Please write a brief statement describing your academic and research interests as well as your professional goals. Please note that departments may have a research paper requirement that needs to be completed in addition to this section.
How would you go about starting this essay?
Specific Essay Question (s)
Students applying to the Clinical Psychology PhD degree program should respond to the following questions in their statement of purpose:
1. What is your specific area of interest in clinical psychology: child and family, adult, health psychology, neuropsychology, or other (please specify)?
2. Among the many alternatives, why are you applying to Loyola University Chicago?
3. What relevant clinical and research experiences have you had that have prepared you for advanced training in psychology?
4. What are your short-term and long-term professional goals?
5. Please identify at least two clinical psychology faculty members with whom you would like to work during your graduate training. Please visit LUC.edu/psychology for the latest information on faculty interests and research areas.
Essential things your SOP should do
Articulate a clear, realistic research purpose (essay 37)
Set you apart from other applicants (essay 17)
Demonstrate evidence of relevant experience and preparation (essay 16)
Variety within limit
No universal formula—balance of personal to professional information, types of experiences, depth of research plan can vary
Different essays for different programs, work carefully from each essay prompt
HOWEVER…Always maintain professional scholarly tone and only include relevant information
Steps of the writing process
Prewriting—open ended brainstorming
Outline—identifying a few main points and a logical sequence
Draft—putting ideas into words, backing claims with evidence
Revision—step back and assess how it accomplishes four essential actions, make big changes if necessary
Proofreading—double check spelling and grammar, polish prose
Prewriting can save your life
Avoid getting stuck—sitting in front of a blank screen is not writing
Brainstorming turns off the inner critic and allows an open creative process
Explore all the things that COULD go into your statement before you think about what SHOULD go in
Beginning from a state of plenitude allows you more options and flexibility
Complete the pre-writing form
The outline—finding your story
Find an angle. Evaluate the prewriting notes and look for patterns or pieces that fit together. What is the central story?
The heart of the story is your research interests—all other elements should resonate with this
Identify a few main points or mini-narratives. Rich and reflective descriptions of one or two experiences is better than a more thorough but shallow gloss of many
Choose a logical and readable sequence—remember that chronology is not only way to tell a story
Be the protagonist of your story—use the structure of the SOP to frame yourself as an actor rather than a reactor
Create the Narrative
Now use your pre-writing document to create your basic outline
What is the theme of your experience?
What is your central story? Back story?
What makes you different? (there is something that makes you unique)
The first draft—hitting the right tone
Clear, precise, effective writing works best here—try not to sound pretentious or obscure