The statement of purpose should convince readers - the faculty on the selection committee that you have concrete achievements behind you that promises your success in your future study.
A “Statement of Purpose” — most popularly known as “SOP” — is an integral part of the international admissions process. A well-written statement of purpose will help you give the edge over other applicants academically similar to yourself who stand as much opportunity as you do to gain admission in your desired University.
“The statement of purpose should convince readers - the faculty on the selection committee that you have concrete achievements behind you that promises your success in your future study.”
Content Of Your SOP
Most institutions specify a word count, unless the specific program says otherwise, be concise; an ideal essay should say everything it needs to with brevity. Approximately 500 to 1000 well-selected words is always better than more words with less clarity and poor organization. You could maintain a standard font and a font size of 11-12 all throughout the essay for the ease of reading.
Your statement of purpose should be a composition with four different parts.
Part 1: Introduction
Introduce yourself briefly, let them know about your interests and motivations to take up this course. Tell them what you’re interested in, and what sparked your desire for your future study. This part should be short and crisp; spending a great deal of time on autobiography won’t add anything to the essay.
Part 2: Summarize Your Previous Career
- a) Summarize your earlier undergraduate and graduate career, significant prior research you conducted. Briefly indicate with whom, the title of the project, what your responsibilities were, and the outcome. Write technically, or in the style of your discipline. Professors are the people who read these statements.
- b) Important paper or thesis project you completed, as well as anything scholarly you have achieved beyond your curricular requirements.
- c) Mention about your previous work experiences, especially if you had any kind of responsibility or interning in an area similar to what you wish to study.
Part 3: Discuss the Relevance Of Your Recent And Current Activities
If you graduated and have worked prior to applying to your desired area of study, indicate what you’ve been doing: working in a company or a non-profit organization, your work/design team, responsibilities, skills you learned/gained. You may also indicate here how this helped you focus your future studies.
Part 4: Elaborate on Your Academic Interests
This is the part where you indicate what you would like to study in your future school in enough detail to convince the faculty that you understand the scope of study/research in their discipline.
- a) Indicate the area of your interests. Ideally, pose a question, define a problem, or indicate a theme that you would like to address, and questions that arise from contemporary research. This should be an ample paragraph!
- b) If you wish to research in any particular faculty, research topic; look on the web for information about departments you’re interested in, including professors and their research. Are there professors whose research interests parallel to yours? If so, indicate this in your SOP. Check the specific program; many may need you to name one or two professors with whom you might wish to work.
- c) End your statement in a positive manner, indicating your excitement and readiness for the challenges ahead of you.
Some Essential Tips
- What the admissions committee will read between the lines: self-motivation, competence, potential as a future student.
- Emphasize everything from a positive perspective and write in an active, not a passive voice.
- Demonstrate everything by example; don’t say directly that you’re a persistent person, passionate and a hard worker, show them how you are and what you did.
- If there is something important that happened to you during your previous career that affected your grades (arrears/backlogs), such as poverty, illness, or excessive work, mention it. Write it affirmatively, showing your perseverance despite obstacles. You may elaborate more in your personal statement. But always remember to avoid excuses; someone always has a more painful story.
- A successful SOP is linked with continuity and focus. You can have your essay proof-read and copy edited by others (professors, writing advisors).
- Unless specified by the program, be concise; an ideal essay should say everything it needs to with clarity and brevity. As mentioned earlier, approximately 500 to 1000 well-selected words is always better than more words with less clarity and poor organization.
Last but not the least, your SOP is not just a mere document; it is a representation of who you are. It serves as a roadmap to your academic and professional growth and should impress the faculty in the selection team. It should elucidate with clarity, your passion for the subject and your career plans on completing the course. Call or write to us if you need a helping hand in fine tuning your statement of purpose.
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