Strategies to Write a Powerful Statement of Purpose

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It is important that you follow a specific strategy when it comes to drafting your statement of purpose. Though most students write whatever comes to their mind, or whatever they see on the internet, you are not most people. You would want your statement of purpose to sound brilliant, and original. And for that, you’ll need some strategies.

1. Write Stories.

Not Statements If given a choice, would you prefer reading a novel or a newspaper? A novel, without a doubt. Do you know why? Because while a newspaper gives you mere news and some eye-catching headlines, a novel tells you a story; a beautifully written piece of literature that you will be emotionally connected to. It brings those human feelings out of you and involves you in its storyline. You imagine yourself in place of the narrator/character, and understand why he/she has done that or taken such decisions. We remember stories much easier than statements. Because stories connect to us, statements don’t.

For example, most people say this:

“I used to work in a multinational software company in the development team, and I had to do the same job every day: code stuff. There was nothing new for me to learn at work, and there was nothing very exciting about going to the office. One day I decided that I had to get out of there, so I applied to college to study higher courses and get a better job.

” Doesn’t that sound like most stories? Albeit, a very normal story? Instead, how about saying this:

“Late in the night on Monday, I had found myself in the middle of a deserted office, and fifteen thousand lines of code. Full of caffeine in my bloodstream, and an empty life beyond the office, I realized that the computers started coding my brain, and controlling my life. No longer wanting to let the machines feed on me, I decided that college would be my salvation.” Both the stories come about four lines. But which narrative do you think will keep the admissions committee reading? Which story do you think will be remembered by them even after reading 5000 applications?

Think again. Do you want your statement of purpose to read like a novel or a newspaper? If the former is your answer, then you need to put in a lot of effort to tell your story. Think about ‘why’ you want to study what you want to study. Is there a strong reason behind it? Is the reason emotional, economical, or any other? Think hard, and you will find a connection. The reason might not seem obvious in plain sight, but when you think hard enough, you will understand that there is a strong reason why you want to study a particular course/degree.

Now, when you have found this strong reason, tell it as a story. Write a short, but great narrative about what made you make this choice. About why you have chosen to study this course at this university. Impress the committee with your creative storyline, and you will reap the benefits big time.

2. Quantify Your Stories

Even though we asked you to write a story, you will have to remember that your story should not read like a thesis. It should rather serve as the best source of information about you. And when it comes to information, numbers play a key role. Your story should be not only qualitative but also quantitative. Which means, your story must contain measurable quantities instead of just stories, so the reader can understand the depth of it.

For example, if you have worked for a local NGO teaching math to primary kids, you could say:

“During my engineering days, I helped a local NGO by joining as a math tutor, where I taught basic math concepts to school children.”

Now even though this sounds really good, it doesn’t give the reader the entire picture and they certainly do not know how much of an impact you made on those children. So, you could change that bit to something like this: “During my second year of engineering, I joined ‘Teach Math’, a local NGO, where I was a part of the Math tutoring team. For a period of 10 months, I taught basic math like algebra, geometry, and arithmetic to more than thirty 5th and 6th grade students. And every single student I taught to, secured an A in math that year. I’ve never been prouder in my life.”

Do you see the difference? These numbers suddenly give a whole new perspective to the readers, and their respect for you is suddenly multiplied. That’s the power of numbers; they add authenticity, and authority to your stories. If you can quantify your stories properly, and show the results instead of just actions, the committee will not forget your name. You can use the same strategy for the rest of your story, no matter what it is about. Whether it is a research project you did, or a college fest you organized, or a college sports team you led, whatever it is, add numbers to your stories, and make them sound more realistic and more beautiful.

3. Be Specific

You have to make sure that whatever you say in your statement of purpose, you need to be very specific with it. Don’t just say something because you think it will impress the admissions committee.

Whatever you say, you have to really dig into details. Be introspective. Don’t just say “I chose this degree because I love this field.” Explain clearly why you love this field, what made you decide that you want to work in this field for the rest of your life, what skills you are trying to amass, why it completes you as a person, etc.

Don’t beat around the bush like you normally would, when you talk to your friends. Don’t use ideal sentences like ‘I want to change the world’ or ‘I want to find my inner self’ or any of those cheesy lines. Just be straightforward and always to the point, but not so much as to come off as arrogant. Find your reasons and then find a nice, memorable way to say it.

Grad school admissions officers require the statement of purpose not just because they want to find about you and your dreams. More importantly, they want you to think for yourself, as to why you are taking such a life-changing step; why you think this is the best thing that can happen to you; and why you think you truly need it to succeed in life. The ‘why’ is always profoundly important, and also an extremely difficult question to answer, which is why, if you can find answers to all the whys, then you are almost in.

4. Customize Your Essay

One of the biggest mistakes students make is to prepare a basic template for their statement of purpose, and if they are applying to more than one university, they simply change the relevant names and details. But the rest of the statement is an exact copy.

This is never a good idea because though they might seem quite similar to each other, every university is vastly different from the others. Each of them has a diverse set of characteristics that define them, and their cultures, methodologies, visions, values, mottos, strengths, weaknesses, etc., vary greatly. These things are much more important than the departments, or university rankings, or a number of Ph.D.’s or other materialistic qualities. So, if you are applying to multiple universities, you need to factor in all these qualities of every university and customize your statement accordingly. Mere changes in names and details won’t suffice. You need to tailor your essay such that the admissions officers think you will fit in well into their community. Remember, every student community is like a family, and if you give hints that you cannot fit into a family or their culture, you may not be welcomed easily.

Speaking of cultures, different countries obviously have different cultures, but even a big country like the US has different cultures in different parts of the country. So, before you begin writing, try and research the general culture within the region in which your target university is, and learn something about it. It may also help in aiding your decision process; if a culture doesn’t attract you much, then there’s no point in wasting an application.

5. Use a Formal But Conversational Tone

Nearly all statements or essays come under two categories: The super formal, and the super friendly. The first category is when you write a statement of purpose that is so formal, it looks like you are writing to your lieutenant in the military. The second one, of course, looks like a casual email to a friend.

Now, when asked which one seems like a better choice, most students say the formal way is the way to go, and super friendliness is a big no. And still, a minor set of applicants think they can outsmart the admissions committee by sounding friendly, welcoming, and funny. But, on further reflection, you would understand that neither of the approaches is ideal. And you are right, neither of them is right. Like we talked about it already, your statement of purpose should read like a novel: slightly formal language, but still a tinge of fun and uniqueness.

