The academic statement of purpose and personal statement should cover details about your academic background and career aspirations. You will want to talk about your engineering experiences, your motivation for pursuing a higher degree in Robotics, your long-term goals, as well as your specific interests.
The pair of statements should work together to inform us about your experiences and goals. However, don’t be redundant. Utilize the personal statement to expand upon your academic statement of purpose. If you want to write about the same topic, split it into two distinct pieces that cover different thoughts.
This format is meant to be flexible and allow for creativity: there is no single answer, however below is more guidance on each statement.
Academic statement of purpose
Talk technical, go deep, and talk about your engineering background.
Include your academic and research background, career goals, and how this graduate program will help meet career and educational objectives.
Applicants often don’t go deep or concrete enough into describing their engineering experience, whether an internship, project, or research. Showcase your technical writing, and your enthusiasm for your work. After describing one or more experiences in detail, including your contributions to the projects or tasks, discuss why graduate school is the next step for you. Make an argument for your unique qualifications and professional preparation, and what you hope to contribute to the field.
Talk about your inspiration, background, and academic or project pursuits.
Indicate how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, have motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. This is a discussion of the personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree in Robotics.
Include your motivations to take your robotics career further. What concrete examples can you share of your academic and non-academic activities that might have prepared you for graduate study? Don’t be afraid to name collaborators in the field–our faculty often know many of them! But also talk about the work you did with those collaborators. Think of this as a story about your personal and professional development, and a proposal for your graduate school career.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long should the academic statement of purpose be?
The academic statement of purpose should be approximately one to two pages, single spaced.
How long should the personal statement be?
The personal statement should be approximately one to two pages, single spaced. Rackham’s 500 word limit does not apply.
Can I combine the academic statement of purpose with the personal statement in one document?
No. We ask that all applicants submit two separate documents for the statement of purpose and personal statement. If an applicant submits one document we will contact them to request two separate documents. The Graduate Admission Committee requires two separate documents.
Are there specific guidelines for formatting?
No, there are no formatting guidelines in regards to font type, font size, or margins.
Can I submit edited documents?
No. Please review all application materials before submitting your application.
Please note that once an applicant submits their online application, no changes to the statement of purpose, personal statement, curriculum vitae, and application can be modified online.
Should I talk about LEGOs?
Many, many applicants talk about LEGOs. If you choose to take that risk, be sure to make it your own, unique, compelling, and personal storyline.