Tips for writing a good SoP / Statement of Purpose / Statement of Purpose /Letter of


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Tips for writing a good SoP

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An SoP is the most important element of your application. Apart from your academics, extra curricular activities and community work, the SoP is the most vital advocate of your candidature at the adcom. This is the document where you talk about all the reasons why you should be considered for the school's upcoming UG, PG or research program. The school or university is primarily interested in learning about your personal, academic, professional and social reasons for choosing the particular program at their institution as well as to why you should be included in their program.

Most of the schools/universities try to get this information by asking you to answer specific questions providing the above information or any particular information as needed by them; others ask for a general personal statement, statement of purpose or letter of intent. In all scenarios, all that the institution wants to know is about you. Even when the question is why the particular program or why the particular university/college, the answer is reasons about you; they are not looking for an autobiography. A general SoP would cover your reasons for choice of the program, specialization and the university/school, your career goals, and your fit with the program. Every part of the SoP is about you. You are expected to detail your motivation for the program, what your goals are, how this program fits with your past life and future plans, why the college/university has been chosen, and why you are a perfect fit for their program. The answer to these questions require deeper probing and extensive research.

SoP/Personal Statement

SoP Writing Tips

Write your goals clearly...

Try to have as much detail as possible about your goal. Though it is comprehendible that the program and other factors during the course of the coming years could influence your career decisions, it is required to provide specific details as regards to function, industry, geography and the kind of role you would want to take up. Motivation: How did you arrive at this goal? What is the motivation behind it? What in the past led you to this decision? What incident or personalities influenced you to make this choice? What are your reasons for following this choice? Answer them credibly and convincingly.

State reasons for your choice of program and university/school...

Program: Why have you chosen this particular program and not something else? How will this program help you achieve your goals. How is this program an extension of your past and a connection to the future? What is the significance of this program in your career/life?

University/College: Why are you applying to this college? What features of this program has attracted your application? The institution knows enough and more about itself than you can tell them, so why this question? This is is to enable them to understand your genuine interest in them. Extensive research of the institution through internet and interactions with alumni/current students/faculty would give you all the required information; though difficult, it is not impossible. Try to find about the program structure, specific subjects that could benefit you, details of distinguished faculty and others who are currently or previously been engaged in research or publications on field of your interest, the college's contribution in your chosen area, student activities and clubs with which you share interest and advantages of the geography of the college.

The most common mistakes made by applicants is creating a general SoP which is used to apply to all the colleges of their choice. Why do you think this would work? How could be the reasons for selecting these colleges be the same? Unless you have the boring combination of "esteemed faculty", "diverse community", "renowned college" as your reasons for the choice of the institution, the reasons cannot be the same.

The SoP is about you...

You: This is the most important part of the SoP. Though the central character of each of the above sections is you, this is that section where you explicitly mention those reasons that set up apart from other applicants and make you the ideal student for their forthcoming class. Contemplate on those key traits that differentiate you from your peers, those strengths that have helped you emerge more successful and those characteristics that has made you the obvious choice (in the past). Interactions with people who know you - your family, your friends, your colleagues at clubs, staff at your school - could help you uncover and identify areas which you might tend to overlook or take for granted. Every additional activity - be it participation in a science fair or representation of school in a sports meet or attendance in an arts festival - all can make an impact. Try to include scholastic achievements - general proficiency awards, trophies from tournaments, prizes from debating clubs etc. Mention key positions of responsibilities held - school captain, class prefect, president of Humanities club - and bring in those specific contributions you made to each of these organizations through these roles.

Yes, it is a lot and most of the schools only give you a 500 word space to incorporate all the above sections. Make a list of all of these and then identify key points that can help you win the admission. Again, the idea is to write an SoP that sells your application and gives the selection committee a good reason to shortlist you. A good SoP reflects the personality traits, talents and interests that are not apparent in your resume or application. A good SoP highlights and re-enforces the most important strengths of your application while also answering the specific question.

First things first. Read the questions carefully, understand the institution's selection criteria and prepare your answers accordingly.  Once you have jotted down your thoughts in a rough form or as bullet points that can be expanded during our discussion or prepared a good draft, it is time to reach us at EssayLABB!