hat is an SOP ? - An SOP or Statement of Purpose is your reflection to the admission committee. It is the most critical piece or at times your key to get through your dream college. Hence, this is one of the most important deciding factors.
It’s not just an essay, with some important events, however, it’s your story where you should knit all the major events of your life together to do justice with your decision of taking up a graduate program. (Read the last line, again!). An SOP speaks on your behalf; hence it has to be the best.
What should you do then?
Amalgamate Potential with Passion:
For the admission committee, it is important to provide clarity and the SOP should show that you are driven. Here are some of the major things that should be included in your SOP.
Why this program and University?
What prior experience you have? If not, how did you decide to take this program up?
Why do you think you are an ideal candidate for this program?
How is it going to help you in your career?
How this country would help you in your program and your career growth?
Your Cocurricular activities and community services
The final version should show your passion and potential for the course.
Walk the extra mile:
Here we will try to talk about how to make your SOP unique. One word. Research. We have to keep on researching as much we can:
About the college
About the university
About the course
About the student clubs that align with your co-curriculars or the graduate program
About the objective statistics that strengthen your case
You have to let them know, what excited you to take this program up at this college. This reflects your eagerness to learn and know more. It would also make your SOP stand-out.
Proofread and proofread:
Not proofreading after each edit is a rookie mistake. Having read your SOP multiple times, your brain hits autopilot and its possible to miss some errors. It is often recommended to have someone else proofread your SOP for you. The task doesn’t end here. A continuous proof-reading based on the edits has to be done, judiciously. The verbiage, the grammar and the spell check all should be on-point.
What not to do?
The eleventh-hour project:
Creating an SOP can seem like an overwhelming task, but One of the most important aspect is to not create the SOP in a hurry or at the last minute. It has the potential to lack structure, proper intro, on-point conclusion and professional verbiage. Rather plan your SOP. Typically, a good SOP should take around 14 days – 2 weeks. Breakdown the days into different segments and work on those segments:
Day 1 - Day 3: Jot down the points that you will be elaborating on
Day 4 - Day 6: The first-cut should be in place
Day 7 - Day 10: Work on the unique points
Day 11 - Day 14: Final Cut with all the modifications
What should go hand-in-hand from Day 1 - Day 14? Researching, editing and proofreading. It is imperative to pace yourself while creating the SOP.
A Feeble Story:
As discussed, multiple times, by now you are clear that your SOP is not an essay, it’s your story. You can’t afford to have a weak story. Each event should tie-up with another so that we can bring structure in the SOP. A lot of irrelevant information sometimes make the SOP weak and haphazard. Too much of flattery or making the SOP excessively sassy will lead to a negative impression in general. Keep it crisp and to-the-point.
Exceed the word limit:
One of the last things that you should keep in mind while writing your SOP is never to exceed the word limit. The admission committee has set some standards and we need to follow that. In a lot of cases, folks try to go over-board and exceed the word limit. We can’t afford to do that. Hence, you need to keep a tab on the word limit too.
Finally, you can always take additional help while building this, but always write the first cut yourself. One can build only on the that, because it is only you who can explain yourself the best.