The last few years have seen a huge surge in the number of students opting for overseas Higher education. While the biggest constraint towards this plan is the financial burden, there are a number of other steps too that may block your way to a well institute. Almost all the well known higher education institutes outside India ask the student to present a 'Statement of Purpose'. This critical paper (maybe the toughest of your life) is your first chance to leave an emphatic impression upon the admission committee of your dream institute. SoP (Statement of Purpose) is also known by other names such as your Application Essay, Cover Letter, Objective of Study/Admission or Personal Background.
Ask any student who has been through this process, and she/he would tell you about all the sleepless nights this process had given him/her. The usual SoP is not very lengthy. An institute usually sets the word limit for such paper as 300-500 words. But do not assume that it would just take you an hour or so like the usual 400 word write ups. Even a single weak sentence in your SoP can put your admission into jeopardy. Here are a few things you MUST keep in mind to come up with an impressive Statement of Purpose.
- First draft is never the final draft
Almost all the applicants fail to succeed in their first draft. There will be innumerable revisions so be ready for it. Don't be afraid to share and show your SoP to someone who knows you well and be respectful to their opinion. People close to you might know something unique about you that may make your SoP stand apart. Also, external pair of eyes can point out the errors which you might have overlooked at the time of proofreading.
There is no set pattern or structure for a good SoP. The institute wants to know about you and the things that make you stand apart. Keeping that in mind, try not to copy others' SoP from the internet simply because no one can describe you better than you yourself. Make sure you have prepared the first draft yourself before looking up at the internet to get 'an idea' from other SoPs.
With a stringent word limit for SoP, you must make every word count. In order to achieve this, try your best to avoid clichÃ©s. Statements such as 'I am applying for admission in XYZ program because _______' do not serve any purpose other than eating up the word count. Since the institute knows very well what you are applying for, you need not start your application on such a damp note.
There are other points also such as skilful editing and proofreading that complete the perfect SoP. Make sure you think a lot before sitting down to write your SoP as it can be the biggest turning point of your life!