That is what you need. A conversational tone is the best and the safest way to go. Write like you are talking to someone, but avoid using casual language. Imagine you are talking to your dean or the director of your college. What would your language be like? That’s how your statement of purpose should sound. Now, occasional humor is okay, but you shouldn’t try to sound too funny or too smart. No intentional jokes or funny lines should find their way into your statement. After all, it’s a statement of purpose, and the purpose is to pursue a graduate degree, not to impress people with your sense of humor. So, if what you write brings a smile on the readers face, then it’s perfectly alright. But it shouldn’t make them throw away your application because you didn’t seem serious enough to them.

6. Decide How You Want To Portray Yourself.And Learn How to Portray Indirectly.

You must see that the statement of purpose serves as a medium to convey your attitude, your personality and your character. Alright, those are some heavy words, and it can actually be difficult to them on paper. So, what you can do is, learn what your statement of purpose should portray you as, in terms of a few criteria, which tell the admissions committee that you are: Very passionate about the field of study you have chosen. An Intelligent student who can withstand the academic workload of a graduate program. Well-prepared academically and personally, and eager to study new courses. Able to take on the challenges of studying at an international graduate school.

Able to build and maintain a good rapport with professors and fellow grad students. Able to finish the graduate degree within time, and graduate with a good percentage. A potential remarkable representative of that grad school in your future career. A successful alumni of the grad school who in the future can help in recruiting graduates. A responsible alumni who in the future will help raise funds for the grad school, to spend on research, infrastructure, facilities, student scholarships, etc. These are basically the parameters that grad school admissions officers look at, when they decide who is joining their class. Now, I know that the statement of purpose can only be as long as 1000 words, and that there’s quite a lot to cover in that little space.

This is where your writing skills should come in. You simply can’t just go ahead and write “I am very passionate about the field of study I have chosen.” That is the last thing you would want to write. What you should instead write is, a sentence that indirectly means the same. You will have to choose your words wisely so as to indirectly communicate your “passion”. You can use brief examples to show why you are so passionate about it. For example, you can say something like: “My grandfather was a car mechanic.

I remember when I was nine, he took me to his garage for the first time and showed me how he could repair my damaged bicycle so I could ride it again. When he passed away a few years later, he left me the entire garage. It was a turning point in my life. Some of my best days were spent inside the garage, where after coming back from school, I tried fixing various appliances in the house. That was what led me to choose to be a Mechanical Engineer.”

The above paragraph speaks volumes about you as a person and your passion for Mechanical Engineering without you actually saying it. Any admissions officer in the world wouldn’t reject an applicant with such a deep reason, and such a wonderful story behind him/her. Now, remember, you don’t have to lie. Try and remember stories from your life that have shaped your decisions. And connect them beautifully to your goals and dreams. Now similarly, your “intelligence” can be conveyed by how you write. The quality of the statement of purpose, the organization, expression, etc. of your statement tells how intelligent you are. Demonstrating knowledge of the field, and using related jargon shows that you are “well-prepared”.

Showing what you have done already describes your ability “to take on the challenges of grad school”. Your grades and your previous performance prove your ability “to finish the graduate program in time”. Being a “future remarkable alumni” can be implied by your being a commendable representative of your previous institutions, like your high school, or undergraduate school. Similarly, you will have to try and represent all the qualities mentioned above in an indirect, but powerful way.

7. Don’t Create Stories. Be Yourself

Because we asked you to write stories, there would naturally be an inclination to “create” stories out of thin air. Do not do this at all. Write great stories only if you have great stories. Some people might come from normal backgrounds, who had normal lives, and probably didn’t achieve anything spectacular. It’s completely okay. If you don’t have anything great to write, don’t write it. Be normal, and write normal stories. It is better to be normal than to pretend to be someone you are not.

The admissions officers are expert psychologists, and they can spot a true applicant from a false applicant with just one reading. So, you will badly hurt your chances of getting into your dream school if you try to be someone else. Just be yourself, and write only about the things that have happened to you, and the things that you are passionate about. Saying “I love research” just because you think they will like it, isn’t going to help you a lot. Whatever you say just for the sake of it, won’t appeal much to the committee, as they would look for relevant evidences in your stories and in your past. So, don’t even think about fooling the committee with a false storyline. Try and be yourself throughout the essay.

8. Address Your Problems

The Statement of Purpose is a great opportunity for you to address some of your problems. If you have had any problematic academic background, or a gap year in your career, or if you had any work-related problems, you can address them on the statement of purpose in order to reassure the admissions committee. You must try and be as honest as possible, and talk about your problems in a matured manner. Instead of trying to defend yourself, you can point out the actual reasons that led to the problems, but more importantly, you should highlight ‘how’ you overcame the situation, and ‘what’ you have learnt from the experience. For example, let’s say that you got all C’s or all D’s in one semester. This normally isn’t the kind of academic profile a good grad school would want from you, unless there is a strong reason behind it. So, take some time and dedicate a few lines to explain whatever happened.

If you had a health problem during your semester exams, or if you faced any emotional setback during that time, if you experience any personal loss, or if you had to take up additional family responsibilities other than studying, you can mention that in your statement. But, more importantly, you should not forget to demonstrate how your grades have been steadily improving since then, and that you now have a decent grade-point average in the discipline. If you can spin this story well enough for the committee to empathize with you, then your story will enhance the admissions committee’s image of you as a matured student, with the abilities to “take on additional challenges” and “to finish on time”, even when things are against you.

9. Do Your Homework

This is one very important point you should exercise while you are writing a statement of purpose. You should be thorough with the details of all the universities you are applying to, and list down all the things you like about each university, before you write the essays. Most students simply write generic sentences like “I am impressed by the importance your university gives to research” or “I would like to study here because you have 100 Ph.D.’s and 20 Nobel prize winners.” etc. No, that is not how you do it.

The admissions committee knows how great their college is; you don’t have to remind them again and again. But, you should let them know what exactly you like about them, that you so badly want to be there. The specifics are really important. For example, you could say something like this. (Excuse the random jargon, it is only to give you an idea.) “I would fully utilize the resources that the Wallenberg Hall provides, as I am particularly interested in the field of molecular chemistry. The special 24/7 laboratories provided for student research on molecular processing is exactly the kind of opportunity I am looking for, as I could totally see myself working in the labs day and night.” And something like: “I especially want to study under Dr. Mark Adams, Ph.D., as I have been an avid follower and admirer of his work in the field of quantum chemistry, which is not only the field I would choose for my research study, but also is a topic that I am zealous about, personally. I would be more than honoured if I can earn a spot in his research group.” Do you see how professional it sounds? Such things show how well prepared you are, and how eager you are to study at that university. Now, to write something like this, you obviously need to do lots of research both online and offline, and be very thorough about the college, its facilities, courses, and professors. Yes, it is very difficult, but believe me, it is completely worth all the hard work.

