An SOP is a long essay required by universities abroad and nowadays some of the Indian universities during the application process. As the full form of SOP reveals, a Statement of Purpose is an essay stating the purpose of applying to a particular course in a particular university. This essay consists of a gist of who you are, who you want to become, and how ready you are to pursue a certain course in an institution. The essay seeks to understand the candidate’s life, the motivations for the chosen career path and his/her goals. Hence, you should discuss the past incidents that have influenced your career path in a specific domain wherein you aspire to grow by joining a course/college.
The Statement of Purpose is probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of graduate applications. Most students pass it off like it is just another essay about them, and naturally, write monotonous stuff that doesn’t stand out. That is why, the university admissions committee puts a hefty weight on statement of purposes and their structure – they want to see whether you take the interest in letting them know how much you want to study at their university.
Now, these are the questions you will have to consider before starting off with your statement of purpose.
- What you want to study at graduate school?
- Why you want to study only this degree?
- Why do you want to study at this particular college?
- What do you like in us?
- Why did you choose to study in this particular country? What do you like about it?
- How much and what kind of experience you have in your field? Is your experience related to you choice of degree?
- If you are already experienced, what additional skills are you planning to gain from the degree?
- What you plan to do with your degree after graduation?
- Would you choose to end up with a job or take up research?
- What are your expectations from both the graduate program, and the university?
- Would you like to study or do research under any particular professor? If yes, why only them?
- How can you contribute to our university and our program?
- What specific skills do you bring to the table? Apart from work and education, what are your hobbies, interests, and habits? What are you like, as a person?
- What do you understand about our student community and culture?
- Why do you think you will fit in? What is that one unique aspect/characteristic about you that we should know?
STRATEGIES TO WRITE A GOOD SOP
- Your writing capability is reflected in your SOP. Your SOP should be free from grammatical errors. The language should be lucid enough for them to comprehend yet should have a good vocabulary. Make sure not to use too many heavy words as sometimes too much of rich vocabulary makes the sentence redundant and it fails to communicate the meaning.
- What makes you stand out from the rest of the crowd? Highlight your unique side/unique personality. The Adcom should be able to recognize you an as individual through your SOP. Your interests and goals will help them know you on a personal basis.
- With your talent, previous experiences and interest, how and what can you contribute to the department and college/university, as a whole? Think of it as a two-way process. You need to mention how you will be able to contribute towards their community, be it through sports, community services, societies or clubs, and so on.
- Being familiar with the university facilities and curriculum will help you a great deal. You need to be aware of the student programmes, faculty, internship opportunities, student facilities and societies, traditions etc. that sets the university apart from others. The Adcom should be convinced that you know about the department and college/university thoroughly and thus, you are applying in it and not applying randomly.
- Your motivation or inspiration to study a selected course should clear, evident and justified. Adcom does not approve of bragging sentences in the SOP. So keep it original, real, and free from any overbearing or arrogant statements.
Most importantly remember these 5 tips:
- Tell your story
- Quantify your stories
- Be Precise
- Customize it
- Use a formal yet conversational tone
For more help feel free to come to us. We at 3RDiConsulting help students in drafting their thoughts in the right manner.