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  • Writer's pictureAsif Jalal

What to write in the SOP: Important tips

The ruthless acceptance rates and sky-high competition for admission in Universities have found students wanting to meet the admission standards. Under such circumstances, SOP is one of the indispensable tools students can employ to crack the admission criteria of their target Universities.

The acronym of SOP is statement of purpose which is a mode of communication or a chance for a student to convey his case to the University. Your prospect to study in overseas is based on the prerequisites which can be objective such as standardized tests (GRE, GMAT or SAT), language tests like IELTS and your academic grades, or the subjective one encompassing documents like SOP or LOR. A statement of purpose packing a punch has helped students leveraging their low academic grades or other provisions at times. A good SOP sends your impression to the assessor building his perception towards your application. You might be eager to express your burning determination, innate strengths, passion, vision, mindset, personal experiences and aspirations to the prospective University, the SOP gives you an opportunity to be one-to-one with the admission faculty. However, there seems a dearth of ideas among students at times while writing an SOP who come to halt merely after the introduction part. The situation usually propels me to extend the support to my students in writing an SOP and here I am letting you know some best tips to consider while you are a drafting a life-changing SOP to get admitted in your dream University.

Be yourself and natural:- The admission officers are wading through the countless statements of purpose and plagiarism has no room. The only effort that would make you stand out is to be 'you' and every word written in the statement should portray it. Every individual is different from others and the manner in which you demonstrate yourself reflects your persona.

Just like a story:- In-fact the stories are more interesting then statements but in the case of SOP, it must a story written in a formal way. Make the reader engrossed maintaining the sequence and formal tune of content. The conversational nature of your essay makes it look natural answering the expected queries of the reader. Put an ingredient of style and creativity in your words to make it look enthralling.

Start well and end beautifully: What starts well ends well must be your belief here. You want to take the attention of the assessor or make him engrossed in your statement, start with a bang of an introduction. The introduction should be the most fascinating part of your essay which may include the brief of your aspirations or factors driving you or authentic past experience, or anything in your surroundings or you came across which is eventually leading you to pursue the future education. The introduction determines the style of your essay and gives an idea of what is coming ahead. Similar to the critical introduction component is the closing statement of an essay which should be impressive and not written explicitly but inferred from the summary of the essay. The closing statement of an essay has a tendency to decide the final take of an assessor on your SOP.

The main body: - I have condensed the essential points forming the main body of an SOP into four questions. Universities differ slightly the way they look at your SOP having the set of questions expecting their satisfactory answers in your written statement and below-mentioned points cover this crucial portion of the SOP.

1- Who are you, your accolades, achievements, anything even little you did in school or College that tells about your leadership qualities or teamwork skills. Student looking to pursue research must demonstrate their research abilities.

2- How can you bring value to the University and fellow students? What are your strengths, your aura or even your weaknesses? Mentioning failures show your qualities of perseverance and rebounding from the rough patches. If you have flanked in a subject and you have passed it a second time with good grades displays your character.

3- Why do you want to pursue the chosen program of study, its career potential, scope back in your home country and how would it help you in your development as a person and professional? Make sure to mention the technical terms here, company names where can apply for jobs, the current industry scenario, government efforts and other facts to support your assertions.

4-Why do you want to choose a particular University and what efforts you have put in researching about it? Read about the University, search its eminent alumni, and most importantly read about its position in the research field.

Extensive research: - They key to write an exemplary and outstanding SOP is read and read. You must not only research about your chosen program of study or any particular University but it should start introspecting yourself and going back to school days or College time to recall the whole journey. My personal experience says to make the notes while you are digging into websites to extract the information about any University or the program. The concept is simple, ' learn before you write" and doing so ensures that you don't miss on important points.

Write and rewrite: - The practice might sound silly but it has brought laurels for me in essay writings. I can see that when we rewrite, we write better, thus I advise you to finalize your SOP which is at least written in the second or third attempt. You may forward the statement to your friend or teacher for proofreading. You can ask them to rate your content before you forward it to your dream University.

Best of luck!!

About the author: Asif Jalal is working as an advisor to students for overseas education for the past close to 5 years. He is credited with having placed hundreds of students in different parts of the world. Besides, he is an aspiring writer who relishes writing blogs and poetry.

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