The Statement of Purpose (SoP) is a document that is used by the admission officers/application evaluators to assess the clarity of thought of the applicant. While it is difficult to predict the direction one’s career might take after a particular educational program, the SoP gives an insight into the expectations the applicant has from the program.
It allows the evaluator an opportunity to match the course objectives with these expectations, so as to ensure that there is no heartburn at the end of the program.
What does this mean from an applicant’s perspective? Primarily, it means that the SoP is the most important piece of the application, and the one that needs to be thought out the most and should be started the first. The applicant needs to think hard and deep to find the reason for doing the course, and relate it to the long-term aspirations that one might have. Having prepared a rough sketch of one’s personal targets, research on individual courses and their objectives’ needs to be done. The next step is to ensure that a narrative is created that links the personal targets along with the course objectives. A smart applicant ensures that each SoP is individually tailor-made for an application, and does not use the same one across all applications.
One common misconception regarding the SoP is that it needs to be heavy on jargon and hard English vocabulary. That is not true. Clarity of thought and being able to express those thoughts well are keys to a good SoP. While jargon can sometimes be a shortcut to a shared understanding of an idea, it can also backfire leaving the two sides incomprehensible to each other. Our suggestion would be to avoid using jargon, and focus on simple words.
The simple steps for writing a SoP:
- Try to figure out where you see yourself in 10 years after the program and define your long term goals
- Decide what steps you need to get there
- Build a skeleton write-up of these goals and the steps you intend to take to achieve them
- Research the course that you are applying for to understand the course objectives, the university history, imperatives and espoused causes
- Develop a SoP suited for the course
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