Getting the opening of your SoP right is the key to your admission.
It determines the lens with which the rest of the application will be adjudged. Remember the “power of first impressions”.
There are many ways to start a Statement of Purpose (SoP). Some people prefer to start with a quote, while others prefer a one-line summary. Ideally, it depends on the persona that you are trying to project, and which is reinforced in the rest of the paragraphs. And this persona needs to be close to who you are. (Ideally this persona should be you!)
Remember, most courses have a diversity criteria, and so there is no “one type fits all” for the persona.
There are many ways to find out your personality type, and the internet provides a rich variety of tests that help you identify yours – the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) is quite popular. In a very crude sense, this test helps you figure out if you are an introvert or an extrovert, how do you make decisions, your preferred way to take in information, and your interactions with the external world.
Now, if you have always been an imaginative and spontaneous person, it might help to start with your own two lines of poetry. But if you have been diplomatic and relationship-oriented and that is your biggest strength, it is best to go with a famous quote that encapsulates your thoughts best. The more focused quantitative persons should start with a line from the classics, while the structured and detailed oriented person should start with a personal summary.
Blindly copying the start will not help, until and unless you are doing it from a Siamese twin in terms of experiences, achievements and dreams. It is difficult to stay true to a start if subsequent paragraphs of achievements and expectations do not support the first impression. Therefore, craft your personal SoP, and a good beginning is the first and most important step.
Knowing yourself before writing the first word is even more critical.
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