The Statement of Purpose, or SOP, is an essay that is an important part of each applicant’s overall admission profile. It should be written in 1000-1500 words and should represent your personality, bridging your past experiences and future aspirations. It is a vital component of a graduate school application that informs admissions committees about who you are, your academic and career preferences, and how you can contribute to the graduate program to which you are applying.
Each Statement of Purpose is unique. Each essay is meant to be exclusive, and no one can really give you a formula for a perfect SOP. What works for one person can not work for another! The following are five techniques that will undoubtedly strengthen your SOP –
- Write Stories, Not Statements : We distinctly remember stories far more easily than we remember statements. Statements do not resonate with us in the same way as stories do. It arouses human emotions from you and immerses you in its plot. Many people, for example, would say, “I used to work in a global tech corporation in the production team, and I had to do the same job every day: code things.” There was nothing new for me to discover at university, and going to work was not particularly thrilling. I knew one day that I had to quit, so I applied to college to take higher courses and get a better job.” Instead, how about this: “Late one Monday night, I found myself in the center of a desolate office, surrounded by fifteen thousand lines of code. With caffeine in my body and an empty life outside of the workplace, I discovered that machines had begun coding my brain and manipulating my life. I determined that college would be my redemption because I no longer wanted to be fed by machines.” That sounds a lot better, doesn’t it?
- Be Specific : You must be certain that anything you say in your statement of purpose is quite clear. Don’t mention anything simply because you believe it would please the admissions committee. Don’t just say, “I choose this degree because I’m interested in this area.” Explain why you enjoy this profession, what makes you realize that you want to work in this field for the rest of your life, what abilities you are attempting to acquire, how it completes you as a human, and so on. Find the reasoning, and then come up with a sweet, unforgettable way to tell them.
- Customize Your Essay : One of the most common errors students make is preparing a simple template for their statement of purpose and then merely changing the related names and specifics if they are applying to more than one university. The rest of the statement, though, is an exact replica. This is never a smart idea because, while they can seem to be very close, each university is vastly different from the others. You should write your essay in such a way that admissions officers believe you can fit in well in their culture. Remember that any student body is like a family, and if you send clues that you won’t fit in with their family or culture, you may not be accepted easily.
- Decide How You Want To Portray Yourself : You must acknowledge that the statement of purpose acts as a tool for conveying your mindset, personality, and character. You might be wondering why the declaration of intent can only be 1000 words long, given that there is a lot to cover in that little room. This is where your writing abilities can excel. You absolutely cannot say, “I am very passionate about the area of study I have selected.” That is the very last thing you want to publish. Instead, write a phrase that implies the same thing in a roundabout way. You would need to pick your terms carefully in order to convey your emotion indirectly. You can use short illustrations to demonstrate that you are so enthusiastic about it. For example, you could say, “My grandfather was a car mechanic. He took me to his workshop for the first time when I was nine years old and taught me how he could patch my broken bicycle so I could ride it again. He left me the entire garage when he died a few years back. That was a pivotal moment in my life. Any of my favorite days were spent in the garage, where I wanted to repair different appliances around the house when I got home from school. That is what inspired me to pursue a career as a Mechanical Engineer.”
- Don’t Create Stories : Do not “make” stories out of thin air because we asked you to write them. You can only write amazing stories if you have great stories. Many people may have originated from ordinary families, lived ordinary lives, and certainly did not do anything extraordinary. It’s perfectly fine. If you don’t have anything amazing to say, don’t say it. Be an average person who writes regular stories. It is better to be yourself rather than pretend to be someone you are not.
Now we will see the appropriate format of a SOP. This is an example of an appropriate outline for your statement of purpose:
- INTRODUCTION : A concise description of yourself and your experience as they contribute to your motivation for applying to graduate school.
- BODY : Your existing field-related knowledge and achievements.
- Example 1
- Example 2
- Example 3
Your career aspirations in regard to the course you’re applying to, why you’re drawn to that specific university, and what you can bring to the table.
- CONCLUSION : A brief overview of the information presented in the body emphasizing the skills and compatibility with the school.
Follow this outline while writing your SOP & implement the techniques mentioned above. By following these outlines & tips your SOP will surely become uniquely strong!
For your convenience, I am putting a SOP template here – SOP Template.
If you want to read more career related blogs, click here.
Aqib Adnan Shafin
Content Writing Intern