10. Proofread, Edit, and Re-edit.

Ask Friends and Family To Grade Your Essay Another mistake students make is, they try and keep their essays to themselves. Maybe they are shy, or maybe they think their friends and family aren’t necessarily experts on the subject. So they think there’s no point in asking friends and family to critique on their essays. Wrong. Your statement of purpose speaks about you as a student, as an individual. Yes, there is technical slang involved, and yes your family members may not be experts on that. But, they sure are experts on ‘you’. Which is exactly why you should approach them. They can not only give you additional points to add, but they can give you valuable stories about your childhood or schooling days, which you probably won’t remember. Plus, it’s very easy to say something about others, but at the same time, it’s painfully difficult to describe yourself to someone.

Which is why someone very close to you, like friends and family, can describe you accurately. You will get new perspectives on your stories, which sometimes are better than your own versions, and including them in your statement of purpose will do you a lot of good. Also, remember to proofread your statement time and again, and keep on re-editing content until you, your family and friends think you have the best statement in the world. Remember that your statement of purpose is a literary picture of ‘you’ as a person, and it is representing on your behalf. So, make it a top priority to avoid typos, misplaced commas and semicolons, overused quotes, being too wordy, using too many complex words and sentences, and being too straightforward. Be careful. Be a perfectionist when it comes to writing. It shows how much you care about going to a particular college. And, once you are done with everything, do not forget to ask your friends and family to grade your statement of purpose, and ask them to criticize it accurately, so you can avoid submitting a less than perfect copy of your statement.

11. Take Advice From Professors.

If you know a professor at your undergrad institution, don’t hesitate to approach him/her for advice regarding your statement of purpose. They are of course very experienced prospects, and they might have seen thousands of statement of purposes and students in their careers. So, it wouldn’t hurt to ask for their opinion. Plus, since unlike your family, they are technically sound, they can also provide you valuable insights on how to project your technical expertise and project works in the statement. After all, a professor knows what another professor looks for in a prospective student, so it would only help if you approach your college professors. And, if they are really close to you, you can also ask them for a really good letter of recommendation. So whichever way you look at it, there are only benefits for you.

How to Write an Amazing SOP and Gain Admission to Top Schools

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Defining questions to get you started

We’ve compiled a set of questions that we want you to think about while working on your Statement of Purpose (SOP).

These questions also work well for your CV, Essays and Letters of Recommendation (LOR). All of these documents should support your story in a coherent, easy-to-understand and memorable way.

These questions are meant to help you bring out your story and show the Admission Committee why you are special. The crisper, clearer and well-backed your story is, the better your chances at gaining admission into their university.

  1. What is your dream for the next 10 years? What is your road-map to achieve the same? How will this specific program in these specific institutions, in this specific country, help you?
  2. What are your 3 biggest strengths? What achievements demonstrate these strengths?
  3. What is your biggest weakness? How has it affected you till now? What have you done about it?
  4. Who are your 3 biggest fans at work and in college who are writing your LOR? If they met me at a restaurant, what are the 3 strengths, achievements and weaknesses that they will each tell me about you? (Each one’s answer may be different based on their experience with you)
  5. What are the 3 biggest achievements at college and/or work? What were the situations, complications and results in each of those events?
  6. What are the 3 biggest challenges you have faced in your life? How did you overcome them?
  7. What did you learn from them and how has it changed you personally or professionally?

How to Write a Great Statement of Purpose

Remember your statement of purpose should portray you as

  1. passionately interested in the field
  2. intelligent
  3. well-prepared academically and personally
  4. able to take on the challenges of grad school
  5. able to establish good rapport with professors and fellow grad students
  6. able to finish the graduate degree in a timely fashion, and
  7. a potentially outstanding representative of that grad school in your future career
Do you want to make your SOP better?

Tips

  1. Get advice from several of your professors — philosophical advice as well as specific writing advice
  2. Proof-read and edit; ask friends to proofread and edit as well
  3. Keep working on the statement of purpose, even after you have already sent it to school(s) with earlier deadline(s)

Your essay is terrific if we get a strong YES for these questions:

  1. Is your SOP a terrific story that people love? [send it to at least 5 people and get enthusiastic nods from each]
  2. Do you have a great opening paragraph that grabs attention? [oftentimes, the admission committee will not go beyond your first paragraph if you cannot hook them with your opening]
  3. Have you showcased the most life-changing event in your life and how it is affecting your career and academic aspirations?
  4. Is ‘Why you?’ clear ? Keep in mind that the admission committee looks at thousands of applications from other students.
  5. Does the university feel you have really done your research on the program and university and not just copied whatever you’ve read on their website onto the SOP? [have you read research papers of professors in the stream you are applying to? Which ones do you like? What did you like about them?]
  6. Is it really clear why you have selected a particular university and program, and why is this university and program the best option for your profile?

Sample of an interesting opening – Passionate Hook

When I was eleven, my great-aunt Gretchen passed away and left me something that changed my life: a library of about five thousand books. Some of my best days were spent arranging and reading her books. Since then, I have wanted to be a librarian.

Comments: Quite interesting, direct, new spin to reading and catches your attention in a unique way and professors will remember this student who had her own library!

Sample of boring opening

I am honored to apply for the Master of Library Science program at the University of Chicago because as long as I can remember I have had a love affair with books. Since I was eleven I have known I wanted to be a librarian.

Comments: Boring because they know which program you are applying for. You are saying nothing of great value, and this is a boring start!

Sample of interesting writing

One Thursday, I had soldered the 112th green wire on the same place on the 112th TV remote, and I realized the solder fumes were rotting my brain. I decided college would be my salvation.

Sample of boring writing

I used to work on an assembly line in a television factory, and one day I decided that I had to get out of there, so I went to college to save my own life.

Organization of SOP

  • A “hook” that demonstrates your passion for the field
  • Explain your background in the field
  • Description of your academic background in the field
    • Specific classes you have taken, given by name
    • Specific professors you have had, especially if well-known in that field
  • Extracurricular activities in the field
  • Publications or other professional accomplishments in the field (perhaps conference presentations or public readings)
  • Explanations about problems in background (Only if needed)
  • Explanation of why you have chosen the specific grad school
    • Mention one or two professors in that school and what you know of and appreciate about their work/research papers
    • Specific features of the grad program that attract you

SOP / Essay Made Easy: How Your SOP Could Save Your Application from the Trash Can

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Is the SOP really important?

Students often neglect their Statements Of Purpose (SOPs as they are commonly called), because they often believe that the person in charge of the application process would not have time to go through all the SOPs that are submitted to them.

This is far from the truth.

Admission committee members have said time and time again that at least two people go through a single SOP, and that it is often the SOP that is the deciding factor while considering whether a student should be accepted by the university.

What are they looking for?

As SOPs are the only part of your application that you can fully control, taking your time to write an excellent one can only help your cause.

