How to Write a Killer SOP – Part 1

Yashwant Kale Career Guidance, General Leave a Comment

One most intimidating thing in the application process for students planning to study abroad is this thing called – “SOP”. Many students hear many rumors and theories about this SOP. In this guide we present to you a clear and unbiased view of what is an SOP and its relevance to your application package and its impact on your chances of admission.

Firstly, let us know what is meant by an SOP

SOP is the abbreviation for the Statement of Purpose. Some universities call it by other names too such as “letter of intent” or “application essay”. It is truly and essentially one of the most important components of your application process. It is simply an essay you write about yourself stating your life’s story. Story here doesn’t mean that you write all the vague generic stuff of your life. You are supposed to write about your strengths, passion, experience and motivation and future goals relevant to your supposed specialization / degree that you wish to pursue for your masters. You might now get this doubt – if it so that I am supposed to write about my relevance to the applied course, what if I am applying to two or more courses / specializations at different universities? The answer to this most common question / doubt is you need to tailor your SOP according to the university / course that you are applying to. For example, if you are applying to Industrial engineering as well as automobile engineering courses offered by the same university, then you are supposed to write different SOPs to each of these courses. I hope some of your doubts are now clarified.

Moving on, in general this document (SOP) provides the admissions committee with information that allows them to become more acquainted with who you are; what you want to study at graduate school and why; experiences you have in the field; and what you plan on doing with the degree once you have mastered it. A statement of Purpose also serves as a writing sample and interview as the universities cannot conduct physical interviews to everyone applying to them. I suppose now you have got the gist of the importance of the SOP.

So, we bet you might have started contemplating what to write and how to write your SOP. Here we present to you some tips to keep in mind while drafting your SOP. This article will be followed by another article on this topic. So stay tuned.

Tips on Writing a Killer Statement of Purpose

1. Be yourself – Be mindful that you are seeking a course that you feel is perfect or at least suitable for you. Do not disguise who you are or second-guess what the committee is looking for!

2. Strong Opening – You must strive to dazzle the admissions committee by trying to stand out from the multitude of other applicants. Write an opening that grabs the reader’s attention. This increases your chances of admission.

3. Highlight – Frame the points you wish to make in a positive light because you do not want to reveal weaknesses in your personality.

4. Experience – Describe an important experience that is relevant to the program of interest. It is usually good to place this portion of the essay somewhere near the opening sections / paras. This experience may have contributed to the person that you are today. By making a reference to it in your writing you are telling the committee that you have requisite knowledge and experience in that field.

5. Important – Be Specific, Concise, Honest and Unique. Always keep in mind these points when drafting the SOP at all times.

6. Your Skills & USP – Describe why you are a good match for this program. Tell the committee about your skills, interest and passion in that particular field. Be specific and thoughtful.

7. Goals – Talk about your goals. Explain how a graduate degree will help you accomplish those goals. This is another decision deciding point.

8. For the underestimated – some students might have faltered in a couple of subjects in their UG. This doesn’t mean that the admissions committee will not review your application at all. Just explain the shortcomings in your background and the reason for it for example if you had a poor GPA during your freshman year in college, also put a positive spin to this explanation and illuminate how your GPA has improved and the steps you have taken to cope up. This will surely impress them.

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