Whether you are applying for a programme abroad or are seeking admission to an undergraduate course in some Indian institutions, a Statement of Purpose (SOP) is one the most important of all documents, apart from your academic transcripts and identification documents. Most universities ask for an SOP to gauge students’ ability and willingness to pursue a particular programme. Like a cover letter helps a recruiter get an idea of how clear a candidate is about applying for the job, SOP gives the admission committee insight into the strengths, weaknesses and goals of an applicant. In this blog, let us understand how to write an effective Statement of Purpose to maximize your chances of securing an admission.
Structure of a Statement of Purpose (SOP)
While it is important to present your ideas clearly when you write, the structure of an SOP plays a crucial role in accomplishing that, especially when you have to adhere to a given word limit. Now let us have a look at the structure of an SOP.
While writing the introduction, keep in mind that this is not your self-introduction but the introduction of your academic field of interest or in some cases based on the question asked. The key to writing an effective introduction is to keep it short and to the point. Mention clearly why a particular field of study interests you and what do you aspire to do in this domain. Ensure that the language is clear and the message is coherent.
This part of your SOP should reflect all your qualifications and achievements. List all your academic information about your college or high school in detail but ensure that you are not burdening it with unnecessary details. Since an SOP is for higher education, it is advisable to avoid writing about your primary and secondary education. Apart from academics, mention your participation in co-curricular and extracurricular activities. If you have some professional experience, this is the place to write that about. Industry experience is important while applying for courses like MS and MBA.
Why This Course
Now that you have established your interest in the course and background, the next step is to elaborate on what you are planning to achieve through this course and by the completion of it, what skills you’d have acquired. Note that the purpose is not to share how excellent the course is but how much you already know about it.
Right after you finish writing about why you want to pursue this course, the next step is to talk about the career goals you want to pursue once you complete the course. It should not be a bunch of abstract ideas but more specific and detailed information. When you are applying for admission to a university abroad, never mention that you are staying there for a long period of time. To maximize your chances of getting admission, mention how you will contribute to your own community in your home country once you complete the programme.
Why This University
Talk about the specific features of the university that got you interested in pursuing a course there. Stating the facts, mention how studying at the university can help you realize your career goals. Be very specific and mention how will add value to the programme there.
Finally, sum up what all you have written in your SOP and conclude it without mentioning that you need financial support. It should prominently mention the important points you’ve talked about and should clearly demonstrate your determination to pursue the course at the university.
Tips to Write an Effective SOP
Once you have a structure in mind, it becomes easy to arrange details coherently and filter out unnecessary sentences but it is imperative to do some research on the university that you are applying for. Some universities have a set word limit for SOPs and in that case, it is essential to prioritize the details you want to put in first. Let us now have a look at other things to keep in mind while writing an SOP.
Tell a Story
Frame a narrative and write it in a concise manner so that it is interesting and relevant at the same time. Stories intrigue people and the main purpose of your SOP is to give the admission committee insight into your abilities and what better way is there to do this than to share a story about yourself. Know that the story has to be in support of your academic pursuits and not a random anecdote from your life.
Back up Your Stories
Stories make your SOP engaging, but it is irrelevant to the admissions committee if it doesn’t have a measurable quantity. To add value to your story, make sure that you back it up with measurable by putting in numbers like your performance index, academic score, grades, years of experience etc.
Customize Your SOP
Students often create a template SOP and use that for different universities which in many cases becomes the reason for the applications being rejected. To maximize your chances of getting admission, it is advised to research the university and customize your SOP accordingly.
Set a Tone
Since it is an academic document, the language needs to be kept formal but following a conversational tone can add to its charm. The usage of words has to be kept in check. Avoid using words that suggest gender, racial, religious or other biases. Appropriate usage of words is key to writing an effective SOP.
Run a Final Check
Before submitting your SOP, take help from your teachers or friends to ensure that it reads well and doesn’t lack any necessary details. Once you do so, run a final check for typos and grammatical errors.
By now you have familiarized yourself with writing an effective Statement of Purpose. Since the universities abroad receive a huge number of applicants, they tend to filter out the best candidates to offer admissions. Following the same international standard of education, Indian School of Business and Finance offers programmes in Economics, Finance and Management on the academic directions from London School of Economics. On completion of the degree, students receive a degree certificate from University of London. To know more about the programmes, visit our programme page.