In many ways, your statement of purpose is like a much longer cover letter, written in essay form. The format of the personal statement will vary according to school, academic discipline, and program type. You may be asked about your reasons for applying to the program, your professional goals, experiences that have influenced your development, or role models that have had an impact on your life. Regardless of the question, your personal statement should reflect some knowledge of the particular school and department that you are applying for. This is where all your research really starts to pay off; a statement that shows familiarity with the goals of the program and the interests of the faculty will stand out from a sea of generic statements.