A statement of purpose for admission to a graduate school is the means which provides the vital impetus for one’s candidature to be considered. The academic and the extra-curricular achievements highlighted in the admission forms do little to give a glimpse of the candidate’s personality.
The statement of purpose is the only gateway of communication which enables an admission seeker to communicate with the institution. A candidate can impress upon the admission committee and provide a new and honest account of one’s achievements and aspirations.
While the majority of the admission seekers take the task of writing the SOP seriously, not all of those SOPs make an impression strong enough to earn admission. Yes, a well-written SOP can ensure a ticket to your dream institute.
What is a statement of purpose? Is it merely an essay about yourself, highlighting all your academic qualifications and extra-curricular achievements, justifying your beliefs as to why your candidature for admission to the institution can be considered?
Read More: How to Write an Essay about Yourself?
Most aspiring students, while applying to various institutions, have a standard SOP that is submitted with a few tweaks. Most of these SOPs are generic and are bland accounts of the achievements.
While many try to be original, without being sure of hitting the right notes, most take the tried and tested method of copy editing the SOPs submitted by the seniors. Well, a statement of purpose is more than just an essay about you.
It is a vivid picture that portrays your journey of life and your reason for considering the institution to be a part of that continuing journey. It’s about how your experiences have shaped you to believe that the institute can help you realize your career goals.
What makes a good statement of purpose? What makes a statement of purpose stand out amongst the thousands submitted? An explanation of the use that blandly states the achievements and experiences of the candidate fails to impress the reader. While screening thousands of SOPs, a generic essay will hardly incite the reader to read more, let alone impress.
Here are a few tips that will help you improve a statement of purpose for a graduate school.
Before one start writing that all-important statement of purpose, one must ensure the following:
- Think, think, and think: It is vital that one has a clear head while deciding to apply to any graduate school. While writing the statement of purpose, one must have clear answers to the following questions:
- What do you want to study?
- Why do you want to consider that particular discipline?
- Why do you want to explore that specific discipline at that individual graduate school?
- What are your expectations from graduate school?
- What are your career goals?
- How is the course helpful in achieving your career goals?
- How will your experience help you achieve your career goals?
- How will the graduate school help you achieve your career goals?
- Know the institute: It can be through research both online and offline. Knowledge about the institute will help you relate your thoughts and help you express your perceptions and beliefs while answering the all-important question of your purpose.
- Have a rough draft: To write the best statement of use, it is advisable to prepare a rough draft of the account. It ensures that all areas are covered and gives room for improvement. A rough draft can act as a checklist to ensure that nothing is missed in the final draft.
The vital ingredients that an SOP must possess at the start to arrest the attention of the reader are:
- Concrete facts
The first few lines of the statement of purpose set the tone of the statement of purpose. Being formal in mood doesn’t mean being blunt, and being conversational does not require one to fit in intentional jokes.
The right amount of data and relevant facts is an attention grabber. The points placed strategically can work wonders to the start of any statement of purpose.
Everyone has their style of writing, ensuring a start that is akin to your form will enable you to maintain the tone and flow of the other content.
Let’s consider the following starts to a statement of purpose:
Example 1: “I take this opportunity to apply for admission to the Post Graduate course in Economics.”
Example 2: “My acumen in Math and my love of applying the numbers to real-life models have urged me to apply to the Post Graduate course in Economics at your institute.”
Being confident and expressing one’s intent and goal clearly will set the right tone and depth of the statement of purpose.
While in between:
- Ensure that the tone and flow of the start are maintained throughout the statement.
- Elaborate on your aspirations and expectations while drawing from your past experiences and achievements.
- Be subtle with the data already provided on the admission sheet, marks, and extra-curricular achievements. Lead the reader to something they are still to learn about you.
- Tell them a story.
- Highlight your expectations and your career goals.
- Place your belief in the institution, by stating specific insights gained from your research.
- Emphasize on the role which the institute can play to help you achieve your goals.
- State the particular areas of the program that you want to focus on and how they will enable you to realize your goals.
The best statement of purpose, in addition to persuasive writing, has the permissible word count and types with the accepted word fonts. Revise for typing errors, grammatical mistakes, and lengthy sentences.
Compelling copy is clear and concise; lengthy sentences often confuse the reader and are less effective in communicating with the right impact. Avoid the use of slang or other unacceptable jargon. Consult the dictionary when in doubt at any stage of writing.
A statement of purpose is more than an essay about oneself, and it is a reflection of the individual.