The Statement of Purpose is one of the most important documents while
applying in Universities and Colleges. A good statement of purpose may not
necessarily get you in to a program, but a poorly written one could cause the
committee to overlook your application. In addition, submitting a strongly written
statement works in your favor in such situations as:
- Having a low grade in one or two of your courses/semesters
- Breaking a tie with other applicants who have performed at your level in terms of
GRE and GPA scores or any competitive score
- Getting into programs in which standardized test scores are weighted
significantly less than demonstrating ones professional interests and abilities
(i.e., Humanities and certain Social Science fields).
- Explaining any study gaps or work profile which might weaken your application
Remember that your statement of purpose is the only opportunity you will have to let the
admission committee directly get to know you. They will have some sense of who you
are based on your recommender's notes and on the writing sample you include, but this
is the chance for you to personally make a good, strong impression.
Checklist of relevant points for a SOP
- What you are doing now
- What course you are applying for
- Your aptitude for the chosen course
- Significant educational / work experiences
- Your short term goals (2-3 years from now), and long term goals (5-10 years
- Why you have chosen this specific college/university, and why this particular
- Significant extracurricular interests, social service, etc. (if relevant)
Tips for writing a statement of purpose
- Be as honest as you can. Essay evaluators can read between the lines do not
- Write the essay yourself. Don't get an expert or your best friend to write for you.
The admissions officers can compare your essay style with your grades, test
scores, and writing samples from GMAT, GRE or the SAT.
- Get the essay checked. The writing must be your own, but you are allowed to get
advice. A parent, friend or counselor can give an opinion on how the essay
sounds. You can also get help on grammar, spelling and layout.
- Evaluate rather than narrate. When writing about your experiences it is important
to discuss what you have learned. Don't just "tell stories".
- Be logical. Make sure the essay flows well with a proper beginning, middle and
end. Each paragraph should follow logically from the previous one.
- Keep the language simple. Avoid quotes because the examiner wants to hear
your words. Don't use flowery language.
- Keep it short. Concise writing is always appreciated.
- Pay attention to detail. Use 12 point font. Use a simple font such as Times New
Roman. Justify the text (i.e. align to both left and right margins).