When committee members read your SOP, they are trying to put a face to your application.

This is where you tell them your story, tell them about the person that you are, while explaining why the program at their university is crucial for your career and future goals.

Most committee members agree that when they read a statement of purpose, they are trying to assess whether the candidate is competent and gauge his/her personality. They also pay attention to whether there is a disconnect or connect between the SOP and the letters of recommendation. An important theme of any SOP is the candidate’s enthusiasm to learn.

According to Harvard University, the SOP is an integral part of any application and is evaluated with great care by the admissions committee. They want a student’s SOP to include a background, which includes education details, work experience, volunteer work and relevant personal experiences, if any. They also want to know how this background has prepared the student for further education at their university.

It is, of course, important to keep in mind that most universities specify what they are looking for in a Statement of Purpose. Reading these guidelines is essential.

When students write general SOPs that can be used for different universities, this often puts off committee members, who often reject the student.

First impressions count!

As universities receive a large number of applications, it is important to make a strong first impression, so that the faculty member reading your SOP will pay attention to what is said throughout, thereby giving you a higher chance of consideration and acceptance.

What not to do

According to Amit P. Sheth, who has over 20 years of experience serving on an admissions committee and is presently the Director of Kno.e.sis at Wright State University, he always tries to assess whether the candidate’s SOP is original.

After years of reading SOPs, he says most committee members know whether a Statement of Purpose has been written by a student. He does this because it gives him a good indication of the candidate’s communications skills, which he believes is all the more important for MS/MA/MBA students. He then looks at whether the candidate has done his/her research on the university, the course and the faculty. Very often students write a generic essay that can be used for many universities, which makes him lose interest.

Filling in the blanks

Another purpose of a Statement of Purpose is to help the faculty fill in the blanks of your profile. For example, if you have scored badly in a subject and you have a good reason for it, you can mention it in your SOP.

Committee members have often said that personal details can sometimes make a world of difference when they arrive at a decision. A candidate with a troubled past, poorer financial background, etc., will be weighed differently from a candidate without any of these problems.

SOPs can also be used to explain incidents that played a pivotal role in your life and made you become the person that you are today.

While achievements and extracurricular activities would be mentioned in your CV, a Statement of Purpose can be used to discuss interesting experiences further.

Conclusion

To summarize, students who write original, honest essays, which intelligently connect their own research interests with those of the university, have a better chance of being accepted or taken seriously by the admissions committee.

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends.

Lastly, you can use Google to type your question and add Admission Table in front of it. You’ll likely find an answer to any study overseas questions that you have.

In case you don’t find an answer to your question, simply chat with us. We would love to answer your questions and help you get into the best school for you.

By: Vinamra S

Masters SOP: What should your Statement of Purpose include

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Masters SOP: Applications for study abroad are a complete package of documents (Resume, Statement of Purpose and Letters of Recommendation) which showcase the applicant’s qualities, marks, interest as well as future plans to the admission committee.

Masters SOP or statement of purpose is one of the most important application documents. While the resume and transcripts showcase the current knowledge status of the student, a statement of purpose shows the intent. It is an essay application for students vying for Masters or PhD program in foreign universities. It clearly outlines the academics, interest, future plans as well as the basic information about the university of the student. A well written SOP helps applicants highlight their strengths which would not be possible by the transcripts and resume alone.

MS SOP: What’s your story?

Personalising your Masters SOP is a way to connect with the Admission Committee member and begin your statement of purpose. Your story should be interesting and short. Why have you chosen to do a Masters in this course? What was the point in life when you thought, “this is what I want to learn.” What has inspired you to be in this field? Was it a book, a movie, a person or situation? What have you done to this effect?

MS SOP Sample story for Materials Engineering

sample for materials engineering

MS SOP Sample story for Mass communication

Sample for masscommunication

MS SOP: Academics and you

Academic background in a statement of purpose should be quite exhaustive, highlighting your related academic achievements. It shows your preparedness for a program. While your transcripts merely mention the marks you have scored, a brief write-up on your background will showcase your main field of interest. This section helps you narrow down your course of interest as the subjects become more specialized as you go higher up the academic ladder. Add all academic information you have gained. Do mention the important internships and the workshops that you have attended during you course.

MS SOP Sample Academic Background 1

Academics and you 1

MS SOP Sample for Academic Background 2

Academics and you 2

MS SOP: Why Program

This section showcases the purpose of the SOP. Why do you want to do UG/Masters/PhD? There has to be clarity in this section. Admission Committee looks into this section to understand if the applicant knows what s/he is getting into. What are their plans? Why does the applicant think Masters/ PhD is the next logical step? Another important aspect to be covered in this section is, ‘What do you plan to achieve with this course?’

MS SOP Sample for Why Program

MS SOP WHY sample

MS SOP: Goals

Goals are one of the most important sections of an SOP. If you do not have definite defined goals, do not bother applying. Goals show your future planning. They show your awareness regarding the programme and its scope.  Goals are divided into two parts, short term and long term goals. Short term goals as the name suggests are short term as in, the next plan after the programme or course usually within a time span of three to five years after the completion of the course. Long term goals would be something you plan to achieve within the next 15 years.

 For starters, if you plan to work after the course, look for the organizations, positions and job profile require the course you plan to do. For academically bent applicants, do mention what would be the next academic achievement you would like to prefer to add to your curriculum vitae.

MS SOP Sample for MS SOP: Goals

MS SOP Goals

MS SOP: The University

University paragraph on the SOP shows how much you know about the place you plan to join. This paragraph should show that your interests can be completely fulfilled at this university. Search online for the researches being carried out in the area of your choice. Check out the faculty and their research. What kind of internships and workshops do they have? Also, update yourself regarding the alumni. Some questions that ought to be answered in this section of an SOP should be: Why would you like to join this university? How is this university different from another? What particular courses of this university are you interested in? Are you aware of the research being carried out at the department? Who are the faculty with whom you would like to work? Is the location of the university anyways important for you?

MS SOP Sample for University Details

MS SOP University

MS SOP: Extracurricular

Universities need a rounded personality on their campus. While academic qualifications show that the applicant is suited for the particular program, extracurricular activities outline the uniqueness. Your extracurricular activities show your character, they show how you spend your time after the classes, they show that you have the capabilities to keep yourself occupied and meet people in an unknown place. Academic courses are stressful with classes, assignments and exams, students need activities to occupy themselves. Extracurricular activities show that the university fulfils the applicant’s academic as well as extracurricular goals.

MS SOP Sample for Extracurricular Activities

MS SOP Extracurricular

MS SOP: Conclusion

Like a good beginning, every article or document should have a crisp conclusion which sums up the application.

