Statement of purpose which can also be called SOP is one of the many texts written in the academic world that gives an admission committee a reflection of your personality. Writing a statement of purpose (SOP) is one way you x-ray yourself to the admission committee to get the opportunity to study abroad.
Bearing in mind that you will not get an opportunity to interact with the examiner eyeball to eyeball. This is your chance to convince them. It is important to present a purposeful profile to the examiner bearing in mind that others are seeking the same opportunity you seek.
The major aim of writing an SOP is to show that you are the most qualified candidate for a particular scholarship, grant or course. At the same time show why this scholarship, grant or course is the best one for you.
This content is aimed to guide you in writing a statement of purpose (SOP): everything you need to know about it is discussed in detail.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT STATEMENT OF PURPOSE (SOP)
What is SOP?
A statement of purpose like any other academic essay is a long one that seeks to know the purpose for which you are applying for a particular study programme in a given university or college.
In this essay, you are expected to gist about yourself – who you are, who/what you want to become. You also tell how ready you are to go with a certain course in your institution of interest.
Statement of purpose is an essay that seeks to understand the life of the candidate, his/her motivation and personal goals. For this reason, it is important that you discuss your past experiences that have triggered this motivation.
How to Start Writing an SOP
Writing a Statement of purpose (SOP) requires that you start with something interesting about yourself. Start with the instances of situations or your interests that make you appear smart and intelligent. Applying a well-known scenario and attributing that to your situation may be ideal.
The uniqueness of your first paragraph is as important as the whole content you are putting out. This is because it is the first thing that catches the attention of your audience.
It determines whether or not he/she should continue reading. Ensure you punctuate accurately and make your sentence construction devoid of grammatical/spelling errors.
Why is Statement of Purpose Important?
The importance of a well-written Statement of Purpose cannot be overemphasised because it is very crucial to your admission. Your statement of purpose is that document in your application that gives you room to let the examiner understand how unique you are and also show what makes you stand out from others.
It is what determines whether you will get admission to your dream school or not.
What is the General format for SOP?
There is no specific format for writing a statement of purpose as different universities have different formats that is specific to them. In general, there are different formats for SOP, but the content of a statement of purpose varies with the course of study in view.
It is quite difficult for aspirants to choose which format is best since there are a large number of SOP formats available for the aspirants online. Most schools give guidelines to what they want in a statement of purpose.
There is also no specific format for writing a statement of purpose for a particular country.
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What do Universities/Colleges expect in a Statement of Purpose?
In your effort to write an SOP, do not forget that you are not the only applicant for that scholarship in that particular field and institution. Hence, the admission committee will definitely have thousands of applicants to review their applications.
To this effect, ensure you have a short and precise SOP highlighting the exquisite importance of yours. There are a number of things the admission committee expect in an SOP. These are, but not limited to:
Sentence Construction/Writing Capability
Avoid all forms of grammatical/spelling errors. Endeavour to use simple words with good vocabulary that are easy for your readers to comprehend. Using rich vocabulary or “heavier word” may pose a comprehension problem to the reader and you may end up not passing the intended message across. This may force him/her to attend to your statement of purpose with dismay.
Go over your draft and crosscheck whether there are inappropriate words, phrases, clauses or sentences. In as much as the use of long sentences are necessary, avoid incomprehensible complex sentences.
Your selling point
Endeavour to give a highlight of your unique personality. Remember, you are not getting a live interview opportunity, therefore the admission committee expects to identify you through your statement of purpose. Highlighting your interests and goals makes it easier for the admission committee to know you personally.
What have you to offer?
The admission committee expects to see what you can contribute to the department or college/university through your talent, previous experiences and interest. You are expected to tell them how you will contribute to the university community. Is it in games, community development services (CDS) societies, clubs etc.?
How well do you know about the University?
The admission committee believes you have made a sound background check about the institution you are applying to. As expected, you know about the study program you are applying for, student facilities and societies, the lecturers and the department past achievements that got your interest. These are what set the university apart from others and they believe they are why you chose the university.
NB: It is necessary you read carefully the given instructions before you start writing a statement of purpose. Check for specific questions/requirements in the instructions and answer them judiciously. In answering these questions, make sure you start the paragraph with a sentence that draws the attention of the admission committee. Such as, “my reasons to study…”
How long should an SOP be?
The length of an SOP is usually one page or at most two pages with basically 400 to 1000 words. There is no specific length though, different universities have different counts. Some universities use characters (including punctuations) to specify their interests.
Some do state the minimum and maximum character/word requirements and expect you to figure out the length of your SOP yourself. In this case, try to make at precise as possible.
When there are questions and a specific number of words stated, ensure you use most of the words in answering these questions.
Approach to writing a powerful and convincing SOP
Be it an undergraduate, Masters or PhD application, the approach to writing a powerful and convincing statement of purpose is to remain focused all through. Linking your academic and professional background, your career aspirations, to reaching your specific goals through your choice of program and schools.
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In this essay, pull together your past experiences, present involvements, and future plans. Putting these points in paragraphs is very important as it makes your SOP convincing.
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