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This board has been very helpful in writing my statement of purpose for my uni applications (postgrad studies in development studies) - especially the tutorial on how to write such a letter. The person I wanted to give it to for proof-reading and feedback, is currently defending her Phd and has absolutely no time... so I thouht, maybe I could get some feedback here? I would appreciate it very much!
Here's my draft:
Dear Sir or Madam,
With the present statement of purpose I wish to support my application to the [name of program] program offered by the [name of department or school] at the [name of university].
This summer I will be awarded my BA degree at the University of [name of current university] in Switzerland, approximately ten years after my High-School peers. I cannot say that I've always wanted to study international development. In fact, my rather late decision to pursue an academic education is the result of a long and careful reassessment of my career. I came to the point where I felt that my professional activity in the field of business IT did not meet my personal ambitions to do something that would make a difference for society in one way or the other. I realised, that I needed a major career change and switched from business IT to human resources process management as a first step in the process of redirecting my career in a more humanitarian direction. After two years of seriously re-evaluating my personal objectives, I came to the conclusion that I want to aim at a career in development. My goal is to work conceptually on programming and evaluating development projects for the United Nations, a governmental development agency or an international NGO, wherever possible taking a gendered perspective.
The next and maybe most important step towards reaching this goal was to commence my academic studies at the University of Fribourg. I adapted quickly to being a student again and enjoy the encouraging and inspiring environment of a university ever since. I have been studying Social work and Social Policy as a major and Social Anthropology as a minor. My studies are focussed on social policy, social research, gender issues, human rights and migration. I feel that my choice of classes (please refer to my grade transcripts) provides me with a broad and solid basis to specialise on development issues in my MA.
My BA programme being highly research oriented, I have been able to acquire considerable research skills working on our BA thesis on the labour situation of clandestine migrant women in Switzerland and their coping strategies with their precarious situation. Additionally I've been offered the opportunity to conduct qualitative interviews for a project assessing the non profit sector in Switzerland under the guidance of Prof. Dr. [name of professor] at the department of Social Work and Social Policy at the [name of current university].
My professional background provides me, in addition to specific knowhow, a variety of skills beneficiary to my academic work as well as my future activity in development. I learnt to take responsibility, how to handle pressure and to meet deadlines, how to manage projects, to work in a team as well as analytical thinking and communicational skills. Additionally I've been able to develop leadership skills and gain experiences in university politics in my positions as president of the students' equality commission and head of communications department of my branches student body committee.
When one of the lecturers of an interdisciplinary gender studies seminar I attended in fall term 2007 offered me the opportunity to attend the 52nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York this February, I grasped this chance without hesitation. I was free to chose from all of the events offered by international NGOs and permanent missions to the UN and took part in the NGO consultation as well as in workshops like "Promoting Gender Equality and the MDGs - Progress, Strategies and Finances", "...", "..." and "...". Participation in these workshops further strengthened me in my determination to become a development professional. I was particularly impressed by the combination of academic understanding, personal conviction and political mission noticeable at the conference.
I am aware that reaching my goal will be highly competitive. Being a very targeted and ambitious person, however, I'm determined to do my very best at working towards it. The more lectures and seminars I've followed, the more I've read during my BA studies, the more I've become aware of how little I actually know. This understanding has further contributed to my determination to continue learning as much as I can. I feel that the international environment of the University of Bath as well as the possibility offered by your MSc programme in international development of acquiring a solid understanding of different perspectives and concepts in development before choosing my own areas of special interest to focus on will prepare me in the best possible way for my future plans.
As a British citizen having lived outside of the UK most of my life, I would love to accomplish at least one part of my education in my home country. Considering my broad academic foundation as well as my professional background, I am confident that I would make a suitable candidate to the [name of department]. I would be more than happy if you could accept me to the [name of program] program this fall term. Thank you very much for your time and for considering my application, I look forward very much to your reply.
Anonymous:It was a really good Statement of Purpose.
People are waiting to help.