Thursday, January 19, 2012

How Writing a Statement of Purpose?

Recently we had the opportunity of assisting some professionals with their essays and SOPs for applying to some foreign universities. Needless to say, it was a great learning experience.

An SOP does strange things to you. You write a draft at night and sleep over it. Read it the next morning and everything looks absolutely silly. With my own SOP, there was a stark difference between the 2 versions (2006 and 2009), one was a long 600 word essay while the other a very crisp 300 word describing my ambitions. In both cases, my aspirations and goals were same but both looked equally trivial at this time in 2012!

So we closed my versions and wrote the new essays with a fresh mind. We wrote 7 essays in a span of around 10 days for 3 clients and got an above average (3.5-4/5) rating for all of them. Needless to say, we were satisfied and happy with our work. Now, I am no way an expert in this field, but from my experience, I'll just share a few points on writing a decent SOP or essay for any college that you wish to apply for higher studies.

So what exactly is an SOP?

An SOP or Statement of Purpose is the single most important part of your application while applying to any university to pursue one of its courses. It is a document which tells the admissions committee who you are, what has been your career path so far and where do you plan to go from here and why. What you write in an SOP may or may not be only facts. As it is a subjective document, you are free to write stories, share incidents, provide your opinions, or even talk about your idol! The only thing to keep in mind is that all that you write should in the end connect well with your answer to the question that is asked, i.e. it should give a clear picture to the committee about why you want to do this course and why you should be picked over someone else.

You SOP is a story about you. It needs a lot of information and a lot of thought to be fed for a beautiful product to come out. You may have lived an ordinary life till now, but inside your SOP it needs to be presented in a manner which makes you look unique and different. Only when your SOP impresses the admissions panel, will your candidature be considered for the course.

The most important thing people fail to realize is that your SOP is the only part of your application over which you have a complete control. The test scores can be affected by conditions on the test day, your résumé is what you have already done in the past and cannot be modified, but for your SOP, you have the present and enough time - days and weeks to set everything right in the essay. You can draft, redraft, and have it checked with your professors or friends until you get everything precise.