One might agree that the first impression might not be the last, but it can create a lasting impression. The opportunity of making the first impression a lasting one, while applying for any grad school is provided in the statement of purpose.
The scores obtained, the achievements, and the experiences gained, cannot speak about the personality of the applicant, nor can they convey the belief, which prompted one to apply to the institute.
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The statement of purpose is the only means to justify one’s candidature, communicate one’s aspirations, and answer all the relevant questions (why’s and how’s). Therefore, a well-written statement of purpose is a vital instrument to gain admission to that dream institute.
Despite being such a vital part of the admission procedure, most applicants fail to click the right notes. Many consider a statement of purpose, an essay about self, while others mistake it to be a lengthy cover letter accompanying the admission forms.
In both cases, these statements of purpose fail to make the reader want to read more than a few lines, let alone impress the committee. Merely repeating the data provided in the admission forms and fervently pleading for admission will tire the reader.
For the others who have understood the importance of a kind statement of purpose, there can still be room for improvement. Remember, the person has to read hundreds, if not thousands of accounts of the mission. Thus, making your statement of purpose stand out from the rest is the goal.
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Here are the top ten tips for writing a statement of purpose that will stand out from the rest.
Table of Contents
1. Clear Your Desk and Your Head
Before you start writing (or typing), that all-important statement of purpose, take some time to brainstorm. Think about anything and everything related to the discipline and the institute you are applying to. Try to figure out all the questions that might be asked concerning your admission to that particular institute.
Evaluate your academic, professional, or extracurricular achievements and how they will help you achieve your career goals. Make a list of all the questions and try to answer each of them individually. Don’t be in haste, take your time to think and rethink. Jot down your answers and clear your desk of all the excess stationery.
It will set your perspective in the right direction.
2. Research and Fuel Your Aspirations
The admission brochure is a great way to start your quest to know more about your dream institute if you have still not searched the internet.
Knowing about the institute, finding the specific areas which are invaluable to your career goals, and mentioning them in your statement of purpose will not only impress the reader but will also highlight your belief in the institute.
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A physical visit or a detailed discussion with a senior can work wonders.
3. Back to the Desk
While writing comes naturally to some students, many students struggle to express themselves. Whatever the scenario may be, making a rough draft is a must. While writing the first draft, one must ensure that all the information that one needs to convey is there on the paper.
Pull the list that you used during the brainstorming session. A well-written statement of purpose in more than a kitchen list of achievements it is a story that arrests the attention of the reader and convinces about the candidature. Rewrite it till you perfect the story.
4. While on the Desk
Ensuring that the statement of purpose packs a punch in the first few lines, is vital. It will ensure that the reader does not pass it on as another generic statement of purpose.
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The introduction must have a touch of individualism, and it has to arrest the attention of the reader. While refraining from the use of generic statements is a must, one has to ensure that one does not go overboard to impress.
Example a: I take this opportunity to apply for the ‘XYZ’ course at your reputed institution, as I am good at ‘XYZ’ and have a commendable score.
Example b: While in Middle School, I looked forward to attending the ‘XYZ’ classes. Numbers always fascinated me, and I am good with them. I want to excel, and your institute can help me achieve it.
5. Maintain a Steady Tone
While being professional in tone might make the SOP bland, being over-friendly might make it trivial. Strike a balance and avoid frivolity. Stick to the sound throughout the SOP.
6. Take Them for a Ride
After setting the tone and objective of your statement of purpose, it’s time to relate achievements and experiences with the discipline. Remember, it’s just not about stating your grades and scores; it’s about emphasizing that you are competent and that you can excel with the help of the institute.
With some pit stops at the critical areas of the past experiences, go full throttle into the future and the role that the institute will play in furthering your designs.
7. While Still on the Desk
Adding specifics while highlighting how the institute is vital in achieving your career goals, can work magic. Try to identify them and state them in the SOP. It can be a facility or a faculty member.
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8. While Typing It
Make sure you follow the word count. Do not overshoot it. Make sure you use the accepted fonts and font sizes.
9. Use the Right Words and Grammar
Avoid using jargon and slang. Ensure that you use the correct technical terms related to your discipline. Check for grammatical errors. Refer to the dictionary when in doubt.
Revise, proofread, and edit the manuscript before mailing it or taking a print out. Look for typing errors, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors.
A robust and well-written SOP is more than just an essay about you. It’s your story conveying your beliefs about how the institute fits in to fulfil your career goals.