Is grad school your next step? Have you chosen your dream-university? If the answer is yes, then congratulations, you’ve already made it halfway. Now, all that’s left is for you to create a killer application that will guarantee you a place at your dream university.
Most graduate universities perform a holistic review of an applicant. This means that apart from a test score cutoff to pass, there are a few more components. Other than standardized test scores like the GRE/GMAT, graduate schools ask for letters of recommendation, letters of intent, essays, and most often a statement of purpose.
The statement of purpose is the heart of your application because it allows the admission committee to see who you really are and what your purpose behind applying to a program at their university is. While most students find this task overbearing and leave it for the end, it’s actually quite simple. You just have to break it down and start working on it, piece by piece. And we’re right here to help you figure out how to write a successful statement of purpose.
SOPs are a test against word limits. Most universities require one with 500 to 1000 words. So, it might seem hard to answer all the things they ask and also describe your personality in such a short document. Try to be as concise, and clear as possible and highlight only the most important aspects of your life. Keep an eye on your grammar and sentence formation. A shabby SOP can give off the impression that you aren’t serious about your application. Also, make sure to format it well, check your margins, spacing and use a clear font to make it more readable.
Now to the second part, what do you write for a winning SOP? These essays are a glimpse into your life for the admissions committee and a chance for you to directly speak to them. So, write your story like you’re talking to them in an interview. There are tons of sample statements of purposes for graduate schools online, and do you know what all of them have in common? The questions to be answered.
Tell me about yourself: Universities are looking for promising individuals who will bring something other than just academic excellence to the table, and your job is to demonstrate that. Start with talking about yourself, your goals and why you want to go to that graduate school. Include their values and attributes that you resonate with.
Why did you choose this program: In the next part, answer why you want to choose that particular program of study? Talk about your undergraduate degree, projects or work experience and justify their relevance to your chosen program. You can mention a professor whose work you found fascinating or a university project that relates to your work. Try to explain your interest in the field and if possible, describe how it all started. Stories are more interesting, but keep in mind the word limit.
What do you intend to do with the degree: The last and most important part is to show the committee that you did your research, by talking about the program you want to pursue. Tell them what you are expecting from their department and how it will be useful to you in your career. Remember, SOPs should talk more about the present and the future, and less about the past. Finally, end with a short summary that includes the most important points.
- Use active voice and a positive tone throughout your SOP.
- Use examples and experiences
- Be selective with what you include in your SOP
- Content: The first step is to figure out what your most important points are, and what your statement of purpose format will be. Decide on a structure and stick to it. A well-followed format is to answer one of the personal questions discussed above in each part. You can also browse through some statement of purpose sample essays to get an idea of the structure that fits you.
- First draft: Use the content you picked out and follow your chosen structure to create a long version of your statement of purpose. Call this your first draft, and it could be up to 1500 words. Write this in comfortable English and focus on putting across your content, you can polish it in the next step to sound more professional, so don’t worry about using fancy vocabulary or intricate sentences.
- Edit and edit again: Now is the time to proofread and polish. Try to make your long first draft meet the word limit by shortening sentences and using appropriate vocabulary. You can scratch out any points that seem less important in your final draft. Also, do a thorough spelling and grammar check. And when you think you have the perfect SOP, read it again to find out what you missed. Or better yet, get someone else to read it and give you feedback.
Now, how do you write a statement of purpose for graduate school? There are three simple steps to this.
At Jamboree, we help you create the best SOPs according to your profile. Our experts provide unmatchable support in writing, editing and proofreading your statements so that you put your best work forward, and increase your chances of getting into your dream university.
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