Updated: Apr 24
Statement of Purpose is also known as SOP, Personal Statement, Letter of Intent, Motivation Letter, Graduate School Essay, Application Essay, is written by an applicant or prospective student to influence the university admission committee for the selection process. On paper, most applicants appear similar. All are well-qualified academics with high grades and test scores and substantial involvement in extracurricular activities.
Universities receive on average total applicant (Stanford University) - 45,000+ numbers, the admits - 2000+ and final enrolment - 1,700 students. Out of 1,700 class size - 10% receives scholarships, teaching assistance, and research assistantships for Spring/Fall intake. Each application packet – online or offline comprises of Passport xerox, Xth, XIIth, UG semester wise mark sheet xerox, transcript, GRE, GMAT, SAT, IELTS, TOEFL, PTE score as per the university admission requirements, work experience letter, an Internship letter, Research papers synopsis, extracurricular activities certificates, Personal statement letter, letter of recommendation of academics, guide, manager (if any work experience) and Resume. The university practices a holistic admission approach to background and life experiences; on the other hand, school and academic achievement mix with character, intellectual contributions/vitality, ideas, and interests. Out of all these documents, Personal Statement is the only document where an applicant can summarize his entire life autobiography to impress/convince the admission committee. Further to this, if an applicant is eligible for scholarships, the Head of the Department studies a student's profile.
They study the student's profile, personal statement, Letter of Recommendation, Resume, Research papers, extracurricular activities, TOEFL/IELTS score, and the entire application packet material. In addition to the above, they might evaluate social media profiles like - LinkedIn, Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, Scribd, Quora, Medium to understand the holistic profile of an individual. Are you ready? How best do you explain yourself? What extra have you achieved than others? Type your full name in the google search bar and see how many pages you get. Have you ever tried this? Do it now? It is the same as if we buy any product or service online. We calculate the reviews, opinions, acquaintances, authenticity, Identity, the payment method's safety, return and refund policy, shipping, quality ratings, and many more. Another instance from real life is that when we buy our house for living or investment purposes, the kind of research and evaluation we come across is unimaginable to purchase one house. Later we have the option to sell if we do not adjust because of some reason. Try to revolve around the equation of EQ (Emotional Quotient) + IQ (Intelligence Quotient) = UQ (Unique Quotient) to craft the best essay. The latest addition is Wellness Quotient (WQ).
Imagine the admissions officer select which of these well-deserving applications to finalize. How he or she will make the decision? Often, it's the essay. The essay is the one chance for an applicant to share a piece of yourself that is not encapsulated in the application's dry numbers and scores. It is an opportunity to demonstrate why an applicant is a perfect fit at the college, how he would contribute to the student body, and why the college should accept over others. The essay is also one part of the application that you have complete control over. An applicant can write it the night before the deadline or spend a little time on the essay and set it apart from the competition. The truth is that you don't have to be a great writer to create a winning Graduate School essay. Nor do you need to have to get through a life-changing event or won a Nobel Prize.
Five Points to Consider While Writing Statement of Purpose
- Think About Your Role Model or Inspiration, Incident, or Topic.
- Make a list on Paper and Express everything.
- Explain about Yourself.
- Explore the university, course, and professors.
1. Think About Your Role Model or Inspiration, Incident, or Topic:
The most critical factor in starting the SOP process is thinking about the role model or inspiration/topic to elaborate on. These must-have academic goals and achievements.
2. Make a list on Paper and Express everything.
Brainstorm Uniqueness. Take a pen and paper, express everything related to your role model, inspiration, or topic. Don't worry about the grammatical errors, high-frequency vocabulary words, sentence structure, formation.
3. Explain about Yourself
The next important point is to explain about yourself, the academic achievements, family, incidents, have you come across any challenges in life and how did you overcome them, learnings, certifications, research papers, internships, workshops attended, paper presentation, poster presentation, national/international publications, etc. The explanation about yourself must be specific towards self. Mention the short-term goals, mission, vision, objectives long - term goals.
4. Explore the university, course, and professors.
While writing the SOP, research thoroughly about the university, course, professors, ongoing research and explain your interest areas, why this university. Always keep in mind the audience, the admission committee. They consider the TOEFL/IELTS score to judge if the SOP is written by someone else. Sometimes, social profiles are taken into consideration to evaluate student eligibility in a particular university.
Once the SOP is complete, read it aloud to yourself and make corrections. Proofread the spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting, use of affirmative sentences, concise examples, strong opening and closing paragraph, the word count of 800 - 1000 words, plagiarism check, use of font size - 10, Verdana, Arial, or times new roman and express thanks to the admission committee for the excellent opportunity. Revise, edit, redraft, re-write. Proofread the Statement of Purpose the next day and finalize it.
