Sep 7, 2006, 7:42 AM
Post #41 of 329
Hey guys, I'm not sure how helpful it will be, but here is my statement of purpose from last year (obviously with the caveat that this is my work and I expect that it will not be used unethically ... and that people check things on the internet and getting busted for plagarism will ruin your chances of, well, anything). I changed it slightly depending on the school. The school that I changed it the most for - WashU - and was the most personalized (I talked specifically about why I was interested in specific profs), was the school that gave me the outright Heisman.
Re: [Aubrie] Personal Statement
I have mixed feelings about sharing this. I think there was something kind of useful about writing this on my own, but I also think it is useful for other writers to see some examples. Sibyline's example - which she posted on here somewhere last year - is not similar to mine at all.
My other advice about the statement of purpose is a) answer the questions and b) remember that your chance to show your creativity is in your original work.
Not that any of it really matters that much. If they are reading your statement of purpose it is most likely because you have made it past the only really important step - your writing sample.
Anyway, here it is....
I would like to be a working, published writer, while also teaching on the college and university level. An MFA program is a unique opportunity to both improve my writing and to get the tools to become a top-notch teacher. For me, the University of XX seems like an ideal place to pursue my MFA because of the focus on studio time with an additional emphasis on literature classes, and the academically rigorous nature of the program. Another draw is the strong training for teaching provided by the program and the practical experience of designing and teaching my own course as a second year student.
My main aspiration is to be a published, working fiction writer, and it is clear to me that I need training and input from others to take my writing from very good to excellent. I learned a great deal as a scholarship student at the Squaw Valley, Napa Valley, and Ropewalk conferences, but I believe that I will gain even more from the extended, intense format of an MFA program. I think the biggest benefits of an MFA program are the opportunity to work with and be critiqued by professors and other writers over an extended period, and the chance to develop lasting relationships with some of these people as trusted readers. I also believe that the intense immersion in literature and criticism that is part of the academic side of an MFA program will train me to be a better reader and writer.
Though my main goal is to be a published, working writer, I also would like to teach writing and literature. I have taken great pleasure from the edifying moment when I have been in teaching situations in the past (helping other writers improve their work, supervising interns as a journalist, and teaching rock climbing). Ultimately, I want to emulate my favorite teachers, by being the kind of teacher who can push students and inspire them to strive for their potential. Attending an elite MFA program that combines a rigorous academic regime with the practical experience of a teaching assistantship will give me the opportunity to learn how to be a superior teacher.
The MFA Program in Creative Writing at University of XX has a strong balance of workshops and academically rigorous literature classes. This balance will help me address both my career goals of writing, and of teaching. Your workshops will help me to articulate my aesthetics and speed up the slower, unconscious work that goes into being a writer. They will also give me the opportunity to become a better critic of my own writing and to learn new things about my work that I cannot see on my own; many times it takes insights from someone else to help you see past blind spots.
The academically rigorous nature of The MFA Program in Creative Writing, and the program’s integral connection to the English Department are also appealing, since my proficiency as a teacher can only be improved by expanding my proficiency as a reader and critic. The literature classes will also provide me with more tools for writing, giving me the opportunity to approach texts as both a fiction writer and an academic.
Pursuing an MFA is the best way for me to improve my fiction and to prepare for a career as a writer and teacher. The University of XX's MFA Program in Creative Writing is a good match for me because of its balance of workshops and academically rigorous literature classes. Likewise, I also think that I am a good match for your program. I have a strong sense of who I am as a writer and where I want to go, but I am open to changes that will improve my work. I am willing to take risks in my writing, and I am committed to becoming the best writer that I can be. I would welcome the opportunity to become an active contributor to the University of XX MFA Program in Creative Writing.