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Structuring the SOP

The Statement of Purpose (SoP) is the most important document in your application. It is the one place that allows you to convince the evaluator that you are worth a place in the course. Also remember, that each evaluator has seen hundreds of SoPs. Therefore, think of it as an opportunity to give a monologue (!) to someone who is interested but

tired, kind of like the lecture after the lunch break.

The key to structuring the SoP is to make it interesting while emphasizing on your credibility and fit with the program. Crafting a good SoP therefore requires a good understanding of the various persuasion frameworks that research has thrown up, and using them to tell your story in an interesting manner. The SoP is the document you use to show the evaluator that the trees (your achievements) are part of a greater forest (the goal of your life).

Therefore, like all good stories, your SoP needs to follow the story arc and establish an opening, create a backstory, a climax, and end with the resolution. So in the context of the SoP:

Opening – A one-line summary of what drives you

Backstory – What have you achieved till date

Climax – What you want to do in your life

Resolution – How the course will help you reach your goal

As each course has a different focus, each SoP needs to be customized. Just changing the name of the course in a standard SoP is like applying the same medicine irrespective of whether you are hurt by a cut or a burn or an allergy.

Sometimes it works, but you need to be sure that it is worth the risk!

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