When I think about graduate school application, I always think about Hell’s Kitchen. Why? Well, because I always think about those moments at the end of each episode where Chef Ramsey is choosing which of two contestants he is going to send home. He ask each to tell him why they should get to stay in Hell’s Kitchen. Inevitably one (or both) say something to the effect of: “I’ve wanted to be a chef since I was a little child.” or “Because I really want this.” You’ll see the same thing on many of these sorts of “reality” contest shows. Whenever I hear these sorts of statements, I always think about how I would really want to make a six figure salary and how I would really like a vacation home in New Mexico, and how I really want to be able to eat as much as I want and not gain a pound.
If your statement of intent for graduate school says anything like this: “I’ve known since the age of 5 that I really want to be an anthropologists”…and/or…”I want to go to your graduate program because it’s the best in the country”, then do yourself and the graduate admissions folks a favor and don’t apply. You’re not only wasting your time but you’re wasting theirs as well. Here are some links to advice on drafting such letters….
- Recommendations on drafting your statement of purpose: http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/writing-your-statement-purpose
- As you can tell from the above text, I’m not convinced that the “hook” beginning works very well, but this post about writing a statement of purpose is pretty good… http://www.uni.edu/~gotera/gradapp/stmtpurpose.htm
- UC – Berkeley is specific in discouraging you from using the “I’ve always wanted to be a _____” approach: https://career.berkeley.edu/Grad/GradStatement.stm