Last Updated: July 11, 2021
Statement of Purpose/Essay
The Statement of Purpose is an essay that has to be written and submitted by candidates applying to universities. The essay should speak about the major achievements in the candidate’s life which can include their academic achievements along with their aspirations and goals in life. The statement of purpose should speak about the candidate on a personal level, in a way that clearly amplifies the person they are more than what their mark sheets can do.
Candidates who are applying to high-end colleges and even candidates who have lower scores in a specific criterion, usually bank on their statement of purpose in order to receive admission. It is the SOP that lets the student stand out from other people with similar scores and hence is not a document that can be copied off the internet. While the SOP has a specific format that is generally preferred by institutions, the writing of the same is left to candidates where they can choose methods that amplify their qualifications.
Writing a Statement of Purpose
The Statement of Purpose plays a major role in college admissions. This is the only space where candidates can express their goals and achievements impressively to the admission committee and faculty members of their field of interest. Candidates who are planning to write an SOP should start by researching the kind of SOP’s that are required for their field of interest. But at the same time, researching on the subject should not make them plagiarize the content since the subjective element of an SOP is what makes it crucial in the admission process.
Having impressive scores does not provide candidates with leeway in submitting a mediocre SOP. On the other hand, candidates who have high grades will be facing a lot of competition in the admission process thereby requiring them to submit better SOPs to stand out from the crowd and get into the institution they want.
Length of a Statement of Purpose
The length of the SOP is dependent upon the college the candidate is applying to. The expected length of an SOP can range anywhere between 200 words to 1,200 words and has to always remain within the limits specified by the institution. Exceeding the word limit, even if for relevant content, can lead to being rejected on the basis of not following instructions.
Content for a Statement of Purpose
The content for the SOP can be personalized and tailor-made for the candidate. But at the same time, there is a certain format that is followed by candidates in writing the perfect SOP that cannot be rejected. This will have-
- Introduction- an introduction stating the overall content of the essay, each point within a line or two making the admission officers decide whether they should read on. In short, it should contain the academic and extracurricular achievements of the candidate summarized, the reason they have chosen the college, and their career plans.
- Body Paragraphs- the body paragraphs can range from 2 to 4 paragraphs depending on the length of the essay and must contain detailed information regarding the candidate’s academic experience and research experience, along with other relevant information that can highlight the caliber of the candidate. This should also include the reasons for choosing the college and their future plans.
- Conclusion- the conclusion should be powerful in nature and should exemplify the reason why the candidate is perfect for the admission and why the admission officers should choose them over the others. This paragraph should sum up the previous paragraphs without going too much into detail.
Tips for Writing a Statement of Purpose
- Gather Information- Get complete information about the major the candidate is applying to along with the details of the university they are focusing on. The specifications required for essays are different for different universities. It is advisable to format it differently for different universities than submitting a generic essay for all the universities one is applying to.
- Check Information of Department and Courses- Be on the lookout for information relating to the department the candidate wants to apply to along with the faculties in the department. The specializations of the faculties will be crucial for students if they are especially applying for post-graduate or PhD programs. The courses offered will also provide an insight into the majors the department offers and if the subjects the candidate wants to study are involved in their syllabus. Adding information relating to the department and the courses they provide will boost one SOP since it shows that the candidate has done their research regarding the institution.
- Shaping SOP for the Course- The interests that the candidate mentions in the SOP should correspond to ambitions related to the course. For instance, a candidate who is interested in Machine Learning and AI, must not speak about it in their application form for Electrical Engineering unless they can specify how studying this particular course and make them achieve their goal. Taking a course for the sake of taking it is not an appreciable reason during the admission process.
- Emphasize the Candidate’s Ability- Emphasize the candidate’s ability and potential for:
- Explain Previous Work Experiences- While resumes, and other certificates that are submitted will only speak quantitatively to the admission officers, the candidate will have the opportunity to be verbose about the experiences they have gained during their research or work experience. The work experiences will provide admission officers with a detailed review of the kind of work the candidate is used to and whether the department focuses on similar works that will help the student with their goals. But do not focus solely on the research topic unless this is the standard practice of the chosen field of study and has to be outlined in the thesis.
- Keep Writing Free from Inaccuracies - The language used in the SOP counts a lot towards being accepted by the admission officers. It is imperative that the candidate uses proper grammar and vocabulary in the SOP for communicating their thoughts. Using heavy vocabulary is not recommended for the same but at the same time, it is important that candidates write in a manner that is lucid.
Pointers to Note
While writing different SOPs for institutions, candidates must ensure that they answer all of these questions before they submit them. While additional information is always good, it is important that candidates answer the most basic questions that are expected from an SOP as well as stick within the word limit specified. Brevity is one of the best tools to use while writing an SOP.
- Does the first paragraph covey all of the main points?
- Does the conclusion of the essay draw naturally from the paragraphs included?
- Does any quality, or skill mentioned in the SOP distinguish the candidate from other applicants? Why should the College offer them admission?
- Is the SOP specific in nature. Do not include information that is generalized or is of an ambiguous nature.
- Could anyone else have written this essay?
- Is the introduction personal in nature? Can it be construed as general or something that anybody could write?
- What about the essay makes it memorable?
- Remember that successful professionals are extremely good at convincing others to
invest resources in them.
Samples for SOPs