A statement of interest, also known as statement of intent and description of research interests, is an important component of most graduate school applications. According to one of our faculty members, “The statement of interest is your opportunity to provide more evidence that you will succeed in your program.”
So how to get it right?
Read the instructions. Visit the website of the graduate program you’re interested in and check what their guidelines might be. These may include page and word count limitations, document upload specifications and specific questions.
Demonstrate fit. Show an understanding of the type of work done in the department, and provide an explanation of what you want to study, which should match up with some of the research interests in the faculty.
Be specific. Why UBC? Why this program? Be clear about what you want to do in the program and how the program can support you.
Be flexible. Indicate your well thought out and informed ideas, but allow them to be malleable. Sketch out a potential research agenda with room for further developmentand show interest in both a particular research area as well as alternative projects.
Be clear. Avoid repetition. Watch out for spelling mistakes and typos, irrelevant personal information, information already contained in other parts of your application, as well as general statements of enthusiasm, empty loyalty, and vague references without any details. Most importantly, don’t forget to proofread.
And if you feel stuck, start with these questions:
- Why are you interested in this field of study?
- What is your background and how does it relate?
- Can you describe your previous research experience and how it has formed your current interests?
- What is your motivation for proposing a particular research path?
- Are you able to connect your area of interest to work being done in the program?
- Is there anything the admissions committee should be aware of that is not addressed in other parts of your application?