Graduate School Statement of Purpose Online Advising

NEW! Vince recorded a short personal statement course.


The graduate school statement of purpose can seem like the most daunting and difficult part of your application.

Silver lining, though: a well-written SOP can:

  1. Wake up a bored admissions committee (most statements they'll read are extremely similar)
  2. Convey your real personality and make you come alive to your readers
  3. Show your best qualities and values
  4. Help the reader see why you and their program are such a great fit

Simply put, the SOP is not a to-do; it's a powerful tool to help you get accepted!


Lauren Hammond is our grad school essay expert and has been helping people write their graduate school statements of purpose for several years. Whether you just want some feedback on a draft, or you're staring at a blank Word doc and don't know where to begin, she is happy to help!

Contact Lauren directly at 951-395-4646 (phone or text), or send us an email.

She works with people online via Zoom and via email / Google Docs.


"Very happy to have worked with Vince on my GRE prep and Lauren on my essay writing. Both were integral to my success in getting accepted to my ideal grad school. Vince had a very straightforward and understandable approach toward taking the test which helped remove the test anxiety I definitely would have otherwise felt. I knew exactly what was coming weeks before I sat down to take it and managed to score about 10-15 points higher than I would have without his help. Lauren was equally helpful in editing my essay - both on the finer details as well as big picture ideas and concepts. I wholeheartedly believe their assistance throughout the GRE and grad school application process is what pushed me over the edge and got me accepted into my ideal program at my ideal school. 5 stars, no question." - Clifford Grant (see review on Google Maps)


Lauren Hammond

Lauren Hammond Lauren Hammond Lauren Hammond

Lauren: I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Literature and Writing, with a concentration in Writing, at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) and my Master’s Degree in English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University (SDSU). I am currently a fourth-year PhD student in English at the University of California Riverside (UCR). 

I have been a writing consultant for over six years now, and I've helped people with research writing, thesis/dissertation projects, rhetorical and literary analyses, writing in the humanities, grammar/sentence mechanics, and more. 

For Vince Kotchian Test Prep, I specialize in assisting clients throughout their graduate school application process, which includes personal statement and research proposal writing. My one-on-one sessions are designed to help my clients think about their specific goals, timeline, significance, and broader impacts of their prospective research. 

When it comes to personal statement writing, I show my clients how to create a coherent narrative about who they are as a researcher to help them persuade their reviewers that they are a qualified candidate who fulfills the funding agency’s mission, and briefly outlines their career goals. I help students develop their narratives by drawing on personal history, family background, and intellectual development as well as their educational, leadership, and cultural experiences to describe the motivations that drive their research goals and other professional endeavors.

I love hanging out in San Diego during my downtime! My favorite activities are snorkeling and playing volleyball at the beach, cruising the fun hiking trails, and making my way through all of the local eateries. When I am not at the beach or in the classroom, I am usually napping and cuddling with my dog, Lego.

Working with Lauren is $145 per hour or $675 for a package purchase of 5 hours. You can reach her at 951-395-4646 (phone or text), or by sending us an email.


Frequently Asked Questions


How long should I spend writing my statement of purpose?

We generally recommend about 4-8 weeks - 6 weeks is a good sweet spot. It takes time to come up with ideas and get those ideas onto paper in a compelling form.


Where can I find some good examples of statements of purpose?

Other than Google, I really like the sample admissions essays in Graduate Admissions Essays by Donald Asher. If you're a DIY kind of person, Asher's advice for the entire graduate admissions process is very good.

Note: The above links are Amazon affiliate links and I earn a commission if you purchase things through them. However, any commission I earn comes at no additional cost to you, and you pay nothing extra. My recommendation is based on extensive experience using this book's advice with dozens of people over the years, and I recommend it because it's helpful and useful, not because of the small commission I receive if you choose to buy it.