[00:00.00]Narrator: Listen to a conversation between a student and a professor.
[00:04.20]Professor: Hey, Ellen. How are you doing?
[00:06.06]Student: Oh, pretty good, thanks. How are you?
[00:09.36]Student: Did you, um, have a chance to look at my grad school application ... you know, the statement of purpose I wrote?
[00:15.91]Professor: Well, yeah. In fact, here it is, I just read it.
[00:18.84]Student: Oh, great! What did you think?
[00:21.23]Professor: Basically, it’s good. [00:23.37]What you might actually do is take some of these different points here, and actually break them out into separate paragraphs. [00:29.86]So, um, one: your purpose for applying for graduate study-uh, why do you want to go to graduate school- and an area of specialty; and, uh, why you want to do the area you’re specifying; um, and what you want to do with your degree once you get it.
[00:47.09]Professor: So those are ... they’re pretty clear on those four points they want.
[00:51.86]Professor: So you might just break them out into, uh . . . you know, separate paragraphs and expand on each point some. [00:58.94]But really what's critical with these is that, um, you’ve gotta let yourself come through.[01:04.14]See, you gotta let them see you in these statements. [01:07.55]Expand some more on what’s happened in your own life and what shows your ...your motivation and interest in this area-in geology. [01:15.92]Let’ em see what really, what ...what captures your imagination about this field.
[01:21.33]Student: OK, so make it a little more ... personal? That's OK?
[01:25.24]Professor: That's fine. [01:26.32]They look for that stuff. [01:27.97]You don’t wanna go overboard …
[01:30.24]Professor: ...but it’s critical that. . . that somebody sees what your passion is-your personal motivation for doing this.
[01:36.06]Professor: And that’s gotta come out in here. [01:38.18]Um, and let’s see, uh, you might also give a little, uh-since this is your only chance to do it, you might give a little more explanation about your unique undergraduate background. [01:49.00]So, you know, how you went through, you know, the music program; what you got from that; why you decided to change. [01:56.59]I mean it’s kind of unusual to go from music to geology, right?
[02:00.80]Student: Yeah. I was …I was afraid that, you know, maybe the personal-type stuff wouldn’t be what they wanted, but...
[02:07.28]Professor: No, in fact it’s ... um, give an example: I... I had a friend, when I was an undergrad, um, went to medical school. [02:14.84]And he put on his med school application-and he could actually tell if somebody actually read it cause, um, he had asthma and the reason that he wanted to go to med school was he said he wanted to do sports medicine because he, you know, he had this real interest. [02:29.21]He was an athlete too, and . . . and wanted to help athletes who had this physical problem. [02:34.53]And he could always tell if somebody actually read his letter, because they would always ask him about that.
[02:39.96]Student: ...Mmm ... so something unique.
[02:42.92]Professor: Yeah. So see, you know, that’s what’s good and, and, I think for you probably, you know, your music background's the most unique thing that you’ve got in your record.
[02:51.90]Professor: ... Mmm ... so you see, you gotta make yourself stand out from a couple hundred applications. [02:57.73]Does that help any?
[02:59.00]Student: Yeah, it does. It gives me some good ideas.
[03:01.63]Professor: And ... what you might also do too is, you know, uh, you might get a friend to proof it or something at some point.
[03:08.27]Student: Oh, sure ... sure.
[03:09.61]Professor: Also, think about presentation-how the application looks. [03:13.53]In a way, you're actually showing some other skills here, like organization. [03:16.96]A lot of stuff that's ... that they're not... they’re not formally asking for, they’re looking at. [03:22.18]So your presentation format, your grammar, all that stuff, they're looking at in your materials at the same time.
[03:29.11]Student: Right. OK.