Writing a statement of purpose Module 2

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This is the second workshop created by the University of Denver University Writing Center on writing and revising statements of purpose.

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Writing a statement of purpose Module 2

  1. 1. Writing a Statement of Purpose Module 2
  2. 2. Tone
  3. 3. How Does This Writer Sound to You? <ul><li>I have always had a natural propensity for writing, especially on topics of ardent interest to me. Words flow from my pen like birds in flight. This pursuit intensified during my college years, when I discovered that my writing skills could also help me engage my friends animatedly with current events. Learning that most of my friends weren’t motivated to keep up with international political developments, I began keeping a blog. Soon all my friends were captivated, and I realized that I was destined for a career in journalism. </li></ul>
  4. 4. How About This Writer? <ul><li>I totally love writing! It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing before I go to sleep. My favorite stuff to write about is current events, especially really complicated ones with lots of challenging things to explain. In fact, I started keeping a blog in college just so I could get my friends excited about international politics too. It worked, and journalism suddenly seemed like the coolest job I could find. </li></ul>
  5. 5. And This Writer? <ul><li>I have always loved to write, especially on topics about which I am passionate. This interest deepened during my college political science major when I discovered that my writing skills could help me engage my friends with current events. Learning that most of my classmates weren’t motivated to keep up with international political developments, I began keeping a blog. Soon all my friends were hooked, and I realized that a career in journalism was the logical next step. </li></ul>
  6. 6. What Makes Tone? <ul><li>I have always had a natural propensity for writing, especially on topics of ardent interest to me. Words flow from my pen like birds in flight . This pursuit intensified during my college years , when I discovered that my writing skills could also help me engage my friends animatedly with current events. Learning that most of my friends weren’t motivated to keep up with international political developments, I began keeping a blog. Soon all my friends were captivated , and I realized that I was destined for a career in journalism. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Other Elements of Tone <ul><li>I totally love writing ! It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing before I go to sleep. My favorite stuff to write about is current events, especially really complicated ones with lots of challenging things to explain. In fact , I started keeping a blog in college just so I could get my friends excited about international politics too. It worked, and journalism suddenly seemed like the coolest job I could find. </li></ul>
  8. 8. And This Writer? <ul><li>I have always loved to write, especially on topics about which I am passionate. This interest deepened during my college political science major when I discovered that my writing skills could help me engage my friends with current events. Learning that most of my classmates weren’t motivated to keep up with international political developments, I began keeping a blog. Soon all my friends were hooked , and I realized that a career in journalism was the logical next step. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Your Turn: Revise This <ul><li>I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. The thrill that came over me as I tore off the paper on my very first “doctor’s bag” on my fourth birthday and knew that hours and hours of patient examinations were in my future can only be matched by the horror on my mother’s face as I cried out, “I’m going to examine you, and you, and you, and you!” Until that moment, I don’t think she had realized how many spare minutes of her day would be devoted to having her temperature taken with a plastic thermometer, having pretend bandaids applied to non-existent boo-boos, or being told to lie down on the floor so I could push on her tummy and see if it hurt. As a child, I never felt so useful or happy as when I was diagnosing my family’s “illnesses,” and now, as an adult, I cannot wait to feel an even greater usefulness as I diagnose real patients’ illnesses and help them to heal. </li></ul>
  10. 10. One Sample Revision <ul><li>I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. The thrill that came over me as I tore off the paper on my very first “doctor’s bag” on my fourth birthday and knew that hours and hours of patient examinations were in my future can only be matched by the horror on my mother’s face as I cried out, “I’m going to examine you, and you, and you, and you!” Until that moment, I don’t think she had realized how many spare minutes of her day would be devoted to being my “patient.” I never felt so useful or happy a s when I took my mother’s temperature with a plastic thermometer or had her lie down on the floor so I could push on her tummy and see if it hurt. As a child,. as when I was diagnosing my family’s “illnesses,” and now, as an adult, I cannot wait to feel an even greater usefulness as I diagnose real patients’ illnesses and help them to heal. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Sample Revision Completed <ul><li>I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. The thrill that came over me as I tore off the paper on my very first “doctor’s bag” and knew that hours of patient examinations were in my future can only be matched by the horror on my mother’s face as she realized how many spare minutes of her day would be devoted to being my “patient.” I never felt so useful or happy as when I took my mother’s temperature with a plastic thermometer or had her lie down on the floor so I could push on her tummy and see if it hurt. I cannot wait to feel truly useful as I diagnose real patients’ illnesses and help them to heal. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Other Editing Considerations <ul><li>Stay within any word or page limits </li></ul><ul><li>Resolve all cliffhangers </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid gimmicky quotations, vague language, clichés, cuteness, and overly fancy vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Check your final draft for mechanical errors and typos </li></ul>
