committee that Bob’s passion for books is not a superficial one, it is something he has treasured all his life dearly. The statement is also memorable; everybody will remember the guy with the library who not only loves to read books but also loves to take care of them.

If you can determine your passion and find a way to tailor it interestingly to your experiences, then you know how to write a goal statement, at least better than most people do.

Know who you are

Know your personality, aptitudes, and capability. The admissions committee wants an individual who knows where he fits and can identify what role they would like to play in that area of specialization. The committee has to sift through a huge chunk of information. You have to show that you are unique, quite separate from the rest. You cannot show this if you do not accurately know yourself.

Your goal statement should bring to life the individual writing on the paper so that the admissions committee no longer just see a piece of paper, but they see the real you, with all your dreams, goals and aspirations. They should be able to learn your character from the piece of paper in front of them.

Try to relate your individualism to the program you are applying to so that it is evident to the admissions board that you are the right fit for the program or that the program is the perfect fit for you.

What will you do with the degree?

Imagine yourself down the road after attaining the degree. Project this future you to the admissions committee so that they can see the future you as clearly as you do.

Yes, we all know you want to change the world, but how are you going to do it? How does earning your degree propel you towards doing this? Show the committee that you understand the career path and opportunities available when you finally acquire that coveted grad school degree.

Do you see yourself teaching or researching at the university? Would you like to migrate all the hours spent reading and researching to the industry or a consulting firm? Or maybe you want to continue to earn a Ph.D.? (in case you are applying to a master’s level program at the moment).

Keep your goals focused

Try to commit to a precise and clear path of your career in the application. Don’t attempt to juggle too many different ideas at once. Your goals should be focused even in the case where you think your career could take several different directions. You can always change your mind later in case you want to do something else.

Write your goal statement

Now it is time to write out the goal statement you have been mapping out. This is in regards to style, grammar, and presentation of the information you have been collecting all along.

You can have very noble, interesting ideas but fail to present them in the best possible way and thus fail in arresting the attention of your audience.

You have only a few hundred words, try to utilize these words efficiently. Remove any unnecessary material and get right down to the main point. Don’t exhaust the admissions committee with too much information.

Proofread your statement thoroughly. Having a grammar mistake in your goal statement tells very negatively on your part. Give your friends to copy edit and proofread for consistency and accuracy. Re-read aloud to yourself to eliminate any chance that you made a mistake somewhere. You can even use a paid professional service to proofread and edit your final goal statement.

Then there is the issue of style. The style you write with is like your dress. Avoid the trap of trying to play it safe by using bland language. Be articulate and careful in your wording without being too formal and boring.

And there you have it, all you need to make the first step to grad school. Now you know how to write a goal statement so get going and good luck!

The following article gives a straightforward and detailed guide of how to write a goal statement that will make you stand out from the rest of the applicants

How to write a goal statement: The Introduction

A goal statement is a very common requirement in grad school applications.

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June 17, 2016
June 18, 2016
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