Are you confused about how to write a good motivation statement for your postgraduate application? Are you unsure of how to present your motivation statement in a way that will be appealing to your desired institution’s postgraduate committee?
If you fall into the above categories, then this article is for you! Among the criteria required for application to graduate studies overseas is a motivation statement. It is a crucial part of the application package and as such, must be regarded with utmost importance.
This article will serve as a guide in writing a compelling motivation statement for graduate studies applications. At the end of the article, you will not only know how to write a good motivation statement but also will note things to avoid. Enjoy the read!
What Is a Motivation Statement?
A motivation statement is an academic piece of writing that explains the applicant’s reason(s) for choosing the graduate program to the graduate admission committee.
It is sometimes called a “Statement of Intent”, and as it suggests, it completely describes the true intentions of an applicant with regard to the desired academic program.
The motivation statement seeks to inform the admission committee on why the applicant should be considered for admission.
As a motivation statement is important to the success of an applicant’s admission, utmost care and attention must be paid while writing the statement.
A poor motivation statement gives the admission committee the impression that the applicant is unsuited to handle the rigors of the program.
Thus, an applicant’s application can be rejected on the basis of a lack of clarity on his/her intentions.
Below are some of the tips to be considered in writing a good motivation statement for graduate admissions:
Address Motivation Statement To The Appropriate Committee:
The first part of the statement is the address. You must endeavor to address the motivation statement to the appropriate committee.
In most institutions, the appropriate committee is usually the graduate admissions committee and as such, the statement must be addressed to them.
The applicant’s address is not usually important and could be discarded. An illustration is given below:
The Postgraduate Admissions Committee,
School of Graduate Studies,
The University of Idaho.
Use A Compelling Introductory Paragraph:
The opening paragraph of every motivation statement is the most important part of the statement. The first paragraph should be captivating in order to catch the reader’s interest.
You must endeavor to use a topic sentence that makes the statement appealing to the reading committee.
It is important to note that there is no specific template to write the introductory paragraph. A candidate is free to start with personal background whilst relating it to the desired academic program.
Be Detailed With Your Academic Qualification and Skills:
You have a responsibility to be as detailed as possible with relevant qualifications and skills that could support your application. The motivation statement is the best avenue to highlight your prowess and your suitability to the admissions committee.
It is your best opportunity to tell the committee why you must be selected for the program. Go ahead; do not be afraid to highlight your best qualities. If you have additional skills like the ability to use specialized software such as SPSS, ArcGIS, MATLAB, GenSTAT, etc, go ahead and put it down.
If you also attained a high level of excellence in academics by graduating with first-class honors or having top GRE scores, endeavor to highlight that too.
Highlight Your Research Interest:
One way to demonstrate your competence to the admission committee is to highlight your specific research interest. It will do you well to relate it with the research of a faculty member.
It is important to mention the name of the faculty members who carry out research in your area of special interest. This will show the committee that you have carried out adequate research into the program in the institution.
It will also help them recommend you to the faculty member for a supervisory role.
Relay your Career Goals In The Motivation Statement:
Another major interest of the graduate admission committee is to find out how your intended study will help your career progression.
You have to relate your research interest to your career plans. Your goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
Avoid the use of generic statements which do not convey the specificity of the goals to you. Also avoid bogus goals that are unbelievable and unrealistic, for instance, writing “I will use my skills to solve food security challenges in Nigeria” is both bogus and unrealistic.
However, you can convey it this way: “With my acquired knowledge and expertise in digital soil mapping, in the first six months upon my return to Nigeria, I shall undertake research which will develop a national soil map legend that is essential to improving food security situation in the rural community”.
Specify Why You Selected The Institution:
The last part of your motivation statement should indicate the reasons you chose the institution for your postgraduate study. Reasons could be the ranking (write down the ranking body and year!), research facilities, specific faculty members, etc.
The committee is aware that there are other institutions that are offering similar postgraduate programs, hence, they will be interested in your reason for opting for them amongst others.
I believe that this article has guided you in writing a strong motivation statement for your graduate applications.
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