Georgetown’s description of the Statement of Purpose reads, “This is the opportunity for the applicant to include personal information with his/her application.” This is the key. Many applicants make the mistake of writing application materials they think sound “smart” or “academic” and forget to paint a picture of who they are. You want to stand out in the stack of applications a reviewer has on her desk. Think about what distinguishes you. What is special about you and why are you as an individual a good fit for their program? Maybe it’s your first-hand experience with child literacy programs; it might be your skillset combining community mediation and logistics management; or it could be your past career as a violinist and the ways you’ve seen that experience influencing subsequent relevant work. Tell the reader some details about you that stand out.
Many applicants make the mistake of writing application materials they think sound “smart” or “academic” and forget to paint a picture of who they are.
International experiences are important since, after all, you’re applying to a program in Foreign Service. Play up all your international work—paid or volunteer—and how they’ve prepared you for this program and an internationally focused career. Show yourself to be a thoughtful individual who knows what you are getting yourself into with a career in this field. Make sure the admissions committee know that you are not just romanticizing the notion of foreign service and that you have something to contribute to discussions of global policy in the classroom and in research papers. Carefully consider your experiences abroad, how they have shaped your worldview and your career path and articulate this clearly. Draw links where possible between these experiences and your passion for this work.
Carefully consider your experiences abroad, how they have shaped your worldview and your career path and articulate this clearly.
One key piece that applicants often miss is making the case for “why Georgetown” and “why the MSFS Program” specifically. It’s important to most graduate programs that candidates want to join their program. If you are applying to multiple graduate schools, take care to tailor your Statement to the MSFS program and clearly articulate why this program. Do some thinking on what drew you to this program and how it supports your career goals.
Take care to tailor your Statement to the MSFS program and clearly articulate why this program.
Finally, Georgetown explicitly calls the Statement an “indication of writing ability” and mentions grammar, spelling and language use. Triple check for typos, grammar errors and simply poor writing. They also emphasize the importance of being concise, so pay special attention to “run-on” sentences and unnecessary detail. Make sure the Statement reads easily and clearly. Reviewers read hundreds of these each day, so you don’t want them to struggle to read your materials. Have your essay reviewed at least two times by someone besides yourself before submitting it. In summary, if you turn in a well-written, concise Statement that describes what makes you a compelling candidate, and why the MSFS Program is your top choice, you’ll be on the right track. Good luck!