The Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose is the most important part of your University application that

will tell the admissions committee who you are, what has influenced your career path so far, your professional interests and where you plan to go from here.

Often, SoP is used as a yardstick to assess the capabilities of a prospective student in terms of critical thinking, analytical abilities, interests, aims and aspirations. It is a good way for an applicant to communicate with the admissions committee. Most admissions committees look for a short, crisp and clear SoP. It is also known as Graduate School Essay. Other universities sometimes call it a Letter of Intent, Letter of Intention, Statement of Intent, Statement of Intention, Statement of Interest, Goals Statement, Personal Statement, Personal Narrative or Application Essay. The name can be just a name but often it influences content and length of the essay. Every university has its own regulations but most of the time it will be 1 2 pages.

It shouldnt be a bald statement of facts, but it must be well written to be successful. The SoP is the only part of your application packet over which you have full control. For your academic and extra-curricular records you have already presented your GMAT, GRE or TOEFL scores and recommendation letters. The SoP is your chance to talk directly to the admissions committee, to make yourself stand out from among a multitude of similarly qualified candidates, to convince the committee that you have the spark, the thirst for knowledge that could add value to your application.

Usually the SoP or essay is put off till the last possible moment. It scares us when we look at those oh-so-perfect essay examples in the admissions guidebooks and wonder how we can ever write so well. Finally we write something, because times pressing and we have to meet the application deadline. If you do it this way, you are practically throwing away your chances of admission. If you plan correctly, you can give yourself enough time to submit a well-written, thoughtful, polished essay that will boost your chances for admission. Equally important, this is a great opportunity to look inside yourself and be rewarded by a better understanding of who you are.

The primary question admissions committee members ask themselves when they read a Statement of Purpose is: What does this essay tell me about the person who wrote it? Put yourself in an admission officers shoes. From among thousands of applications, you have to choose the fraction of interesting, confident and enthusiastic students that will comprise next years incoming class.

1. Create an outline.

In order to convince an admissions committee to accept you, you must be convinced yourself. You must be sure of what you want, why you want it, and why that particular program can help you.

Why should the school select you over someone else? You must be able to answer that question for yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

Before beginning to write, think. Review your intellectual and personal development over your academic career. When you can clearly articulate the history that led you to decide to apply to a particular program, you are ready to begin writing.

2. Write the introduction and thesis statement. This is the one sentence that introduces the central idea of the paper. It must be specific. This statement should sum up the basic meaning of the essay, and signal to the reader what to expect.

3. Create a strong opening paragraph of five sentences or less. Briefly explain who you are, where youre from, why you have chosen the particular field to which youre applying, and why the university is among your first choices.

4. The body of the paper. Each paragraph should deal with a single central idea. This idea should be introduced early in a topic sentence, telling the reader what to expect in the paragraph.

a) Explain your background. Show that you are academically prepared for your chosen program. Include the following:

Where and what youve studied.

Past research or diploma projects youve participated in.

If applying to a program in a different field of study, explain how the skills you learned in earning your degree can be applied to the new field.

b)Describe your professional goals.

Why you find your particular field of study interesting. What influenced you to choose that field?

Include any related experience or research youve had or been involved in to date.

c) Describe your future plans after receiving your degree. Will you be continuing in your education, or will you be working in your field?

d) Explain your reasoning.

Describe what and why you have chosen to study.

Where your specific interests lie in your field.

Why this program is needed for your professional development, and how great is the need.

Describe what led you to your choice of universitycourses, faculty, research projects, facilities, etc.

5. Write your conclusion. Sum up the main points, and describe what you can contribute to the program.


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