A statement of purpose or commonly referred to as the SOP, it is a part of the application for a graduate school, wherein you give your personal statement to the admissions committee. It is one of the essential aspects of an application as it describes who you are as a person and why should you be considered amongst thousands of applicants.
The general format is followed-
- Font- 12 point Times New Roman
- 1.5 inch margin on all sides
- 1.5 line spacing
Here’s a list of what are the basic requirements of a SOP–
- Avoid informal language.
- It should be clear and concise, somewhere between 500-1000 words.
- Shouldn’t contain any grammatical/punctuation errors.
- It is essential to write and edit it well.
- Write in an active, not a passive tone.
The first paragraph should be about you, introduce yourself with relevance to the situation. State your strengths and weaknesses and how you’ve worked upon them and ensure that you mention your efforts and not just ideas. Support your introduction with your achievements, both academic and extra-curricular or a way in which you have contributed to the society.
The second paragraph is basically an extension of the first one but more focused on your career goals and objectives. State them and align them with the course you are planning to apply for. You must research the program you are applying for and give your background for the same.
In the third and fourth paragraph, it is important to prove that why must you be preferred over others and would prove to be a right choice for the program. Elaborate on your experience in your area of study and related internships or jobs. Keep the information as concise as possible but keep your point across as strongly and clearly as possible. If you think that there’s some unique information that the admissions committee needs to know and would strongly influence their decision, surely go ahead with it. Explain why you would make a perfect and suitable candidate for the course.
End the paragraph by stating your long term goals as they hold more relevance considering that the admissions committee needs to know how well you will use the knowledge and expertise gained from the course undertaken.
A statement of purpose is highly critical to your admission and must be treated with utmost seriousness. It is your chance to stand out, use it wisely.