Today’s rat race is filled with hungry competitors. They all want to get to the top spot because they have something to prove, a new idea to implement or similar goals. You have to be at the top of your gamer early on if you want to edge out those who compete against you.
That is why you need to write a great statement of purpose (SOP) letter to the academic institution of your choice. To achieve that objective, continue to read our article. It is filled with the information you need to write a great SOP.
What Is a Statement Of Purpose?
One thing this letter is not is a personal essay about yourself. Universities tend to place a lot of weight on how you write your SOP thus, it has to be about more than just you.
An SOP is communicating your desire to study at their institution, and the content should convince them that you care enough that you will write a great letter. If not, you will be like thousands of other would-be applicants denied the opportunity because you didn’t care enough to write a great SOP.
Statement Of Purpose Formats and Examples
Why Is a Statement of Purpose Important?
The SOP is your opportunity to impress those in charge of admitting you to the academic institution of your choice.
That makes it very important. While you want to make a great impression, you do not want to push the creative envelope too far. The style of the letter has to properly impress the committee, or you may end up attending community college.
What Are the Five Elements of the Statement of Purpose?
- Introduce yourself- let them know who you are, what your interests ate and what motivates you to pursue this path.
- Summarize your academic career – and when we say summarize, we mean summarize. There is no need to go into every little detail. Just pick the highlights of what you have achieved in previous academic institutions
- Show the relevance of your current activities – in other words, let them know what you are doing and how it applies to your plans to continue your education.
- Discuss your academic goals and interests – this is done to show the committee you fully understand what is involved with their program and the amount of work involved.
- Answer the right questions – these involve why you want to study there, why that particular degree program, what you can contribute to the university, and more. The right answers make your SOP more powerful.
How to Write a Statement of Purpose
There are different strategies you can use, and the following is just one way to write your SOP.
- Write a good story or narrative – you want to be remembered, not forgotten, the moment they put your SOP down
- Don’t make your story a research paper – make it like a novel with measurable information included
- Be specific – leaving out details only bring up unanswered questions
- Make the SOP like you- in other words, customize it so that it fits who you are, your personality, and your lifestyle.
- Be formal in tone – this is not a friendly letter but more of a business-type communication. Be conversational but stick to the formal tone
- Make the right decision – this involves deciding on how you want to be seen by the university. You want them to see you, not someone who is pretending to be someone else
- Be honest – do not lie, makeup stories, just be yourself. That is the best way for them to see you
- Discuss questionable history- you may have had a gap year, difficulties getting good grades, and so on; discuss those and the steps you took to solve them or explain why they exist.
- Do research – what that means to research the school you want to attend and see if their values match your own. You do not need to remind them of how great they are, but use that greatness to show your motivation to study with them
- Proofread – check spelling, grammar, sentence structure and look for mistakes. Get advice on how it reads by asking friends or family to read it first. Make alterations if the suggestions are correct.
Should I Put My Name on My Statement of Purpose?
If your name isn’t on it, how will they know you wrote it? Your name does not have to be in the headline as that would be a big turn-off. However, you should place it in a good spot so it is easy to find without distracting from the content or sending the wrong message.
Tips for Writing a Statement of Purpose
You will always get tips; the key is to know which ones to listen to and which ones to ignore. Here are some you can choose to use or put aside for another time:
- The committee members will read between the lines, make sure your self-motivation, competence, and potential come through
- Write in an active voice and be positive. Avoid any negativity
- Talk about major influences that impacted your grades, then show how you overcame those influences
- Be coherent, link everything together, so it flows naturally, and be focused. Don’t let your writing get distracted
- Keep it short and simple unless instructed to do a longer SOP. Roughly 1000 words are good and double space to make sure it is readable.
- Be passionate about your chosen field of study
Mistakes to Avoid When Writing SOP
Everyone makes mistakes. The key is to catch them before someone else sees them and then correct those errors. After that, learn from your mistakes so you can avoid them in the future. Here are some mistakes to avoid:
- Failure to proofread – anyone who sees your SOP will see spelling, grammar, and sentence errors. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread or get someone who will do it for you.
- Waiting till the last moment – never a good idea, especially when you have a lot riding on this simple letter
- Weak writing – you are making a first impression so try to be as strong as you can without being overpowering
- Using the wrong language – never talk to a committee like you would your friends. Always be formal, polite, and courteous
- Saying too much – there is a time when you can say too much but this is not it. Be concise not verbose especially when talking about problems with a low GPA
- Writing too much – Stick to the word count no matter what
- Not editing – make sure you edit out any irrelevant information
- Bragging – it is possible to talk about your achievements without bragging. Learn how to do that
- Using too much flattery – they say flattery will get you everywhere but not when you use too much. Learn to draw the line and keep the flattery to a minimum
- Lying – always tell the truth
Everyone knows how getting into your favorite institution is essential to you. The key is not to try too hard. That is when you make mistakes and blow your chances. Follow the instructions above to write a great SOP that helps you stand out without having to try too hard.