Create the Story Board
Think of your story board as the pivots from which your SOP would hang. Ideally, you should not have more than 5 pivots/ themes.
- One main message (present it upfront) in one pivot
- All pivots should be linked to the main message on the top of the pyramid.
The process of creating these pivots start from answering the six questions that we had outlined in the previous article (Different section of the SOP (article 1 of 3): Structure the Story Line). The answers to these would constitute the key themes.
The first step is to group these various points together using some sort of a commonality. Typical groups could be around ‘skill that you have mastered’, ‘a passion of yours’, ‘excellence in an area’, ‘desires and wants’, etc.
The second step is to draw out a pithy one line summary based on ‘so what’ of these groupings. For example, if you have built points together around your academic excellence and have built it around your academic performance at school, college and also various academic scholarships that you have achieved, then a ‘so – what’ could be your academic readiness for the rigors of the prestigious program that you are applying to. Clearly, these ‘so-what’ summaries are inductive or deductive reasoning based summaries of the points that you have collected in step 1. From an SOP perspective, we recommend using inductive reasoning based summaries because their construct is more efficient.
As you build these pivots, remember to focus on both substance by way of pulling out only those elements of your experience which are related to the specific application. The style, obviously has to be concise and clear.
A word of caution here – there is a natural desire to build as many experiences as possible. However we would recommend to stay focused and only pick out experiences which substantiate the point of the matter. It is also important to pull out facts and experiences which can be validated and are generally within the realm of understanding of an international audience as opposed to unverifiable experiences.
Once you are ready with these story blocks or story-board-pivots, your SOP is nearly finished from content perspective. Do not discard the points that you have collected in step 1 to build out a common theme. These would be used later to develop the story board further.
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