Tips for Crafting a Strong Applicant Statement

Tips for Crafting a Strong Applicant Statement

A great applicant statement: 

  • Articulates a particular topic area in which you propose to do research, and elaborates on this research agenda.
  • Positions your proposed project within an ongoing scholarly conversation: how do you connect your work to existing work in the field, and propose to build on it and add something new?
  • Connects your scholarly passions to your personal motivations for taking on the work (this can take many forms).
  • Shows an awareness of your field, but can also be understood by people outside your field. Your statement of purpose should demonstrate your ability to articulate critical and analytical ideas in an accessible (not over-inflated) manner.
  • Shows how your academic background has prepared you to do this work.
  • Speaks to why you want to study in the EES doctoral program specifically. You should make mention of those faculty members with whom you are interested in working, explain why you are interested more broadly in the EES Program and the CUNY Graduate Center, and discuss why you want to study and teach at a public urban university serving a diverse body of students in NYC.
  • Is beautifully written, not just free of mistakes or errors, but possessing real style and verve (to achieve this, read it out loud as often as possible and share it with a wide variety of readers).
  • Is a manageable length. We don’t have a length requirement for applicant statements, but successful statements are typically 2-3 pages, single-spaced.
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