A #toolkit of How to Write a #SOP (Statement of Purpose) for the #education #brainstorm that India Really Needs
While #toolkit and #twitterstorm are the words of the week, amid the Pandemic and Polity; education has taken a backseat. Lakhs of students, who withheld their foreign education dreams for over a year are now vehemently vying to revive them. Indian students remain as one of the largest pools to apply at top American, Australian, UK and Canadian Universities and all concerted efforts towards acquiring that coveted education boil down to a single document: A Statement of Purpose.
Let’s Talk About it. How to Write a Winning SOP?
And why is it important?
Almost all top universities and colleges in the world and in India mandate applicants to submit an admission essay along with the complete academic dossier. A statement of purpose can hold as much as 30% weightage to your admission application making it one of the most important essays you will write in your student life.
What exactly is a Statement of Purpose AKA Personal Statement?
The college admission committees use SOPs to filter out the scholarly wheat from the chaff and a poorly written essay instantly nullifies your chances of getting into your dream college. Deans of Admission evaluate SOPs to figure out your suitability and eagerness to pursue the chosen course and to decipher that you are culturally and socially fit to collaborate at their campuses and in the country. A standard personal statement document can be anywhere between 500 - 1000 words and eminently reflect following rationales:
What is a Basic Structure* of SOP?
- What is your academic rationale?
- Education and Family Background
- Professional Accomplishments w.r.t. to your chosen study program.
- Why do you want to pursue the course?
- What basis forms your University Choice?
- Why do you want to study in a foreign country?
- Your Future Goals ( Near term and Long Term).
But is it enough?
Certainly not, especially if you are writing your SOP for MS, PhD or for popular Master programs such as MIS, AI & Cloud Computing, Data Sciences, or Advanced Mechanics. The ratio to seat vis a vis applicants is limited for such courses thus creating fierce competition.
So, How do you write a powerful SOP (Statement of Purpose) or a Personal Statement which differentiates you from the crowd?
Here’s an SOP Guide that you can use
Step 1 - Brainstorm NOT TwitterStorm.
Whether you are writing a Personal Statement or a Scholarship Essay for a PhD grant, it is imperative to ideate profusely before you even begin.
How will you start your SOP? Why are you choosing to pursue a Masters from the USA? Or any other country for that matter. What are your reasons for choosing the university?
Take a deep breath and introspect. Pen down all the reasoning through exhaustive research from valid sources. Think about life events which can create an impact.
Find out about the latest innovation in your field. How do you propose to solve and contribute to it?
Here's a Good SOP sample (introduction paragraph) for your dekko:
“Aero-modelling is in my DNA of sorts. It may sound canny but is true nonetheless. While my girlfriends in high school were busy with hobbies akin to the fairer sex ,I indulged in collecting scale models of famed flight machines; my prized possession being Falcon 900 LX. Of course, parental mentorship helps and though my interests were a stark contrast to expectations from an Indian teenage girl, my father ensured to encourage me in all my endeavours whether academic, co-curricular; while breaking multiple stereotypes as a lone girl at the flight training academy or leading the girl’s soccer team in college.”
Once you have compelled your readers to visualize your expression, half the battle is won.
The above example is a soul-baring one and is recommended only if you have a genuine passion for something. You will be required to reflect your passion with anecdotal events. If you notice the reading flow, you will discover visual imagery while reading it.
Step 2 - Awesome Evidence and then some more
Trust us, when we say that Only Evidence will get you there.
An abstract narration of your internships, seminar participation or education is not going to cut it. You need to quantify every event in your SOP with dates, names, places and ample evidence of learning outcomes.
Step 3 - Research (Keep Digging till you run out of data)
What are your chosen University rankings in your course?
Is the campus famous for something, a research lab or a building?
What are the concentrations in your course module and which ones will you like to choose?
Is there any faculty that you want to learn under? Name them.
Knowledge is only limited to your efforts and the SOP while sounding genuine should clearly indicate that you are well aware of what you are getting into. Further, you MUST also validate your suitability to excel in the proposed study program through related education, academic participation and professional experience.
Let us savour an MS Sop Sample written by an India Assignment Help SOP expert to explain future goals and research objectives. The SOP is written for a student aspiring to pursue PhD research at Texas University in the domain of wearable tech and machine learning.
“Post completing my Masters in Computer Sciences and multiple rigorous certifications in Cloud Computing and AI; still, a knowledge gap exists in parlance to my ambition. I often wonder what is the next milestone for technology? Is it to create the thinnest, mobile phone or is it to create a smart device that ceases to exist in your hand, rather is inside it. Imagine accepting a fb notification with a blink of an eye.
While the research in wearable tech and motion sensing technologies is abounding with innovation; with credence, I feel that the final frontier of neo-modern devices lies in organically embedded technologies where man becomes the machine. My primary research objective is to carry out esoteric research in the area and find scalable technological solutions in the realm of Health and Wellness Sector where I can develop affordable prototypes to enable ease of movement, speech and bodily functions of those who are unable to do so; chronically or elsewise.”
In the above example, intentions and in-depth knowledge of the student are clarified superlatively along with focussed objectives. This is the kind of clarity your Dean of University Admissions is looking for in your SOP.
Step 4 - Proofread till your eyes run dry.
Once you have collected all the evidence, decide what you will choose to mention and finally complete your SOP.
The real work starts NOW
Is the language formal yet conversational? Check
Is the page formatting (para spacing, font type, page indent) as per the University guidelines? Check
Is written English competent enough to qualify at University Level? Check
Is the SOP 100% original and plagiarism free? Check
Even when you check all the right boxes, proofread again to avoid syntax errors and to ensure that language and format competence is pristine and devoid of any mistakes.
Step 5 - Improvise, Edit, Repeat.
Read your SOP aloud, see how it will sound in the mind of its reviewer, What will make your essay stand apart from the thousands of applications.
The key is to start writing your SOP well in advance, so you have abundant time to improvise. Even the best authors in the world will write a 100-page manuscript, read it again and then again before finally giving out only a brilliant crux of their writing to the publisher but not before rewriting or eliminating almost half of what they wrote in the first place.
Multiple reading and edits will lead to desired finesse.
While we can easily concur that writing an SOP is an inside job and never will a “1 size fits all” analogy work in this case. But it is safe to conclude that if you are able to reflect that your scholarly uniqueness rises from diligence and passion for what you want to study.
Rest is a cakewalk.
*Disclaimer - SOP format given in this blog is a standard structure accepted at most universities, however, we strongly recommend that you check your University guidelines or speak to your admission officer to ensure this. Some Universities may demand different structures for different study programs or even ask for an admission essay in a Video or a Q&A format.