The Statement of Purpose | By Alan Shapiro

As a fourth year student, I have finally realized how bleak my future really is. But there is hope! If only I am accepted to Harvard, I can hide from the world in the ideal sanctuary; Harvard – a crossroads where intellect, money, power, and influence come together and revel in their shared disregard for undergraduate students. Harvard, I have decided, is my destiny.

And so, with those words, I set off to write my application. Here are but a few of the encounters along my perilous journey:

Section 1. Demographic Information

As a Canadian, I believe firmly in multiculturalism. What does it mean to be a Canadian? It means that I am at once of all nations. I carry with me the cultures and traditions of all those who have built this country, brick by brick. I am Russian, yes. But I am just as soon Korean and Brazilian. Within me flows the proud blood of a hundred nations, all united in the humanist ideal.

Section 2. Statement of Purpose

“Be it known to all that I have been asked to state my purpose. Oh how you mock me, cruel world! Such a gargantuan feat is for no mere mortal to bear! Pity me, Fate! For who am I, a humble servant of this world, to shed light upon such transcendent virtues? To state my purpose. Fie! This scroll may sooner bid me to take my own life! Anon I shall age and perish, never to venture again upon this Earth. And ion my deathbed will my purpose be known to me. I shall stand, firm in my convictions, and I shall utter: “Yea, I have lived! And in this final hour, I have seen my true purpose, understood the essence of my soul”. Until that day, I stand before you, an enigma, my purpose hidden from myself and from the world.”

Section 3. GRE Scores

This ceaseless talk of standardized testing to categorize me and rank me as a number is revolting, and I shall not tolerate it. How dare you force me to waste my valuable time on such a test, unworthy of the ink it takes to write it! You make me sick! Your exam is for fools, and I shall not stoop to their level by taking part in such frivolous follies.

Section 4. Writing Sample

Two roads diverged in a snowy wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

With my summer tires, long I stood

And looked down both as far as I could

Cursing my car with a silent oath.


Then I took neither, both so fair,

But neither with a valid claim.

For my summer tires choked in despair,

Preventing me from passing there,

For icy roads are all the same.


And both that morning equally lay

In snow no tire had trodden black.

Oh, I kept them both for another day!

Yet seeing how thick the snowdrifts lay,

I doubted if I could make a track.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

I turned around and said goodbye,

And that, I fear, is my offense.

Section 5. Interviews

Please contact my secretaries, and they will be more than willing to arrange a time for you to see me, if the request is deemed appropriate by their labour union.

Yours truly,


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  • Alex

    Alan Frost. Signing off.