How to write an SOP

Probably the most misunderstood and most underrated document that a student submits to a college is an SOP. A Statement of Purpose or ‘SOP’ refers to the essay that a student sends to the college where he’s applying along with his Bachelors or MBA application form. It talks about himself and why he wants to join the particular institute. With the rising competition and limited seats, it can get a little difficult for a student to showcase himself to be better than the rest. This is where an SOP can help. Having a strong SOP helps one stand out from the hundreds, if not thousands of applications universities receive. Here’re a few tips on how one can write a strong SOP:

aisfm write sop

1. Have an eye-catchy opening:

The way one begins his essay is very crucial. If the start is not attention grabbing, then the person evaluating the essay will lose interest in the very beginning. Even if there are a few good points later on, they’ll be overlooked. Usually most students start their SOP like this:
“I am applying to the Master of Arts program in XY Course at the College of XY because I believe my skills will blossom at your program as it is a place where I will be challenged and where I can develop my theoretical and practical knowledge.”
It’s not that this is bad, but because almost 90% of the SOPs received are on similar lines as these, there’s no way yours will stand out.

2. Add a personal touch

The evaluator, through the SOP, tries to get to know the disposition and personality of the person who has written it. Therefore, it is crucial to add a personal touch to your SOP. It indicates to the admission committee the reason for the applicant to choose this course in this college and shows how much of an interest he has in joining the institute. This is why one must always write the SOP themselves since ghost-written SOPs fail to reflect the candidate’s personality. However, this document can be given to somebody else to be edited once it is completed.

3. Avoid fancy jargon

Sticking to simple, easy to understand English, rather than going for a more frivolous style of writing is best suited for an SOP. This way there is little room for error, and the message the candidate wants to send out cannot be misunderstood or misinterpreted. Use of flowery language in an SOP will have a negative rather than positive impact on the admission committee.

4. Follow a formal but conversational tone

Most SOPs are either too formal or too casual. They either look like military letters or letters to a friend. Both approaches however, are ill advised. The essay should read like a novel. There must be a flow of words, like how it would be if you were having a conversation with the committee members rather than sending out the essay. Avoid using humour or other forms of writing which have undertones of flattery, since a statement of purpose shows your ‘state of purpose’ which is to join the institute rather than to impress the reader.

5. Quantify your stories

Always remember this, tell a story only if you have one. If you have a great story to share, feel free to do so, but remember not to make it sound like a thesis. List out every important detail and leave out the unnecessary things. If you were a part of an NGO, for example, saying something like this wouldn’t be impactful:
“During my intermediate, I had joined an NGO wherein I taught English to primary class students in government schools.”
Rather than say it that way, try this:
“During my intermediate, I joined ‘Teach English’, a local NGO, where I was a part of the tutoring team. For a period of 10 months, I taught Basic English to more than thirty 2nd and 3rd grade students. Every single student I taught to, secured an A that year. I’ve never been more proud in my life.”
See the difference? This way of saying it has a bigger impact on the reader compared to the first way.

6. Proof Read

Once you’re done with the final draft of the SOP, proofread it carefully. Make sure there are no grammatical errors, spelling mistakes or incorrect information. If you have any second thought about a particular point, change it and read it again. Once you feel you are happy with how it looks, ask somebody else to give it a read and give you an honest feedback. An objective set of eyes can often bring out certain things you might miss on your own.

aisfm sop

There you go. Keep these tips in mind when you draft your SOP and impress the admission committee at the college of your dreams with ease.

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