How to write a winning SOP/PS for grad school.

How to write a winning SOP/PS for grad school.

How to write a winning SOP/PS for grad school.-A Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement just as the name implies is quite personal. A description of self to the potential admission committee. Showing valid reason(s) a prospective student should be offered admission to an international university.

Many students tend to misunderstand this point. Writing a winning SOP or PS is not about the previous school attended or the group project.  It’s about you; your experience, your strength, your expertise, your passion, your profile in general. It is a chance to make an impression and sell yourself. Remember, these traits are not covered in your academic documents, so there is a need to write engaging content about yourself.

Here are some factors to be considered when writing a statement of purpose.

  1. Make your research: One of the reasons most students do not get admission to study abroad is largely due to shallow content of SOP or PS. This is very important. And the worst mistake you can make here is writing a shallow statement of purpose. The committee expects you to know the school you’re applying for well enough. So make your research. From the school of interest, to the faculty, to department, to professors teaching in the department. This involves deep research. Try to relate the information obtained in your research with your SOP. You can include the previous achievements of a professor in the department of interest. Seize this opportunity also to talk about the reasons you would love to be supervised by such an icon. With this, the admission committee will be convinced that you know your onions.
  2. Avoid common mistakes: Common mistakes like wrong punctuation and grammar is a huge sigh. Please be mindful of this. Make your SOP or PS error-free by reading it over and over again after writing. And also giving it out to a professional to review. Grammatical errors in SOP is like a grain of sand in a plate of meal. No matter how tasty the meal is, a crunch of sand would leave the visitor grumpy. Try to avoid this error as much as possible. Make your SOP clear, strong and concise with a positive and confident tone. You can also leverage some free online tool like “Grammarly” to crosscheck your spellings and sentence structures
  3. Do not make your writing clumsy: An ideal SOP is meant to be a one or one and a half paged document. Font size 12 and 1.5-line spacing. The official font recommended is Times New Roman. The paragraphs should be clear and distinct carrying a unique message.

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Here is an analysis

First paragraph: All about you (remember SOP/PS is a story. Tell a unique one).

Second paragraph: Your reasons for applying (you must address what drives your choice of continuing to grad school. It could be a problem, an experience, lecture, summer classes, conferences, internships, etc; that is related to what you want to study. Be statistical here. No exaggeration)

Third and fourth paragraph: Why you think you are the best candidate (talk about skills you’re bringing to the table. Also try to link your skills with what you want to study. This is also important when you’re contacting supervisors)

Closing paragraph: Your future plans (indicate your projections and aspirations post-grad school. Make it feasible).

  1. Avoid jargons and too many unofficial words: This point can never be overemphasized. Of course, you’re writing to a committee of professionals, not to your mutual friend. So mind your language. But then, do not try to impress by using jargons. This is not a time to prove your English language complexity. Do not strain your reader’s comprehension by using “complex words”. Big vocabularies are unnecessary here. Try to write in simple, correct and constructive sentences.

Remember an SOP or PS answers two most important questions: who you are and why you’re applying to study abroad. Make every statement count. Lastly, revise until there is nothing to revise. Make sure a second eye read your SOP/PS. It is very helpful. Especially if the eyes are trained ones.

I hope this was helpful! Now shoot your shot.

Summary

Writing a winning SOP/PS for grad school.

  1. Be simple but professional
  2. Talk about your motivation for grad school – a problem, an experience, etc.
  3. Identify a problem/be statistical
  4. What skills do you bring? What are you looking forward to exploring?
  5. Talk about the major gaps in your profile if there is any
  6. Talk about how your previous research aligns with the university faculties. Why the school? And why the country?
  7. Make a great conclusion
  8. Contact some mentors or learned friends for review
  9. Revise, revise and I say again REVISE.

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