GRE Preparation Tips

All about writing the statement of Purpose – SOP stuff

Well many of us have heard from our seniors that the SOP is one the most important aspects of Grad school application, well I am here to bust a certain myth and also clarify the views of the seniors. When it comes to writing the statement of purpose, the most important thing that should be in there is “how you stand out from the crowd”.

Writing a few quotes and life stories like, “How fascinated I was with computers at an early age” or the more common, “seeing a robot at the science fair, I decided robotics was my field” will not help you STAND OUT and get that prestigious seat at MIT. The graduate admissions committee knows that at the age of 6-7 nobody, especially not Indian kids dream about carrying out Research at Berkeley or Stanford. Still one cannot rule out the importance of writing the statement of purpose. So exactly what should be on the sop? Should I copy the SOP from my seniors who are admitted and edit the details? Well the answer to the latter one is a Strict No-No.

We, at HigherEduBlog would like to advise you that you should just refer to the sample SOPs for the format and style of writing references. Further, I would even advise that you should not read the same sop of a senior twice, the reason being simple. The more you remember from your senior’s SOP the less original yours will be. Trust me folks, these guys in the Grad admission committee review hundreds of SOPs every year and chances are high that an imitative SOP will make a negative impact.

So, how does SOP affect your admission chances and how to make the most out of it?

  • Be original: Make sure the purpose is truly yours and not your senior’s.
  • Be realistic : Don’t write that “fascinated since childhood story”
  • Give it all: It’s the only medium through which you can communicate with the admission council. Explain that backlog which came due to unavoidable circumstances. Explain that idea behind the final year project. Explain why you did this thing and why you failed at that thing.
  • Stand out from those other hundreds of applicants: Explain how the university curriculum suits your career interests.

What should be the flow of thoughts in my SOP?

  • Explain the significance of your field in the world. This should be a very small introductory paragraph and explain the grad committee how you view your field of study as making a change in the world.
  • Explain how your Undergrad education and experience made you deterministic about further education. Explain what your undergrad background has given you that will benefit you if you get into this university.
  • What motivated you to be what you are today and what you aspire to be tomorrow after coming out from the grad school.
  • Time to materialize your bragging :P … Next, you should mention about your projects and internships. How are these related to your career goals, how the experience has helped you and what you learned?
  • Your position in class/university and some achievements that you think can save your otherwise average application.
  • Social work if any.
  • Next you should write about your extracurricular and co-curricular activities. How these helped you develop yourself and identify the skills that you feel will help you in your career.
  • Catching their attention, this penultimate paragraph must clear your purpose, your research in finding this particular course and why you are so eager to get in. Tell about that prof’s research or this research group’s activities.
  • Conclusion. Express your modesty and be soft. Express gratitude and ask humbly if they would consider you for a scholarship.

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