I'm currently working on adapting my statement of purpose from the 2020-2021 admissions cycle for use in the current cycle. Since the last cycle, much has changed. As a result of a severe ulnar nerve impingement (which randomly flared up), I had limited use of my dominant hand for the last few months.

I left a job (which was related to my field) and didn't take classes over the summer. Currently, I'm enrolled in 2 courses (graded S/U, since I cannot even use my dominant hand at all) and auditing 1, all of which are relevant to my field. I've since had an operation to repair this, which has put my dominant hand in even more inoperable condition temporarily.

Clearly, I need to address this in my admissions packet somewhere, but I'm not quite sure where or how. Should it figure prominently into my statement of purpose? Should it be a bullet point on my resume? I feel that if written well, this could even potentially help me build a good narrative. Any advice is appreciated!


2 Answers 2


It can go into a personal statement, not a statement of purpose.


The Statement of Purpose is not the best place for that. Make the SoP about the future: plans and goals. The CV is about the past. If there is a cover letter, then it might be mentioned there.

But if the job you left is on the CV, then you might mention there that you had to leave for medical reasons.

But the SoP is not best used to explain any deficiencies. It needs to project that you have a plan for the future, both the degree and thereafter.

If you mention it anywhere, and it may not be necessary for a short break, be prepared for questions about it.

At most, a short phrase introducing how you were a fantastic success in xyzzy in spite of dealing with nerve damage in the hand. But just a phrase. Elsewhere is better, however and not the focus of the SoP. No one will accept you because they are sorry for you. They accept you if they can predict your future success.

  • Thanks for the quick response. I'll keep this in mind. Sep 12, 2021 at 21:00

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