Tips and Tricks to Write an Effective Statement Of Purpose

SOP (Statement Of Purpose)

Tips and Tricks to Write an Effective Statement Of Purpose

If you are planning to get into foreign universities and colleges it is important to understand the admission process of universities abroad. The most crucial as well as the mandatory part of the admission application for these universities abroad especially in the United States of America (USA) and Canada is the SOP (Statement Of Purpose).  If you have no clue about the usage, function, and importance of SOP (Statement Of Purpose), then you are at right place. As this article deals with what is SOP (Statement Of Purpose) and tips and tricks one can put into use to create an effective SOP (Statement Of Purpose)

What is a Statement of Purpose (SOP)?

Statement of Purpose (SOP) is an essay cum application written by students aspiring to get into any graduate program at a foreign university. The essay is like an application given by students proposing their candidature by expressing their strengths and achievements in order to impress the concerned faculty members as well as the admission officers. This is an important step towards securing your deal.

Why do Universities demands Statement of Purpose (SOP)?

Statement of Purpose (SOP) is a great tool used by universities in order to analyze the aims and aspirations of the student. It also helps in analyzing the student’s interest in the program, his or her ability to pursue the program and finish the course successfully. It is equally important for the university to make sure that the students will contribute positively to their institution. It is the role of Statement of Purpose (SOP) to bring you ahead of other hundreds of candidates in line. Graduation is an important part of higher education as this is the time one plans to designs his or her career and set the goal. Therefore, universities lay special emphasis on the Statement of Purpose (SOP).

What is the importance of the Statement of Purpose (SOP)?

It is the job of the Statement of Purpose (SOP) to create an impression of the candidate in the mind of admission officers in the absence of the candidate. The Statement of Purpose (SOP) will tell the admission officer about your attitude (towards life and education), your ambition, your line of thought (clarity of thought) and your overall personality. Statement of Purpose (SOP) has an innate ability to compensate low GPA score or average test scores on tests like SAT, GRE, and GMAT.  Statement of Purpose (SOP) is the subjective part of your admission process which deals with the psyche of the admission officers.

How to write an effective Statement of Purpose (SOP)?

It is important to express yourself in an interesting and exciting manner in order to make your Statement of Purpose (SOP) stand out of crowd and enhance your chances of admission.  Universities place special emphasis on Statement of Purpose (SOP) as they want to know how unique and dedicated you are which cannot be expressed via a plagiarized Statement of Purpose (SOP) content. No wonder, it is a tough task to make your Statement of Purpose (SOP) unique in a way that Admission officer remembers it even after going through hundreds of applications. But here are a few tips which can help students in creating great and original Statement of Purpose (SOP).

Answer the basic questions demanded in an SOP (Statement Of Purpose):

There are a certain set of questions which one is expected to answer. You may or may not find these questions listed somewhere by university authorities. Here is the list of questions which are supposed to be answered in a Statement of Purpose (SOP).

  • What do you plan to study or do in the future?
  • What is your purpose behind choosing the specific course?
  • What is the reason behind choosing the specific institution or university?
  • What kind of experience do you have in your choice of course? Mention the time span as well.
  • Is there any course or training you have undergone in relation to your field? Please specify.
  • Why did you choose to study in this country abroad and what do you like about this country?
  • What do you aim to do after obtaining your graduate degree?
  • Would you choose to settle for a job or take up any research project after graduation?
  • What are your expectations for the graduate program as well as the college?
  • Other than education and work, what are your hobbies, extracurricular activities, habits, and interests?
  • Are you planning to study or research under any particular professor? If yes, Please explain why do you choose them.
  • What kind of understanding do you have about the student community and culture of your preferred university or educational institution? Why do you think you will be able to gel well?
  • Do you have any unique characteristic which you believe is worth sharing? If yes, please mention and also specify why should we and your fellow classmates consider it as an important characteristic?
  • What kind of values and ethics can you bring to your fellow mates as well as to the institution?
  • Why do you think and how well this program will help you achieve your career goal?

Once you have written the answers to the above questions, it is time to build a nice and interesting story. This story in the form of a Statement of Purpose (SOP) will not only help you impress the officials but can also land you with a decent scholarship.  Therefore, be as creative as you can.  You can find some sample SOPs for reference here and here.