MS SOP Sample for Conclusion

MS SOP Conclusion

By: Shivani Bhatt

MBA Essay on Failure – How to write about my biggest failure

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failure-essay Most universities ask failure essays as part of the MBA essay on failure

Along with diversity, goals and ethical dilemma, MBA essays on failure are asked with an intention to learn about the maturity levels of the applicants. The intention of asking the failure question by B-schools has been summed up well below.

“No human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you fail and recover and improve, the better you are as a person. Ever meet someone who’s always had everything work out for them with zero struggle? They usually have the depth of a puddle. Or they don’t exist.”

– Chris Hardwick

 

Business schools routinely ask on essay questions on failure in life:

  • NUS MBA prompt: My biggest failure was …
  • Judge Business School, University of Cambridge: What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (200 words)
  • INSEAD France: Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned (approximately 400 words).

MBA essays on failure are usually the toughest to write for a number of reasons. The difficulty starts with primarily, the self-acknowledgement part, then, the second is telling it or penning it down for someone else to read. People do not acknowledge failure that easily. It takes a lot of strength to acknowledge the fact that we have failed. Writing the essay is also a way of acknowledging that we can fail. It is a learning process in itself. It is from a failure that we learn our true strengths and our capabilities of bouncing back. The MBA essay on failure question usually does not limit to the incidence itself. It usually asks about your reaction and what you have learnt from that failure. The ways people handle their failure tell a lot about them.

When Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, asks you to mention your learning from the most spectacular failure, it means we fail more than we would tend to agree. Listing down all our failures and the learning of the failure and then selecting the most spectacular one out of them is a huge introspection process for the applicant. Spectacular here means the failure which gave you the opportunity to learn the most from.

MBA Essay on Failure can be asked in a number of ways. Recount your failure, mention your reaction and what did you learn. The question can be any one or all three of the above.

1. NUS MBA prompt: My biggest failure was?

When you are asked to mention your biggest failure.

The admission committee wants you to mention the facts. They do not want to you to list your sob story. Mention the story in simple words with the least amount of emotions or in a matter of fact way with adequate detailing so that there is no confusion in the statements. Simply, what, where, when. Conclude it with why you think this is your biggest failure.

2. The second part of the MBA essay on failure or adversity questions deals with the ‘impact’. How did you respond?  Did you suffer any setback? Were you hurt? What did you feel? Did it change something? Were there any changes in your personal and professional relationships? Had you anticipated the failure or was it a shock? Mention your reaction to the incident, ashamed, shocked, hurt, etc.

INSEAD France asks: How did these experiences impact your relationships with others?

3. Learning

This is the final crux in which the readers are interested. What did you learn? Learn about yourself, learn about someone, or about the project, situation etc. Finally, mention an incident where you have applied the lesson learnt in the previous incident.

Failing to write the MBA essay on failure! Is it one of these?

1. Untruthfulness.

Honesty happens to be the key rule in writing the failure essay. First, be honest with yourself about the failure. The questions are direct and need a direct straight simple answer.

2. Scared of being judged.

Failure should be considered as learning experiences. The main misconception is that writing about an actual failure will result in being seen as a failure. On the contrary, writing about made up failures or fake failures or immaterial failures will cost heavily to the applicant.

3. Monetizing the failure.

Every failure is not about monetary loss. Monetary loss may be the result of the failure but not a lesson here. Failure in judging people and failure in pre-planning are more important to elaborate than mentioning the monetary loss. 4. Using too much floral language. While having good control over language is considered good, refrain from using words which would require opening the dictionary. State the incident as simply as possible. 5. Missing out on the lesson. The crux of an essay is the learning at the end. The learning should be substantial.

Examples of failure essays

Example 1: Losing the plot.

Parents never stop dreaming about their children, not ready to give up, always believing that their child is special and meant for greatness. Maybe my parents too were the victim of this folly, because despite my early brushes with failure they never lost hope. But when I fared poorly in my graduate exams, it was the last straw as it broke their heart. I can still feel the pain my result caused them, the agony they went through. I am still hoping one day I will prove them right, but till that day the pain will keep burning in their hearts and mine too.

Example 2: Realising and acknowledging

My biggest failure in life has to be my losing the plot completely during my higher secondary years and messing my exams. The failure haunts because it caused real damage to my future. The poor result meant I ended up in a second-rung college, with a gang of guys who despite their best intentions weren’t fully academically inclined. The failure also haunts because the tell-tale signs of an impending disaster were always there but I refused to acknowledge it and pushed things under the carpet like I was in pretty bad shape in Physics but I didn’t do enough about it. Looking back, a little more effort and a little more discipline could have solved matters. It is a life lesson that will always remain with me.

By: Shivani Bhatt

Top 10 qualities of MBA aspirants: Elements to highlight in your application

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Top qualities of MBA aspirants - MBA is currently the most sought-after graduate programme. However, with the increase in number of applicants, getting through an MBA programme is a rigorous and difficult exercise. To secure an admit in a prestigious Master in Business Administration programme, a candidate ought to have sound characteristics.

Essay questions asked by business schools are framed so as to judge the MBA aspirant qualities. The prime intention of the questions is whether the aspirant is the right choice for the programme. A candidate with the right aptitude and skill will succeed while someone not suited for the field will not be able to cope with the pressure.

Top 10 qualities of MBA Students:

Sl. No

Quality

Application element

1

Analytical and Presentation Skills

LOR

2

Communication Skills

Video essays and Interview

3

Ambition and motivation

Essay, Resume

4

Discipline

LOR

5

Creativity and Innovation

Essays

6

Leadership

Essays, Resume

7

Problem solving and decision making skills

Essays, LOR

8

Integrity and Ethics

Essays, LOR

9

Team ownership

Essay

10

Passion for Development

Essay, Resume

Top 10 qualities of MBA Students with Examples

The important qualities to be showcased in the application documents are explained in detail with examples below.

1. Analytical and Presentation Skills

Getting data will not suffice if one cannot present the desired analysis of the data in a very clear, crisp way with attention-grabbing approach. Therefore, an MBA aspirant has to develop analytical and presentation skills, one of the top qualities of MBA aspirants. These skills are showcased through Letters of Recommendation and goals essay. Referees mention the analytical skills with adequate examples.

2. Communication Skills

Any effective top executive needs to be able to communicate well. Though these skills get perfected in a B-school, it actually helps getting through the programme if the skills are honed before starting B-school. With video essays and interviews increasingly becoming common as part of the application process, good communication skills provide a positive aspect in the admission process.

3. Ambition and motivation

An MBA programme is useless if an aspirant does not have clear ambition as well as motivation to achieve the ambition. The MBA career path is not for the fainthearted. It is for people who can get hands-on and seize opportunities and challenges. The committee seeks individuals with career dreams and deep resources of motivation and autonomy to realise them. Work experience featured in the resume often becomes a method of judging the ambition and motivation of a candidate to do an MBA. The kind of projects undertaken, the kind of roles played in the projects done, show ambition and motivation for MBA programme. Emphasize your work done to your benefit.

