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Statement of Purpose Guidelines

Updated: Mar 26

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 the profile of a student.

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 safety of the payment method, 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 just 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 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

1. Think About Your Role Model or Inspiration, Incident, or Topic:

The most critical factor in starting the process of SOP 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.

5. Proofreading

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:

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 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 try to 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 from all 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

  1. 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?

  2. Experiences through school/college with this subject or related subjects. How did you score in these subjects? Any particular likes, preferences, etcetera.

  3. What are your projects for undergraduate? (Please mention the title of the project, the objectives, where was it carried out, and the year).

  4. 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).

  5. Any technical/in-plant training or industrial visits? Did you attend any workshops? (Please provide the details.)

  6. Any particular accomplishments in other related fields?

  7. Extracurricular activities - Sports, music, cinema, community service? Any awards? Involvement in organizing any college event/function/conference etc.?

  8. 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?

  1. Why do you think this degree will help you to achieve your goals?

  2. 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.

Sample Statement of Purpose

I strongly feel that Information Technology has limitless possibilities and instant outcomes that solve real-world problems. That drives curiosity, keeps me inquisitive, and gives fuel to my passion. Data had always excited me, years ago, when I started my professional career, RDBMS widely used for data handling. Now data is getting sudden transformation through Data Science. Especially the concept of predictive modeling, with the expanding horizon of computing and mathematics, enthrall me. Moreover, day by day, its scope is growing. It has its application in weather forecasting, climate change, social computing, behavioral economics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, among others.

In childhood, I was enthusiastic about pursuing logical subjects such as Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Programming. In the pursuit of learning. I crossed some valuable milestones, such as obtaining the highest marks, in my state in Mathematics Olympiad conducted for secondary school students.

I completed my undergraduate in Information Technology from the xxxxx which ranks among the top ten technical colleges in India. During four years of engineering, I was very fascinated by the diversity of subjects such as Data Structures, Operating Systems, Database Management systems, Data Communication, and web technologies. These subjects have been helping me to visualize the practical business challenges in detail. In my sixth semester, I have secured the third position at the national level inter-college IT quiz competition. In 2017, I got the opportunity to join a full-time six months graduate certificate course at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai to learn Big Data Analytics where I stood first in the batch. Here, I learned Statistics, Predictive Modeling, Hadoop, Spark, and other essential data analytics technologies.

After my undergraduate program, I joined xxxxxx. I cleared the Java certification exam conducted by the company and went on to work for a global PC manufacturing company. I worked in the core team responsible for developing the business logic of the warehousing and global supply chain. Throughout my xxxxx Pvt. Ltd, I have achieved the highest rankings.

At the professional front, I was working for a leading footwear manufacturer as a client. The technologies on which I worked over there were C++, Java, SQL, PL/SQL, and Python. The code development was mainly related to warehousing management in which there were various submodules such as carton management, inbound – outbound management, and shipment management. Here I got the highest quality exposure to the intricacies of supply chain management.

I joined the start-up Dataloop as an expert in application development. I developed an end-to-end hospital management application for a leading chain of hospitals. Among others, it also included financial management, HR management, and stock management. Here I also worked on the digital advertisement and got deeper insights as to how we can use analytics to reach the right audience.

After learning the anatomy of various management techniques, its applications, and intricacies, I had several big ideas in mind where I could use my learnings for business development. Consequently, I started exploring ways to improve my traditional family business in the field of transportation, agriculture commodities trade, and real estate, which were highly unorganized and had a bleak financial situation. I applied data-driven decision practices, in a significant modification from register entries to spreadsheets to collect and analyze data. Consequently, for the first time, I got to know the importance of data, transforming the defunct family business into a profit-making business. Successfully handling was probably the most enriching experience and also understood the importance of collaborations among different stakeholders.

Once the business was established and streamlined, I co-founded an institute to help higher secondary school students, especially underprivileged ones, prepare for admission to a hugely competitive entrance test for the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and National Institute of Technology (NITs). I taught mathematics to them and also leveraged the use of technology and prepared online testing platforms and automated analysis for targeting specific weaknesses of individual students.

After that, realizing the potential of analytics in my business, I moved to a start-up xxxxxxxxx.

There I learned the power of math and computing in helping businesses. I worked for the analytical solution for different vendors based on their datasets. I took extensive use of spreadsheets, Tableau, SQL, and Python to provide solutions to their business problems.

Now, after having acquired the necessary aptitude skills, knowledge and work experience in the field of data analytics, I feel this is the best time to pursue my graduate study in the field of my interest. Going through the contents of the website, I am very excited that this program is fantastically blended to suit me. I firmly believe that my aptitude and aspirations find a terrific match in your program.

Finally, I would like to state that my goal is to pursue the graduate program where my various technical and professional experiences find a perfect blend of the course offering. After completing my graduate program, I plan to pursue an M.S. program in Data Science. This esteemed university would give the right platform to deepen the understanding of the subjects and receive the right international exposure and, in the process, helps in broadening the horizons of my knowledge.

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