The Graduate School Statement of Purpose: An Overview

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  • Statement of Purpose (SOP) - Format with Examples & Writing Tips?

If you've decided to apply for graduate studies, almost all universities will require you to write a Statement of Purpose. Regardless of your grade point average, work experience, test scores, or undergraduate mastery of your potential area of study , most institutions will carefully consider your Statement of Purpose when determining your candidacy for admission. To create this article, 13 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.

This article has also been viewed 40, times. Categories: Application Essays. Learn why people trust wikiHow. Author Info Updated: March 29, Learn more Remember that your first paragraph should be no longer than four or five sentences. However, it should also give a summary of the entire Statement of Purpose. Many graduate committees will read your first paragraph to decide if the rest of your application is worth reading as well. Keep it clear and concise, yet detailed and specific when it comes to faculty and areas of potential research.

Don't tell the admissions committee how amazing you are. Similarly, the SOP for a Bachelors course would be widely different from any of the two. Here is a look at how to write a winning SOP. Statement of Purpose should be pages long, ideally wrapped in words. However, the length of this document may vary as per university-specific requirements.

Some universities have a fixed length and pattern of SOPs required, which is fixed to words only, even words in some cases. Most of the universities accept generic length, which is words, which may go beyond , but not exceeding words, in some cases. It is generally easy to write a story of your life explaining the importance of each incident in shaping or moulding your character.

What is SOP?

However, when it comes to defining your SOP within the communicated word limit by some university, the challenge is to portray your best within limited words. In such cases, it is better to mention the major achievements from every place you been to such as school, college, office, etc. There are many elements to an SOP. Universities could ask question-based essays or simply a general statement of purpose.

Statement of Purpose Sample

Until and unless categorically asked, an SOP must include your goals and the career path you have taken up so far as well as your academic progress. While understanding how to write an SOP, we come across various questions.

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To sum up your entire life and career in words can be a tiresome exercise. Remember that there is no exhaustive list of what all you can include in an SOP. What you need to remember is that in such a case, it becomes equally important to understand what all you must not include in your SOP. For instance, should you talk about your family? What about your school life? Every organization I have ever worked with? All my extracurricular achievements? Whether applying for undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate programme, the strategy of writing a powerful statement of purpose would be to sound focused throughout.

Starting from your academic and professional background to your career aspirations, you need to carefully connect all the dots between reaching your goals through your choice of school and course. The essay should always go in a flow covering your past experience, present involvements, and future plans. An important point to remember while writing your SOP would be to divide it into paragraphs that cover all the pointers. Here is a look at how you may write the SOP presenting your profile strongly:.

This paragraph is often confused with self-introduction.

Statements of Purpose: Drafting Your Statement // Purdue Writing Lab

It should not introduce you but should discuss what you are about to discuss in your entire SOP. There are multiple approaches you may adopt to go about this paragraph:. This comprises of your academic background: what you have done so far, what you are currently pursuing, your academic strengths and projects, industrial exposure you have attained, etc. If you have any professional experience it should be discussed in the upcoming paragraphs. This helps in establishing your career progression.

In this paragraph, you should discuss why you want to join a course and what modules would you tap during this course. It should also cover the skills you would acquire in this duration along with the exposure that would help in developing the skills desired to realise your goals.

This is the most important paragraph, where you should discuss your short and long-term goals. Your immediate goal would be where you would want to work right after completing this course.


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  6. You should be able to name some companies within India along with the designation you see yourself working at. This should explain the kind of job profile you would be working on. Then comes your long-term goal, wherein you should mention where you see yourself from or 15 years down the line. It may also include your dream of expanding your existing family business overseas. You may also be interested in further studies like a PhD which can be included here.

    More in this section may include your desire of becoming a professor or researcher. In any case, it is suggested that you discuss your business aim, principles, and core values or how you would influence the young aspirants of this industry. You should be able to portray how you wish to make a difference in the industry keeping in mind the current industrial scenarios and emerging trends? This is a specific paragraph wherein you can convince a university as in how they are suitable for your profile and you are an ideal candidate for their university. In this paragraph should conclude your desire and readiness towards joining the chosen course.

    Since this is the closing paragraph, you should sound focussed and prepared for all the challenges that came your way. It should also show that you have the zest in you to succeed and with the help of the chosen course and university you will definitely make a difference in the industry on a global perspective.

    You can read more about writing a scholarship essay here. Apart from a few aspects, a Personal Statement seems similar to Statement of Purpose. While SOP includes a two-page essay about your motivation, goals, experience, extracurricular activities and so on. On the other hand, a Personal Statement a crisp one-page essay about your motivation, inspiration, goals and achievements.

    Sample of Statement of Purpose (Sample SOP)

    Only your LORs need to be attested by your college or company. One can only follow certain guidelines to write a good draft of SOP and the rest is up to the Adcom to review and accept your profile. Once you have finalised your SOP draft, give it a double-check for grammatical and formatting mistakes. Your next step should be to analyse and critique your essay. Look at your SOP through the eyes of the Adcom and see what you find lacking.

    For more effective inputs, you can show your drafts to your friends and family and see how they react to it. Accordingly, you can make some changes but do not overdo it or deviate from the format. Lastly, check for spacing errors and save the final SOP which you will be using for the application process. You should avoid mentioning any low marks or shortcomings about yourself in any of the application documents, including SOP. There are very few universities that ask you about your gap year.

    For them, you can mention the reason for the gap between your studies.

    Sample Statements of Purpose (SOPs)

    I worked 60 hour weeks for two years to build a pipeline and plant the seeds for new business relationships. I partnered up with clients across the Greater Toronto Area within various industries; pharmaceuticals, consumers and hospitals. Through extensive business development, I assisted clients by finding candidates that were technically and culturally a fit. My experience within sales was challenging, and at times exhausting, but taught me patience.

    I learned to self-start, self-motivate, and lastly I learned that at times you will fail, but that does not mean you have failed.