Statement of Purpose
What is a statement of purpose?
A statement of purpose (SOP) is a document required by graduate schools to judge the suitability of candidates for admission in their programs. As the name implies, a statement of purpose reveals the purpose of applying to a particular program. The basic purpose of SOP is to introduce the candidate as a best-fit to the intended program by showing his/her academic qualifications, achievements, interests, work experience, technical skills and motivation to undertake graduate studies.
Importance of SOP:
An SOP is the first opportunity for the candidate to express him/herself and to make a good first impression in front of the graduate admission committee. It is the most important component of graduate application because it is the one of the few components, which is controlled by the candidate. On the other hand, a candidate has no authority over other components of his/her application, such as, GPA, GRE score, IELTS/TOEFL score, and letters of recommendations etc. A well-written SOP has the potential to cover-up the weak points of an applicant, such as, low GPA or GRE scores, low IELTS/TOEFL score, lack of relevant research work and work experience etc. A poorly written SOP may put a candidate’s chance of selection in jeopardy despite a brilliant profile. An SOP should be well thought-out and well written to improve your chances of selection. Inability to write a good SOP means that you have not put in enough effort in school selection, you would need to go back and re-evaluate your interests, reconsider your background and your perceived potential.
How to write an impressive SOP?
Writing an SOP is extremely simple and we recommend that you write it yourself and then get someone else to proof read it for you. To write an effective SOP you need to answer the following questions.
Ask yourself these questions and then draft a response, which expresses important points in a logical and coherent manner. If you are unable to answer most these questions you need to re-evaluate your selection.
Pay special attention to the opening paragraph and the opening statement of each paragraph. They should be compelling enough to capture the attention of the reader(s). Remember that a dull or an ordinary opening paragraph may seriously lower the worth of your SOP and your seriousness to apply.
Your SOP should be grammatically correct with proper spellings, punctuations and capitalizations. Use correct English and avoid using words that are not completely known to you. Use short and simple sentences instead of complicated ones and try to avoid flashy language. Impress the readers by the content of your SOP and not by unnecessary complex vocabulary. Your SOP should be coherent and concise i.e. the ideas should be organized in a logical order and there should be a smooth transition between ideas – in the form of paragraphs. The SOP should be devoid of any ambiguity and it should give its reader a clear picture of the candidate and what message he/she is intending to convey.
General Tips for writing a good SOP