4. Discipline

Discipline is one characteristic which is mandatory in any field one chooses to continue his/her life in, an MBA aspirant included. An MBA aspirant ought to be terribly self-disciplined. Not only will the MBA programme involve intensive work, the number of assignments and classes along with projects make it more difficult to keep track. To have a decent grasp of the material and to see that the work is being completed timely, you will need to own nice time management skills. Discipline will come handy after the programme as well. One of the top qualities of MBA aspirants, discipline is primarily highlighted in a Letter of Recommendation.

5. Creativity and Innovation

As technology moves forward and societies and markets modify, the abilities of savvy adaptation become an integral part of management. Creativity and innovation will not only help you in furthering your aims and ambitions, it will also help you grow in an and with the organisation you plan to work with. Part of the leadership essays, creativity and innovation is usually asked along with team ownership and integrity and ethics.

6. Leadership

Leadership is one of the top qualities of MBA aspirants. An MBA degree is designed for those who have or want to have leadership roles in their organizations. The leadership skills are exhibited in four basic skills: Problem solving and decision making skills, integrity and ethics, team ownership and passion for development. For example: Where in your background would we find evidence of your leadership and or potential?

7. Problem-solving and decision-making skills

Managers need to have all the information to take crucial decisions to help the company. They are also required to be unbiased regarding the decisions to be taken. The problem-solving skills develop from interaction with time and regular interaction with different area experts. It is also not restricted to any particular area or division but keeping in view the entire process or organization. Questions on problem-solving abilities can be direct, e.g. the Boston University School of Management prepares innovative and ethical leaders who understand the impact of business on society and who seek to create value for the world. Please describe a situation in which you created value for an organization or group. What was the outcome? We encourage you to consider your contributions in both professional and community settings. (up to 250 words).

8. Integrity and Ethics

Another key skill of a leader. Integrity and ethics go a long way in developing the personality of a manager. Integrity helps in building trust with both employees and colleagues (both senior and junior). It also establishes a manager as authority in organizations. Also, ethics play a big role in the development and establishment of an organization. Leadership and ethics are inevitably intertwined in the business world. Describe a situation in which you have dealt with these issues and how they have influenced you.

9. Team ownership

One of the most important aspects of leaders. Leaders work with teams. While leaders credit the team for its success, failures are always a responsibility of the leaders. This is one skill which cannot be learned, people are born with this skill. Ownership also includes praising in public and admonishing/criticizing in private. Questions on team spirit usually ask about the experience and the learning. For example: Describe a situation where you had to work jointly with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience?

10. Passion for development

Leadership does not end at problem solving, integrity and ethics and problem-solving skills. A big part of leadership skills involves innovating and learning and looking for opportunities for personal as well as personnel skill development. This aspect of your personality can be showcased in optional essay questions which ask for what more do you have to tell us? Some part of the candidate’s personality which was not able to be showcased anywhere else. For e.g., the question asked by Harvard, ‘You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your resume, academic transcripts, extracurricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores, and what your referees have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?’

Business schools develop leaders who can contribute to society and organisation. Candidates ought to show that they can lead others even before setting foot on the field. This does not mean developing with grand and sweeping examples that forever modify the course of history. The examples may be small and meaningful as well as noteworthy.

By: Shivani Bhatt

MBA Essays: Tackling Ethics and Challenge Essay questions

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Ethics

MBA essay questions include questions on ethics and challenges as well as diversity, goals, failure, team spirit and leadership. The MBA essay questions intend to understand the non-academic aspect of the applicant. Ethical dilemma questions aim to gauge the candidate’s maturity in handling issues.

Examples of ethical dilemma questions

  • Describe the most difficult decision you have made and its effect on you.
  • Describe a situation in which your ability to perform ethically was challenged. What was the issue, how did you handle it, and what did you learn from it?
  • Describe an ethical dilemma that you faced and how it was resolved.
  • When have your values, ethics or morals were challenged? How has this shaped who you are today?

For an incident to be an ethical dilemma, it should follow three conditions. First, there should be a decision-making authority, second, there should be at least two equally difficult choices which do not provide a complete solution and third, irrespective of the solution or course of action taken, some ethics were compromised.

Ethical Dilemma MBA Essay: The decision maker

MBA Essays are an attempt to know the social side of an applicant. The essay is about experiences of the applicant. The decision maker is the first and foremost condition for the MBA essay on ethical dilemma. If you were not the decision maker, this is not your essay. Please do not write it. You do not have to be embroiled in a big ethics issue to be able to write down an essay. The focus is on your decision-making skills and not the complexity of the case.

Ethical Dilemma MBA Essay: The ethical dilemma

Answers to questions on ethical dilemma are difficult to write because while it should not show you as an ethical person, being portrayed as an extremely honest person is also not recommended. Ethical dilemma questions are aimed to test the applicant’s maturity and judgement skills and not integrity. While answering questions on ethical dilemma, avoid quoting incidences which are illegal and question your integrity.

Uncomfortable situations lacking a choice do not qualify for ethical dilemmas. Worked under a tough boss who has made you work hard does not qualify to be an ethical dilemma.

Briefly, describe the incident. Also, mention what led to the situation along with your position on the issue.

Ethical Dilemma MBA Essay: The options

When penning down MBA essays on ethical dilemma, always use an incident which has two or more solutions. Along with ‘ethics’ which is about right or wrong, the anecdote should focus on ‘dilemma’ this is about choosing one of two or more solutions. The situation should have two or more solutions which are equally difficult and unsatisfactory as well as unable to provide a complete solution. Therefore, the choice should not be between a right and wrong solution, but between two or more equally unsatisfactory solutions.

Ethical Dilemma MBA Essay: The conflict and resolution

There should be a clear conflict in the options towards resolutions. Discuss the circumstances which have caused the situation to arise as well as your personal values that have conflicted in the decision-making process. Along with the incidence, mention the pros and cons of each option and the affected parties. Analyse the consequences of the actions in all the options.

Elaborate on how you tackled the situation. Defend your decision. You should also be able to defend or explain why you chose one over the other. Was the decision favoured by all the decision making as well as affected parties? Discuss your decision and how you have reached the decision. Also, the merits it had over the other option? This will demonstrate your ethical decision-making skills.

Ethical Dilemma MBA Essay: The impact

Measuring the impact of the decision is as important as the decision taken. Was the impact as expected? If no, what went wrong? What was the result of your decision? How did the decision impact you?

Ethical Dilemma MBA Essay: The experience

Analyse your learning. What were the lessons from this experience? What did you learn from the experience? Would you do it again if similar circumstances arise? Will you handle it any differently? Will you take some precautions?

