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“How to write an effective Statement of Purpose?”
The importance of a Statement of Purpose (SOP) cannot be denied. A University tries to ascertain a student’s academic and career goals, his/her maturity level, extra-curricular activities, etc. through the SOP. A thoughtful and well-written SOP often makes the difference between admission and denial. A Statement helps the Admission Committees to distinguish between otherwise very similar applicants. An SOP becomes all the more important when it comes to graduate students. A graduate student must possess the ability to think clearly. His/her SOP must reflect that quality.
Some of the salient points that a student has to remember while writing an SOP are as follows:
Length: The SOP must not be too long. Ideally it should not be more than 2.5 pages. A 2-page SOP in 11-12 size font, single spaced suits perfect.
Turning point: Is there a turning point or moment in his/her career when the student decided that s/he wants to pursue the particular course? It is advisable to begin the SOP with that “Eureka” moment.
Purpose: The “P” in SOP stands for “purpose”. A good SOP must demonstrate that the student knows his/her academic purpose in life. S/he should be able to answer why s/he is applying to the course.
Motivation: The student should mention the reason that prompted him/her to apply for the particular course.
Subject matter: The student should be able to display his/her understanding of the subject matter that s/he is interested to pursue.
Past experience: The student should write a paragraph or two about his/her past study experience. He must include what s/he did in his previous academic years. Details of any research publication can be included here.
Research: Be prepared to do some research on the particular university. It is always better to gather some university specific information such as the student life, campus recreation, the university history, etc. It is also advisable to know about the Department as well, to which you are applying. The candidate should know the professors’ area of interest, research trends in the particular department, publications, departmental activities, etc. The Admission Committee always prefers a tailor made SOP.
Aim: A good SOP should contain the student’s aim and what s/he plans to accomplish during his/her stay at the university.
Layout: The layout of the SOP should be neat. The entire text should be justified, proofread and any spelling/grammar errors removed before sending the SOP.
The student’s name and the intended course of study should appear at the top right corner of the SOP. Don’t use highly technical language or colloquial terms. The SOP should also focus on the student’s strengths. Keeping in mind the aforementioned points would ensure a strong SOP – instrumental in securing the coveted Offer of Place from your dream university.