A good statement of purpose creates an impression on the reader and helps you stand out from the crowd. However, many students treat it as an essay about themselves and end up submitting an SOP that’s like a résumé, only more verbose and with running sentences. In this age of copy and paste, some students even reword/edit a friend’s SOP and submit it!

Though this might get the job done, there is no guarantee that the admission committee will remember you after going through hundreds of other applications. If you really want to have the edge over other students and want to be remembered, you’ll have to draft a great SOP – one that’s interesting to read and is original. These 7 tips will help you do exactly that.

  1. Start early
    Don’t wait until a few days before the submission date to begin working on your SOP. You need to start introspecting about life events, achievements, why you want to do this course, why you’ve chosen this particular university, why you should be selected for this program, your strengths, your weaknesses (and how you aim to work on them), your career goals, how the course will help you, etc. You need to think long & hard about all these aspects and figure out how to pen them down with passion and persuasiveness.
  2. Go for stories over statements
    Which is more interesting to read, a newspaper or a novel? Sure, a newspaper might deliver the facts in a short & concise manner, but does it leave you wanting to know more? Not really. This is because statements convey a message, but stories allow the reader to connect with the writer. And that’s exactly what your SOP should do – connect with the admission committee.
  3. Talk numbers
    Numbers make your story better – they ensure your SOP is both qualitative and quantitative. You can use stories to describe your actions and insert numbers to highlight the results of your actions. Also, numbers help catch the reader’s attention and keep them interested in the content of your SOP.
  4. Customize
    ‘Statement of purpose format’ is a very common search query on the internet. Many students look for formats that they can follow and draft their SOPs based on what they find online. These templates come across as monotonous & boring. So keep your SOP fresh and unique. Have sub-topics that catch the curiosity of the reader and compel them to read the content.
  5. Professional, but conversational
    Writing a great SOP is like holding a good conversation. Not a casual conversation, like when you’re talking to a friend, but rather, a formal yet friendly conversation, like when talking to your college principal or dean. Another good tip is to write your SOP in the active voice.
  6. Ask others for opinions & constructive criticism
    Don’t keep your SOP to yourself; show it to friends and family you are comfortable with. Ask them to grade it, provide their opinions, and constructive feedback as well. You can also show it to a college professor or someone in a similar position, as this is the target audience (sort of) for your SOP.
  7. Proofread, proofread, and then proofread some more!
    Proofread the SOP as many times as you can before you submit it. The last thing you want is for your hard work to be misjudged because of a silly grammatical error or spelling mistake. Once you’ve proofread it, you could also give it to a friend or a family member to proofread it once again, just to be sure. These tips should help you pen the perfect SOP, and ensure you get noticed before you even take your first class at a new college/university. Hope this has been helpful. Good luck and all the best with your further studies!

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