Apart from the ethical dilemma, B-schools ask questions on diversity, goals, team spirit, leadership, passion etc.

By: Shivani Bhatt

MBA Essays: Tackling questions related to Diversity

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MBA Application Essays: Diversity essays are an important aspect of application essays for business schools. They are intended to know the candidate’s surroundings, values, beliefs which are not possible through other essays. The common questions in this group are:

1. How will you contribute to the diversity of the University/School?

2. Why you?

3. If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why?

4. What is unique about your background and experience that you would bring to your classmates at MBS?

5. How will you contribute to your classes and to the AGSM community?

Popularly known as diversity essays, these questions are an attempt to look into the applicant’s non-academic or social background. Diversity here does not only mean cultural, national, or racial diversity. Through the question, the Admission Committee (ADCOM) wants to understand how unique you are. What is the trait about you that is different from others in the course? How will you as a person contribute to the course? Is there something worth learning from you? MBA Application essay on Diversity is not just about race; here it is about geographic, socio-economic, cultural, religious, people with various disabilities. Read on to know how to write MBA application essays on diversity.

Stuck with your essays? Download MBA Application Essays Samples.

Apt Title

Every MBA Application essay should have an apt title, to make the ADCOM or anyone for that matter to read on. While titles are glimpses of what’s to come, they should never be a gimmick. The reader should get more information when they read the whole essay and not feel tricked.

Being Unique

As the information about other applicants is not known, deciding why one is unique is a difficult task. Physical achievements know no bounds, it can be a big feat for someone to go down the Grand Canyon but then there might be someone else there who has visited the Challenger deep.

The uniqueness has to be about the person and their thoughts and the actions they have taken or the lessons they have learnt. It can be something as basic as philately, pottery, and origami or as big as participating in a Desert car rally. What is notable here is take-away of these activities. Teaching origami or chess to kids, or may be organising pottery workshops for old age home residents as a part of therapy and entertainment, counts towards diversity.

For that matter, a sports person, or someone who has learned a different language and experience the culture, or someone who plays in a band, anyone who has shown initiative in his life in however small a way matters.

Leadership, Focus, and Team spirit

Before writing an MBA application essay, it is important to remember that business schools aim to create future leaders and are, therefore, looking for people with team skills and leadership traits. You do not need to have performed exceptional feats to be able to write about your possible contribution to the school/university. So, in case, you have climbed Mount Everest, which would be very good but if you have led your school group on a treasure hunt successfully or unsuccessfully also works. The aspect to focus on here is to be able to showcase how and to what degree the situations or challenges you have been in have affected or changed you, the changes can be positive or negative, or both.

Politically Correct

While being honest is good, we should be politically correct at the same time. In the present scenario, racial diversity is not as important as diversity of experience. In case, you decide to write about racial diversity, instead write about cultures, people, family, travel, social discomfort, maturation and introspection without the racial characteristics. The MBA application essay write-up should be more about the diversity observed and changes incorporated within the self. More than prejudices, the diversity essay should be showcasing your response to the situation you were in, what have you learnt from your experiences and more importantly how has it moulded your world view.

Similarly, views on LGBTQIA issues should be best avoided.

YOU

The diversity essay is about YOU, so instead of trying to impress the ADCOM with some great unachievable feat you have been planning, explain who you are, what are your life experiences, perspectives and background. Mention a story or episode from your life which has affected you.

Humour

There is a fine line between humour and offence. Keep the humour to a line or two. If you have doubts on the humour, remove it. Culturally, what is humour for one person might be offensive to someone else.

ADCOM members read through numerous MBA application essays and can smell a fake or doctored essay from a mile. They have already read about all the great feats done and planned. Rather than explaining why you are unique, concentrate on who you are, your upbringing, your culture, your environment etc. to naturally set you apart from the other applicants.

By: Shivani Bhatt

6 Tips to Write an MBA Application Essay

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MBA Application essay tipsMBA applications require a number of essays to be answered. Different essay topics require different approaches while answering them. But all essays need the applicant to follow some basic approaches. Read on to know about some key MBA application essay tips.

The toughest part is writing the essay with clarity. The applicant should have clarity regarding issues or anecdotes while drafting the essays. The MBA Application Essays require applicants to showcase qualities essential for pursuing a programme in management.

The essential traits of an MBA applicant are motivation, leadership, team player, perseverance, integrity, analytical as well as innovative. These traits are to be showcased and substantiated in various essays. MBA aspirants compete with numerous applicants with similar backgrounds. You should, therefore, understand how to write an MBA application essay to ensure an admit. Follow these MBA application essay tips to ensure that your essay shines in the competitive admissions process.

MBA Application essay tip: Stick to the question 

MBA application questions are very specific. Analyse the prompt thoroughly. The clue to the questions lies in the question itself.

UC Berkeley asks in one of its optional questions, ‘Describe a difficult decision you have made and why it was challenging.’ (250 words)

The key to this question is

1. Describe

2. Why

3. 250 words

There are two parts in this question and the word count is given. The two parts are to be given equal importance and, therefore, ideally should be answered in approximately equal word counts, which in this case is 125 words.

MBA Application essay tip: Plan your essay 

One of the most important MBA application essay tips is to ‘Organise your thoughts’. Brainstorm ideas and anecdotes. List down all the points you want to mention in your MBA Application essays. A good planning will save you last-minute additions and eliminations from your essays. Do this well in advance to give you time to update and refresh the list. It will also help in removing redundancy from essays. Pick anecdotes which you can elaborate well. Also, one which gives you an opportunity to express our ideas and what you have learned. The admission committee is not only looking for a good story but also your perspective and analysis of the events.

MBA Application essay tip: Never go beyond the prescribed word count

The online application space will not accept more than the prescribed word limit making your application incomplete if you try to add more. At places, they allow you to input more than the prescribed word count, however, a longer essay creates a wrong impression.

MBA Application essay tip: Show not tell

A very important part of any writing exercise — show, do not tell. Rather than mentioning that you worked hard for a project, mention what steps you took to achieve your results. Also, elaborate on the learning of the incident, and if required, realisations for improvement.

MBA Application essay tip: Vocabulary and language

MBA aspirants have completed at the least their undergraduate degree and therefore the vocabulary of the essays should show the education level of the aspirant. Care should be taken to avoid colloquial words in the MBA Application essays. Keeping that in mind, avoid extremely advanced vocabulary which would require the admission committee to either open a dictionary or overlook your essay. Too many big words make the applicant look pompous instead of impressive. Check the various online language resources like dictionaries, thesaurus to learn the correct shade of meaning and usage of a word.

