Tips for Statement of Purpose

I won't be sending applications for the Fall 2011 programs until later this year, but I'm curious if anyone has any good tips for drafting a statement of purpose. Some universities list a few vague facts about this, but it's not very helpful.

This much I do know:
-statements should be tailored to the school (mention professors, parts of the curriculum that pertain to your interests, any current experience with that school, etc)
-keep personal cliche anecdotes out (i.e., "I want to make a difference", "I've always wanted to help people", "I have an uncle who suffered a stroke, and since then have been fascinated with helping others in similar situations")

Any other tips would be very much appreciated. What did you include in your personal statement that you thought added strength to your application? If you were NOT a communication disorders undergrad major, what was your driving reason for going to graduate school to study SLP?

I didn't tailor my statement of purpose to each school I was applying for. If you want to, that's great, but otherwise, mine was just a generic letter. I attempted to answer the following in mine:

1. Why do I want to be in this field?
2. What are my future career goals?
3. What is my work ethic and commitment like?
4. Do I have any special interests within the field?
5. How do you think you would be beneficial to the field of SLP?
I answered the same issues as chardonnaydream. However, I did add a reference to each specific school in the letter somewhere. I researched the schools and found something to say about all of them. Although the bulk of the letter was copied in all of my letters, I edited one paragraph in each to make that specific reference.

I have my undergrad in English and am certified to teach English/Language Arts. I am finishing an online second bachelor's program in Comm. Disorders, so I definitely made it a point to address how I ended up in this field. I made my academic background a strength rather than a weakness.

That's about it for what I did. That, in addition to letters of rec, GRE scores, and my GPA must have been okay because I've been accepted into UW Whitewater, USF in Florida, and ISU in IL. :)

Good luck!
I had the same SOP for all of the schools, except for the last paragraph, which is where I discussed why I wanted to go to whichever school I was applying to.

I majored in linguistics in undergrad, so in my SOP I discussed why I wanted to go into SLP (for me, it's because I like the practical application of linguistics).

Also, for what it's worth, I DID put in personal anecdotes about why I'm interested in SLP- I was deaf as a child and had ear tubes put in, and then had language delays and impairments. I don't think it's necessarily crazy/wrong to put in personal anecdotes. Then again, I've been waitlisted at three places, so maybe I'm wrong...
Thank you for the great advise everyone! I guess I'm a little nervous about the letter. I don't have a background in SLP (English major, then medical editor/writer for 5 years), so I feel a greater need to make my statement of purpose really strong.

Thanks again!
i think cliches are fine as long as you can back them up with examples/proof. I mean if you really want to help people and have a specific idea how, it needs to be in there. I was redic. with my personal statement- It had a max of 500 words limit and mine was 500 exact. I was an English undergrad and used literacy issues as a highlight. I got into GWU.