  13. 13. Editing for Length <ul><li>Eliminate redundant words and phrases: </li></ul><ul><li>As a matter of fact </li></ul><ul><li>At the present time </li></ul><ul><li>Because of the fact that </li></ul><ul><li>By means of </li></ul><ul><li>For the purpose of </li></ul><ul><li>In the event that </li></ul><ul><li>In the process of </li></ul><ul><li>In regard to </li></ul>
  14. 14. Editing for Length continued <ul><li>Avoid doubling: </li></ul><ul><li>Full and complete </li></ul><ul><li>True and accurate </li></ul><ul><li>Each and every </li></ul><ul><li>First and foremost </li></ul><ul><li>Various and sundry </li></ul>
  15. 15. Resolving Cliffhangers <ul><li>Answer any questions you pose </li></ul><ul><li>Conclude any stories you introduce </li></ul>
  16. 16. Example of Unresolved Cliffhanger <ul><li>Every week for over a year now, I have worked with a man named Frank. When we first began working together on his writing, Frank was just beginning a series of Platonic-style dialogues that grapple with philosophical questions regarding personal, spiritual, and intellectual growth. When I first met Frank, he was homeless. Throughout the many months of our relationship, I have watched him obtain housing and a job. I have seen him after a physical trauma. </li></ul><ul><li>Still, I am privileged to encounter most of the people that I work with more than once. Usually we work on resumes and cover letters or the occasional book that is intended to teach others how to learn from the author’s mistakes and acquired wisdom. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Example of Resolved Cliffhanger <ul><li>Every week for over a year now, I have worked with a man named Frank. When we first began working together on his writing, Frank was just beginning a series of Platonic-style dialogues that grapple with philosophical questions regarding personal, spiritual, and intellectual growth. When I first met Frank, he was homeless. Throughout the many months of our relationship, I have watched him obtain housing and a job. I have seen him after a physical trauma that left him completely unaware of who I was, who he was, and tragically, that he was ever even a writer. I watched as, over a couple of weeks, due in part to the therapeutic power of writing, Frank’s memory came back completely. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Consider Beginnings <ul><li>What are the merits of “catchy” openers? </li></ul>
  19. 19. Sample Openers <ul><li>I began my Masters in Women’s Studies in the fall of 2009. I chose the degree because of its flexibility. Uncertain of which interest to pursue, I finally decided on an interdepartmental degree in which many colleges and courses would be put in dialogue. I took “Voices of Women of Color” my first semester, a class offered through the Communications department. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Without any exaggeration, the class changed my life. I cried through it. I argued with it. I struggled, and I fought. In the end, I found my place within it and knew I belonged. The scholars we read felt like long lost sisters to me. As academics, they were much more eloquent in their expression of oppressive and dominant systems then I. They somehow knew the secret inner workings of my life. As a Latina woman who’s faced discrimination on every level of the societies she belongs to, I was mystified by these non-Latina scholars’ abilities to understand my experiences. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Sample Openers continued <ul><li>Without any exaggeration, the class “Voices of Women of Color” changed my life. I cried through it. I argued with it. I struggled, and I fought. In the end, I found my place within it and knew I belonged. The scholars we read felt like long lost sisters to me. As academics, they were much more eloquent in their expression of oppressive and dominant systems then I. They somehow knew the secret inner workings of my life. As a Latina woman who’s faced discrimination on every level of the societies she belongs to, I was mystified by these non-Latina scholars’ abilities to understand my experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>It was this connection between scholarship and personal experience that led me to begin my Masters in Women’s Studies in the fall of 2009. I also chose the degree because of its flexibility. Uncertain of which interest to pursue, I finally decided on an interdepartmental degree in which many colleges and courses would be put in dialogue. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  21. 21. Sample Openers concluded <ul><li>I began my Masters in Women’s Studies in the fall of 2009. I chose the degree because of its flexibility. Uncertain of which interest to pursue, I finally decided on an interdepartmental degree in which many colleges and courses would be put in dialogue. I took “Voices of Women of Color” my first semester, a class offered through the Communications department. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Without any exaggeration , the class changed my life. I cried through it. I argued with it. I struggled, and I fought. In the end, I found my place within it and knew I belonged. The scholars we read felt like long lost sisters to me. As academics, they were much more eloquent in their expression of oppressive and dominant systems then I. They somehow knew the secret inner workings of my life. As a Latina woman who’s faced discrimination on every level of the societies she belongs to, I was mystified by these non-Latina scholars’ abilities to understand my experiences. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Your Turn: Practice

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