15 Points to Avoid while Writing Statement of Purpose:
- Weak Introduction and conclusion.
- Explain too many failures in academics and personal life.
- Admire excessive self, university, professor.
- Exceed word limit.
- Don't use negative sentences.
- Do not try to become someone else.
- Not thinking about the admission committee.
- Do not get into confession mode.
- Repeating the same as in the application form.
- Getting too much feedback.
- Showcasing extraordinary
- Forgetting to proofread
- Last night work
- Trying to make too many points.
- Don't Start Late.
1. Weak Introduction and conclusion:
Do not start and end the statement of purpose with a boring introduction and conclusion. Always write a compelling statement, inspirational quotes to create curiosity in the reader.
2. Explain too many failures in academics and personal life.
Do not explain too many failures in academics and personal life that diverts the mind of an admission committee to negativity, leads to rejection of profile.
3. Admire excessive self, university, professor.
Do not brag excessively about the self, family, university, professor. Keep your essay specific to the topic.
4. Exceed word limit.
Do not exceed the word limit if instructions are given in the university application requirements. However, if it is not mentioned, then do not exceed more than two pages.
5. Don't use negative sentences.
Do not use negative sentences if it is not supported by positivity further. The complete essay should be in a positive format.
6. Do not try to become someone else.
Every single day, we come across many people and get inspired to do something in life as he/she is doing. However, it should do while writing the essay or even in real life. Be yourself; be unique. Do not try to copy anyone else and forget about your best qualities.
7. Not thinking about the admission committee.
Consider the admissions committee is shortlisting the best applications out of many. Be straightforward and specific to the subject.
8. Do not get into confession mode.
Do not get so emotional and express everything for your admission to a particular university.
9. Repeating the same as in the application form.
Write the topics which do not include in the application form, that differentiates an applicant from others.
10. Getting too much feedback.
Do not take so much feedback about your SOP/Essay from others. Select mentors and request for the proofread as per their timings and availability.
11. Showcasing extraordinary
Do not showcase extraordinary to the admissions committee as they are assessing more than thousands of applicants in a single day. It may lead the application to be rejected by the university.
12. Forgetting to proofread
Do not forget to proofread your SOP once it is complete to avoid spelling, grammatical errors, and punctuation.
13. Last night work
Do not start the SOP writing one day before the deadlines of the university. Take your time and write essays in parts.
14. Trying to make too many points.
Do not try to make too many points to convince the admissions committee. Be concise and specific.
15. Don't Start Late.
The most important point is to Don’t Start Late, always consider ample time to craft your autobiography, a masterpiece for the world waiting for a long time. In this scenario, the admissions committee and the Department Head.
Statement of Purpose Format
Describe some incident from your past, which was the turning point, and helped you become interested in whatever you are applying for the course? Either in your high school, college, or childhood. Some lab work or a chance encounter with someone or something?
Experiences through school/college with this subject or related subjects. How did you score in these subjects? Any particular likes, preferences, etcetera.
What are your projects for undergraduates? (Please mention the project's title, the objectives, where it was carried out, and the year).
Did you achieve anything remarkable or unique? Were you selected for any national or international level seminar or paper presentation? Or any other college/university level conference or seminar? (Provide details similar to the project).
Any technical/in-plant training or industrial visits? Did you attend any workshops? (Please provide the details.)
Any particular accomplishments in other related fields?
Extracurricular activities - Sports, music, cinema, community service? Any awards? Involvement in organizing any college event/function/conference etc.?
What are your short-term goals? That is, what do you want to do after this study? Long-term goals, i.e., what do you want to do ten years later.
Goals are the most crucial part of a student's application. Precision and clarity are the most important. Please keep in mind the following things:
Short term goals:
After UG/MS/MBA, whether you want to work or continue with your studies? Where do you want to work or research? Name some companies as examples. In which role?
Long term goals:
If you are planning to establish your own company, then in which sector? What sort of products/markets would you be targeting?
Why do you think this degree will help you to achieve your goals?
Why do you want to study at this particular university? Can you name some specific courses/subjects/electives that you are particularly interested in?
Now that you have the clarity of Dos and Don’ts in writing the winning Statement of Purpose. Start spending time to pave a path for your success. Before wrapping up and finalizing, scrutinize the following:
1. The audience as an expert; formality level is formal, Academic Domain, Tone as Confident, and intent as Convince.
2. General metrics - characters, word count, sentences, reading time, and speaking time.
3. Writing Issues - Critical/Advanced - Correctness, Delivery, Clarity, and
4. Plagiarism Sources
5. Unique Words/Rare words.
6. Word Length.
7. Sentence Length.
8. The tone of the SOP.
9. Essay structure.
10. Grammatical errors.
Download the SOP Guide
Download Ivy League Sample SOP
Download Sample LOR
Download Sample Resume