How to write a good SoP?

“The Statement of Purpose (SoP) required by [grad] schools is probably the hardest thing you will ever write”, says Vince Gotera who teaches English Language and Literature at University of Northern Iowa.

Now, why is a document so with such clear instructions such a difficult process and scares people so much? The purpose of the document is to tell the person on the other side everything that is relevant. The challenge is, you got to do the tom-tomming without appearing boring, hackneyed or the worst of all, pedantic.

  1. Do not state the obvious: The people who will be reading your Statement of Purpose already know what you applied for. So, wasting precious space on it will not achieve anything. Following precise instructions will work for you.
  1. Tell your story: Though you might be advised against it, doing it is a good idea; provided you can spin a captivating enough tale. Your aim is to hook the reader, to captivate them into buying your premise.
  2. Have a solid structure: Keep your sentences short. Keep you paragraphs reader friendly. Avoid jargons or over complicated words. Remember, it is better to come off as a simpleton rather than a ‘smartass’ (or let’s say, pompous ass?).
  3. Do not be your own cheerleader: Your Statement of purpose is not your biography. You don’t have to toot your own horn in front of the evaluators.
  4. Do list your credentials: This is probably the best way to show yourself off. Accomplishments are better than the make believe qualities that you pulled out of the thousand ones you read.
  5. Show interest in the school: While they know that theirs is a good school but they want to know your perspective. An honest one! It isn’t enough to fill out the form. You have to make a compelling argument about it. You have to sell to them the degree of your seriousness towards the course and the school.
  6. Write multiple drafts: Write your statement of purpose multiple times and revise them as you make it cleaner and crisper over time. Redo, undo and rewrite as many times as you want.
  7. Proofread: This is a very essential step. Mistakes, grammatical or other wise can hamper your image. A proofed document is an easier way to make sure that you come across as sincere, hardworking and precise. That is an asset you do not want to give up on.
  8. Revise: Just go through it one more time.
  9. Outside opinion: An outside opinion, can work wonders and add extra perspective to your now well-written piece.

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