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Welcome to Design Think Your SOP!

Are you wondering how to craft a Statement of Purpose (SOP) that captures your whole life within the limited characters allotted? Do you have numerous ideas floating around your head but are feeling stuck and don’t know where to begin? Then, this is the course for you. 

We are here to offer you assistance to write your SOP and to ensure that you draft a SOP which truly shows who you are. 

You will apply the popular Design Thinking Process and Pyramid Principle to develop a robust structure of your SOP and follow the SHPC rules to write effective paragraphs. SHPC stands for Start, Handover, Proof, and Conclusion. The same principles can be applied to various college and admission essays including (but not limited to)—Common App Essay Questions, Letters of Motivation, MiM Essays, Essays for college admissions in MBA programs, Essays for college admissions in Masters’ programs, specific college essay questions, and others.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Use the Design Thinking Process to draft an SOP that truly reflects you (or other college essays)
  • Use the Pyramid Principle to structure your SOP
  • Frame the main message of your SOP
  • Determine the key themes that are linked to the main message
  • Apply the SHPC rules to write effective paragraphs to expand the supporting theme

Instructor Introduction

We have worked at many thousands of admission essays and gleaned out the key principles in writing a tight well-knit document. In our experience of working with these students, we have seen many problems with their admission essays. For example, sometimes students just dump all the information they have onto these documents. In some others, the documents lack depth and assertions aren’t supported by underlying evidences. Lack of focus or unrelated to the course of study, dissonance or contradictory voices are a few other problems that we have seen in these essays.

We have gleaned our collective expertise and pulled that together in the form of this course: Design Think Your SOP and Other Admission Essays. This course is designed by a team of graduates from Stanford, MIT, and Harvard who have analyzed many such essays and collated the underlying tenets of successful statement of purposes and other such documents in the form of this course.

We are design thinkers, and have applied the core design thinking principles of empathy, defining, ideating, prototyping, and iteration on the SOP writing process. Combined with the pyramid principle of executive writing and many others, this course forms a focused capsule which will help you in writing your admission essays.

I am Abhishek Singhal, a graduate of MIT and am proud to present this course to you which is born out of research of numerous admission essays. I hope it is useful to your admission efforts.

  • Self Paced Course
  • 10 Chapters
  • Completely Online
  • Pay in:

What is an SOP?

A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is an integral part of the international admissions process. Most international universities ask students to submit an SOP along with other primary admission documents.

The Design Thinking Process

Design Thinking is a five-step systematic process which empowers even the most traditional thinker to develop new, innovative solutions to any problem at hand. This process is taught in top design and business schools around the world. We have adapted this process to create a robust SOP


The first stage of the Design Thinking Process is Empathize. This involves questioning, observing and engaging with those whose problems you want to solve.



The second step of the Design Thinking Process is to Define your story. In this step, you will put together the cluster of information you obtained in the Empathize stage to form new ideas.


Ideate 1

Until now, you had been reflecting on your life to uncover insights, patterns, and connections. Now is the time to organize your findings into a logical structure so that you can put across your ideas as quickly and effectively as possible.


Ideate 2

After deciding the theme, it is now time to ideate about the topic sentences for your body paragraphs. A topic sentence is the first sentence of every paragraph.



Once you have developed your theme and created strong topic sentences for your body paragraph, your SOP is virtually ready.



Testing is an opportunity for you to receive feedback on your SOP draft. The feedback will help you to refine your draft.



Iteration is the act of repeating a process over and over again in order to improve something and to eventually achieve a desired goal.



It’s a recap of the whole process of Design Think your SOP to ensure no key points are missed out.