If you're thinking about applying to graduate or postgraduate programmes at universities abroad the Statement of Purpose (SOP) is one of the most important components of your application. The admissions committee will be looking at your SOp for a glimpse into your background — it is virtually the narrative or story you tell to tie together all the elements of your application.
Thus, a creatively written SOP that keeps the reader hooked can actually make your application stand out and greatly improve your chances of getting in. To learn eye-catching ways to highlight your qualifications, goals, and experience in an SOP, keep reading…
It is essential to understand what to include and what to leave out. While you need to include essential information in your SOP, it must also follow a logical flow and not sound contrived. Here is a standard structure that you can follow:
- Introduction: In the introduction of an SOP you should start by talking about yourself, your interest and aspirations in the chosen academic field.
- Background: In this section, you must write about your educational background, training, work experience (if any) and extracurricular activities.
- Course Details: You must write why you have chosen this particular course, what skills are you looking forward to developing/enhancing and give details of your understanding of the curriculum.
- Career Goals: Write about your long-term plans after studying this course or pursuing a career, what are your aspirations and your professional goals.
- Why this University: Give reasons for your selection of this university, what are the qualities or facilities that made you choose this over other universities, and how it will help you in achieving your career goals.
- Conclusion: Give a brief summary of all the sections, and how you are dedicated and excited to study a course you are passionate about. Avoid mentioning financial assistance or anything related to it.
5 tips for an outstanding SOP
When drafting your statement of purpose, it is necessary to write effectively. If you want your SOP to be creative and unique, you follow these 5 essential tips to write it:
- Write it like a story
Authenticity in your SOP is the defining characteristic of a good one. Prepare a story that is authentic and highlights your best skills as a professional. People remember stories the most because they are captivating. Give a brief but excellent explanation of what led you to choose this course and university. Provide overall support for your desire to study at this university, and impress the committee with your creative narrative.
- Be Specific in your writing
In order to be effective, your writing must delve deeply into the subject at hand. Analyze yourself. Then sit down to write. Don't just say something because you believe it is what the admissions committee wants to read. Explain why you are passionate about this career, what led you to decide that you want to work in it for the rest of your life, what skills you are seeking to acquire, how it completes you as a person, etc.
- Have a formal but conversational tone
Your statement of purpose should be written in slightly formal language with a dash of humour and originality, just like a novel. The best and most reliable approach is to use a conversational tone. Write in a conversational tone, but refrain from using informal language. Balance is key here - it shouldn't seem overly formal or overly pleasant.
- Provide University details
When writing a statement of purpose, you should keep in mind this significant point. Do extensive research to showcase to the admissions committee your commitment to and familiarity with the university. Before you start writing the essay, you should thoroughly research the university you plan to attend and make a list of everything you appreciate about it and the details of the course you wish to attend. Be very precise about the aspects of the university you truly admire and the reason you chose to apply for the course there.
- Reach out to your teachers
Don't be reluctant to ask a teacher you know at your undergraduate university for guidance on your statement of intent if you are familiar with them. They can also give you helpful advice on how to represent your skill sets and project tasks in the statement. Furthermore, if they are close friends or family members, you can ask them for a strong letter of recommendation. In other words, there are only advantages for you, whichever way you look at it.
Importance of an SOP
The deciding factor in your application is the SOP. It assists the admissions panel in evaluating your perspective on life, your professional aspirations, your views, and your suitability as a student for the course. A strong SOP essentially gives universities a picture of your complete personality. It is an opportunity for you to explain to the committee why they should choose you over the other applicants and why your goals are important to them.
With a strong SOP, you may also make up for inadequate academic backgrounds by emphasising your aspirations and plans for the future. A strong SOP also shows how effectively you can communicate your ideas through writing. We hope that we have provided you with helpful information on writing an outstanding SOP. Ready to submit your application your university of choice abroad?