Time to quantify your story to create a powerful Statement of Purpose (SOP):

Always make sure your story doesn’t sound like a thesis, it should act as an important source of information about the candidate. The content of your story should not only be qualitative in nature but also quantitative in nature. Your Statement of Purpose should allow readers to understand the depth of the facts provided to them. Try to make use of numbers like the number of years you have worked, your rank etc. The numbers can do wonders as they add a seal of authenticity as well as enhance the authority of your story. The addition of numbers will make your story appear more real in comparison to non-numbered stories.

Be as much specific as you can:

Your statement should help the reader dig deep into your psyche and provide him or her with a better insight into yourself. Don’t write a false statement in order to impress the officials. Be honest and to the point while expressing your opinions but don’t be arrogant. Express your opinion in a nice and memorable style. The officers at graduation school want you to think about your future briefly.

One copy for all is just not enough:

Many students commit the mistake of using one single copy of the Statement of Purpose (SOP) to apply to all the university options available to them. They just make the relevant changes in the names and details of the university. But this is just not enough. You may have heard no two people are the same. This goes for universities as well. Each and every university differs majorly in its culture, visions, values, ethics, methodologies, strengths, mottos and weaknesses. These options vary greatly and are an extremely important parameter to consider. When you apply to many universities, it is important to consider the above parameters and design your Statement of Purpose (SOP) keeping in mind that every university differs in its student community. You have to convince officials that you can easily be part of their family and culture. Taking the term “culture” into consideration, please note even in one country you can find many cultures.  For example in the country like the United States of America (USA), you can find different cultures at different locations within the country. So it is advisable to do a complete research about the culture of the institution you plan to admit to.

Make use of conversational tone which is not too informal or too formal, balance it out:

The Statement of Purpose (SOP) can be divided into two categories i.e. the super formal, and the super friendly. The super formal category is the extremely formal form of Statement of Purpose it sounds like one is referring to an army chief or something. The super friendly is a highly casual form of Statement of Purpose, it sounds like you are chatting with your friend. Students may find a super formal way a good and decent option but both the optioned mentioned above isn’t enough as they don’t fetch attention. There are people who create a Statement of Purpose (SOP) which is not just formal but friendly, funny and welcoming in nature and makes their place on the list of preferred students.  As mentioned before, your Statement of Purpose (SOP) should be read like a novel which is both informative and entertaining in nature. One of the safest roads to take is the road to a conversational tone, write as if you are talking to someone but avoid using casual or slang language. A pinch of humor which can bring a smile on the readers face is the best way to express yourself in Statement of Purpose (SOP). You should always remember one thing while writing your Statement of Purpose (SOP) is you are not writing to showcase your sense of humor, the purpose of Statement of Purpose (SOP) is to seek admission into a graduation course abroad.

Portray yourself carefully:

Statement of Purpose (SOP) is a medium through which students tend to convey their personality, attitude as well as character. Therefore your Statement of Purpose (SOP) should be able to inform the following things to the admission officials about you-

  • Your passion for the field of your choice
  • You should be portrayed as an intelligent and sorted person who can manage the study load of your graduate program.
  • You are both mentally and academically ready to take up the new challenges offered by the chosen study course
  • It should reflect your ability to create rapport with your teachers as well as your classmates
  • Your ability to secure good grades and that you will be able to finish the graduate degree in the given time period
  • You can be a successful grad school alumni who can help in hiring graduates and also help in arranging funds for the institution in order to conduct research, renovate infrastructure and provide scholarships to deserving candidates.

Don’t cross the 1000-word limit and choose your words with great care. These words should indirectly be able to address the intensity of your passion.  You must have heard “Pen is mightier than the sword”. Well, same goes here. The quality of your content is a symbol of your intelligence.  So try to demonstrate your knowledge by using jargons associated with your course as it will reflect your preparation level. Your past work experience will act as a witness to your ability to take up challenges in the future. There are many other ways you can express your qualities indirectly. Try to incorporate indirect conversational tone.

Address your issues briefly:

When you were in your tender years, you must have heard- “Honesty is the best policy”.  Well, it is an irreplaceable fact. Therefore, try to be as honest as you can in your Statement of Purpose (SOP).  You may have faced certain situations like a gap year, work related issues, or poor grades etc. But there is nothing to be ashamed of. You can discuss these issues in your SOP. You should not only highlight the cause and effect but it is equally important to discuss your experiences and methods of overcoming such hurdles. Try to explain your situation in a few lines as this will help you create an image of a matured and sorted student. Hence, this will help in enhancing your image in the eyes of the admission committee.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions or need help with proofreading your Statement Of Purpose.

©Sheela Joby

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