A statement of purpose (SOP) or a letter of intent is one of the most important documents that need to be submitted along with your scholarship application. It essentially helps the readers get familiar with your academic record, future goals, aptitude, intellectual level, area of research, and study. It is meant for them to assess your worthiness for the scholarship in question.
How to Draft a Statement of Purpose (SOP) that Stands Taller than Others
Statement of purpose (SOP) may very well be your only chance to present yourself beyond your grades, CGPA, or GRE test results. A number of students have managed to get scholarships based just on their convincing SOPS despite having average grades.
You can explain any shortcomings in your academic record in an SOP. Similarly, you can tell the jury how have planned to learn from your mistakes. Fill the gaps in your application effectively by using strong words and sentences in your SOP. That way, you will be able to camouflage anything that, in your opinion, can be an obstacle in your way of getting the scholarship.
While doing all that, do not forget to be honest. Present yourself in a positive light but don’t overemphasize your qualifications. Say enough but not too much.
Statement of Purpose (SOP) Writing 10 Steps
- Do Some Ground Work:
Browse thoroughly through the websites of the schools and programs of your interest. Read about your prospective faculty and their research interests. Go through their publications. Read up on the latest developments in your area of research.
- Make a Rough Outline to work With:
Identify a central idea on which you can base your SOP. The main things to include in your outline should be the answers to questions like:
- Which part of the school, department, or program do you find the most appealing?
- What are your potential research areas?
- Why are you interested in a certain research topic?
- Write a draft:
Start writing your statement of purpose. You should be confident about what you are choosing as it will reflect in your SOP. Make an appealing introduction and finish off strongly as well.
Use transition words so that the statement can have a flow. Add an experience that may be related to your area of study. Elaborate things that can do with a bit of explanation. For example, if your grades had a slump in your first year, make a point by emphasizing how much you have improved since then.
- Be Relaxed:
If you face any difficulties in composing your SOP, keep it aside for a few days. Diverting your mind with some other things will remove your writer’s block and will open up new ways in front of you. Do not stress yourself out and just be relaxed.
- Ask for a Second Opinion:
Critical review and a second opinion are very important in matters like these. A second person can catch the mistakes that may have been overlooked by you. Keeping their reviews in mind revise your statement accordingly.
Statement of Purpose (SOP) | What to Do and What Not to Do?
- Keep the word limit in mind. The SOP should not be more than a page long
- Be concrete and avoid grammatical errors. Do not use poor English or generalized words
- Do not talk down to your readers. Do not over-explain things that you think they already know
- Do not submit the SOP in hand-written form
- Don’t repeat anything
- Be truthful and relevant
- Do not talk badly about other schools/programs
- Do not use jargon or extremely uncommon words
- Talk only and specifically about those experiences that are directly related to your studies or career. Do not indulge in telling every detail of your life
- Do not make up facts or lie about anything
- Do not get the SOP written from someone else. You know exactly who you are and only you can define yourself in the best possible way
- Be formal and professional