How To Write A Winning Statement Of Purpose For Graduate Schools (SOP)Aishwarya Pandey
How To Write A Winning SOP (Statement Of Purpose) For Graduate Schools/ B-schools.
When it comes to applying to Graduate schools. We often leave the SOPs for the end moment. This is one of the greatest mistakes we do. You see, such schools especially the ones outside India, give a higher weightage to the SOP of a candidate. Writing a winning SOP will not only increase your chance of the candidate being short-listed but will also help the interviewer know certain imperative things about you beforehand.
Thus it is of paramount importance to craft your SOP meticulously whilst studying abroad. While preparing it, one must take into account all the highlights of their lives in terms of achievements, academics, personal life, life-changing incidents, major projects. I know all of this might sound a little overwhelming at first but at the end of the blog, you shall have a clear idea of crafting an SOP and manifest your studying abroad plans into reality.
So for your convenience, I have broken the process into the following steps or segments. However, before proceeding, you must know that writing an SOP is not a 1-Day Process. It requires time, perseverance, and loads and loads of self-scrutiny. So, let’s begin the voyage.
Prepare a clear list of things you wish to include in your SOP
Remember it is your SOP, and that only you decide what all you want to include and exclude in it. Make sure you show your best version in it, whilst staying true to yourself and the interviewer by giving a hint of things you might not be great at but are willing to learn.
For example, you can mention the fact that you are good at photography and aspire to learn photoshop as well and aren’t adept at it. This will show the interviewer your caliber as well as enthusiasm to learn new things. You may essentially include all the key highlights of your life. It can be a concoction of experiences that may have helped you tailor yourself, mold your personality, and make you who you are today. You may also consider including your short term as well as long term goals in life.
Go through some SOP samples:
It is not uncommon to find yourself in a space wherein you have no clue as to where to begin. In that case, you may just relax and simply view some sample SOPs. After going through a handful of them you shall get a clear picture and be ready to start your own SOP. Do not skip this step even if you are confident in yourself. It may help you ideate further on the content that you already have.
Picture the theme of your SOP
Now comes the most imperative section of your SOP. This will form the ground level of your SOP: the theme. The theme must revolve around an incident that kindled the passion for studying abroad in you. Something that made you dedicated to your goals.
Something that made you want to write the SOP in the first place. It can be a source of motivation, a book, a movie, a Tedtalk with an elder, witnessing an incident, going through a phase, a story. Your story.
Winnow, Winnow and Winnow
Now that you have already decided on your theme it is time to revisit your theme now and again and make the necessary changes. Edit edit and edit. You need to tailor it in such a way that your SOP is left impeccable. It has to be relevant to your subject. Aligned with your goals.
Conduct complete research on the university in question.
Once you have set the time and have started winnowing the most relevant details. It is time for you to conduct extensive research on the university you are aiming for or applying for. Remember this part is of paramount importance. Remember to know the faculties, view their LinkedIn Profiles, and know some of their projects.
Mentioning such meticulous things in your SOP will help you fetch more brownie points. For instance, you may display your enthusiasm for starting a research-based project with a renowned faculty member in the university who is responsible for such projects and has a demonstrated history of such projects.
RELATED READING: https://catking.in/how-to-maximize-your-gre-vocab-prep/
Write, edit, and re-write:
Remember never submit your SOP in one go. It is always better to edit and re-edit. Have at least 3 or 4 versions of the SOP at your hands and then finalize the best one. The rationale is that every time you re-write it or recall an incident new details come up.
Such details will help improvise your SOP. Also, you must begin the SOP process at least two months before the last date of submission. In this way you will have an ample amount of time, to revisit it and adorn it.
Check Grammatical errors and proofread.
Make sure your SOP is 100% plagiarism-free. Plagiarized content is unacceptable on so many grounds. Other than that, you may also ensure that your SOP is free of grammatical errors.
Grammatical errors, especially at this level is also unacceptable. Having grammatically correct essays or SOPs have a good impression on the evaluators.
The Style And Length Of The SOP
Whilst writing your SOP, make sure you use a formal but conversational style. Write short and precise sentences. Remember, the longer your sentences are, the easier it is to make an error. So instead of going for longer and complex sentences, opt for shorter ones. Unless otherwise stated keep your SOP in the range of 500-700 words. And ideally, the font size is kept at 12.
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Some Extra Tips For Writing Your SOP:
Once you have successfully crafted your SOP. Make sure you check that it includes the following points:
Your Vision and Mission are clearly stated along with relevant details/incidents.
- Your accomplishments should be in line with your goals.
- Do not sound arrogant or over-confident, always show that you are eager to learn and add to your existing set of skills.
- Make sure the research that you have conducted is correct and the figures or facts (if mentioned) are correct.
I hope you found this article useful, share the same if it helped you in crafting your own SOP.
All the best!