MBA Application essay tip: Second opinion

As creators of essays, we believe that we have done a perfect and flawless job. To be extra sure, ask friends, family, teachers and other professionals to review your essay before you submit MBA Application essay. A useful MBA application essay tip is to look for a second opinion as it always helps to identify issues with the content.

MBA application essays questions are framed around topics like goals, diversity, ethics and failure. Though the topics are different, your approach to all the essays should be same. The most important point to remember is to practice. Write, review, improve, re-edit your essays. MBA Application essays can make or break an application.

By: Shivani Bhatt

How to write the best SOP for Master of Science Program

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SOP tips for MS (Master of Science Program) - The Statement of Purpose (SoP) is one of the most important elements of the application package for admission to MS programmes in universities abroad.In fact, an SOP is the vital aspect that decides whether your application for the MS programme will be accepted or rejected. The reason behind this is that the SoP reflects your intentions for pursuing the programme. Best thing about an SOP is that you are given a chance to explain yourself through it. More often than not, transcripts and certificates highlight only your academic prowess and that too, not to the full extent of your capabilities. A Statement of Purpose for MS gives you the chance to take the admission panel into the world of your aspirations and the ideas that influence you.

For MS programmes abroad, an SOP is a mandatory element. Hence, it is important that you perfect your SOP.

Here we bring you some important SOP tips for MS programmes with samples attached to drive home the point.

1.  Keep your MS specialization in mind:

As part of the application package, one of the important things to consider before writing a statement of purpose for MS is your specialization. Make sure you highlight your specialization in the beginning of the SOP itself. Let’s say, you plan to pursue MS in Computer Science. In that case, your SOP should highlight elements which reflect your intention and reasons for wanting to join the MS course.

Here are a few samples how to start your SOP:

MS in Computer Science:

A few areas of my education have stimulated me to think as much as my undergraduate studies in Computer Programming and applied science. I was awestruck by the potential of a computer; in the way it’s faster and more powerful versions revolutionized the working of mankind.

“The computer is the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”- This quote by Steve Jobs reverberated in mind every time I entered the computer library to learn programming languages as well as concepts that explain the core of the computer and the infinite possibilities that we can explore through this medium.

 MS in Civil Engineering:

In this ever-changing world of engineering, where each new day sees birth of new concepts and applications, civil engineering, I believe, is the only field where your idea can be seen and understood directly. It is civil engineering which has made modern bridges, high-rise buildings or ultra-modern condominiums possible in today’s world. I am fortunate to be the daughter of a civil engineer, whose professional influence contributed to my engineering orientation early on.

2. Reflect your intention:

It is always important that you reflect your intention to be a part of the institution for the particular course. Start with your undergraduation- your subjects of interest and move forward with what propelled you to choose the particular course and why do you think the particular university you are applying to will help you serve your purpose.

Here are a few examples:

a.  During the four years of my undergraduation in *****, I explored the academic as well as practical aspects of ***** in the classroom, as a research assistant and through internships with companies.

Past summer, I worked as an intern for the engineering technology company ***** I worked on many projects, broadening my understanding of this field.

SOP for sociology:

b. My interest in ***** was sparked off by a lecture by the influential author, ****. It was in his class that I got to ideas and theories that govern us and also understand about sociological influences that affect our daily lives. In fact, the valuable experiences I have gained through my classes in ***** have encouraged me to enrich my academic background in sociology further through joining your institution.

3. Choose your angle:

 Before starting the SOP, write the most important points that have impacted your decision to join an MS course in the particular subject. Once you have jotted down the points, analyse them and select the best point to create an angle for your SOP. You can definitely use other points but there should be one critical point that defines your reasons for joining the course. This point could be anything- family, personal, academic. It could also be about a particular incident in your life that influenced you to explore the course further.

Here are a few examples:

a. During my school, I worked on a Physics project where I had to construct logic gates and latches using circuit elements. I was so astounded by the Power of Electrical & Electronics that I knew if there is one thing that I would give up anything to understand this.

b. I began a round of soul searching, trying to understand my aspirations in life after graduating with excellent grades in computer science from one of the best institutes in (country): (institute). I suddenly got the answer one day, when I realized that I wanted to know how can I learn to apply my knowledge in this field to the daily lives of people. I want my knowledge in Artificial Intelligence to be part of the world’s evolution. Therefore, I believe (university), the world’s leading academy, will be my best next step to pursue my aspirations.

4. Highlight your experiences in the field: 

Sometimes, universities in the USA, UK, and Australia, among others, demand work experience for admission to their MS courses.Whether you have internship experience or actual work experience in the field, it is always advisable to express your learning experiences in your Statement of Purpose. Point out what you learnt from each experience and how it influenced you to take up further studies. You can also highlight any performance appreciations you might have got in your job to prove your knowledge and interest in the job.

Here are some examples:

a. My need to understand the requirements of the industry propelled me to accept an employment opportunity after my undergraduation. My employment as a Software Engineer at ***** was a very good opportunity to gain training and work experience in the Information Management domain.

5.  Answer the major questions:

A Statement of Purpose is basically like an internal assessment of your personality and your desires- whether you are good enough for the course or not. It is, therefore, important that you should have answers to all the basic questions that could crop up in in the admission panel’s mind. Here are some of the points that you should definitely mention:

a.  What was your previous qualification?

Under-graduation or Masters or any other degree which makes you eligible.

b.  What is the programme of interest?

While this is highlighted in the application form, it is necessary that you highlight your course of interest in your SOP.

c.  Why do you want to pursue the programme?

Give reasons in detail about your intention to join the programme. What are the factors that interest you, what inspired you to join the programme?

d.  Projects

Mention the projects you have worked on. Ideally, they should be related to the programme. But you can also mention projects that reflect other skills.

e. Events and clubs

Try to mention the important clubs or events that you have been part of. The idea here is to show the aspects that influenced you and brought out some quality in you.

f. Work experience

For those who have work experiences, it is advisable to mention the same with the kind of skills you have learnt in the organization.

g.  Aspirations

Take advantage of your SOP to mention your dreams and desires. Highlight ideas which you want to turn into reality through the programme.

6. Share examples through personal experiences: 

The important thing to remember about an SOP is that it is a personal statement of intent to join the programme with the university. Hence, it should highlight your personal experiences and how they have shaped you as a person. Maybe, you had some experiences when you were a child which were major turning points in your life and pushed you toward this field or your family members already working in the said field which influenced you to be a part of it.

Try to mention fascinating experiences which deliver on your purpose to join the programme.

Here are a few examples:

a. Through the opportunities I have had through my college projects, I have found an interest in research work and a strong understanding of problem solving that this field involves.

b. Many factors have influenced my decision of pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering. During my undergraduate days, I took classes from (mentor name), who provided deep insights into many aspects of the civil engineering.

By: Bedasree Das