How to write an SOP ? ( A Complete Guide for SOP writing)
Throughout my experience as an SOP writer, I have realized that Statement of Purpose, despite its importance, perhaps is the most misunderstood aspect of any application.
Most students come to me and say that they are doing a particular course from a certain university and they want an SOP to send with their applications.
And, believe it or not, they do not understand what they actually want. They have no idea regarding how to write an sop.
Of course, SOP is definitely not something every student would often write. But knowing what they want is always a prerequisite to get an exceptionally well written SOP, or anything else for that matter.
However, having years of experience in delivering engaging and befitting SOPs that match the requirements of the university, I understand the requirements of the clients pretty effortlessly.
Unlike most other SOP writers in India one can find, I approach SOPs systematically weaving personal elements of the candidates into the document carefully.
This enables the SOPs to reflect the personality, academic prowess, motivations and ambitions of the candidates in the best light.
Now, let us understand what makes a perfect SOP that describes you as rightful candidate to the program and university you are applying to. Before detailing how to write an sop, let’s have a glance on the basics.
What is an SOP, anyway?
Most of the students who come to me to write an SOP often ask me a question;
“What is a Statement of Purpose?”
Well, I understand they know SOP is a document of relevant personal, academic and professional encounters of a candidate hitherto. Along with her motivations and aspirations of doing a particular program from a particular university in a particular country, it is an account of the past, the present and future of the candidate.
Yes, most of them know what it is and they understand it well. But what most of them do not understand is how to structure one and what to include in an SOP to make it win the admission.
That is exactly what we are going to discuss here.
I will discuss here the process I go through when a candidate approaches me for best SOP writing services and what makes a Statement of Purpose engaging, convincing, original and all the more unique from the rest of the lot.
Why hire best SOP writers in India?
This gets a lot trickier than you expect it to. I have students asking me;
Can I use my senior’s SOP, making a few changes?
Can I download a sample from the internet and make a few changes?
Well, these are all up to the student to decide. But I go asking—why do you do that?
If it is about the money, then think about this.
You are probably going to spend lakhs of rupees if you get admission for your program and your SOP would probably cost you a couple of thousands, only. Comparing it to the cost of doing your program, it does not even account to even half a percent.
If you do the math, you will understand.
More importantly, SOP is an important element that helps you get the admission. If you are trying to become mediocre and sound generic, there is no chance of you getting through the admission committee. And, that’s what you get when you edit someone else’s SOP without having an idea regarding how to write an sop that is unique and attention grabbing, the one which has the potential to convince the admission committee.
So it is really important to get your SOP written by a professional SOP writer India. If you are serious about getting admission to your dream program in your dream institute, that is.
Also, be assured that if you are willing to make the investment now, it will surely be worth it. Because, over the years, I have seen candidates do that and hence, I know so.
Create a document that talks about you—the candidate
Many people misunderstand SOP to be a document to boast of and create stories from thin air to get through the admission committee.
You have it wrong. All of the admission committee members have years of experience sitting there and reading SOPs and there is no way you can get around fooling them.
So the first thing you need to understand about your SOP is to make it all about yourself—about your;
One of the reasons to make it all about you is to make it unique. None of the others would have your aspirations, your motivations and you personality and attitude. Sounding genuine and being yourself is the key to win over the admission committee.
That is the reason I ask the candidate the question;
“How will you describe yourself, personally, academically and professionally?”
Of course, many candidates do not understand what each of it means. And we sit and talk about it for a while to get the details that we need to write a convincing SOP.
It is always important that you never make up stories to make your SOP sound unique because the committee would know when they see one. Ensure that you always try to be the normal you than being an exceptional someone you are not.
Pretension can always get you into troubles and always keep that in your mind.
So let the SOP talk about you—the real you. That is what is unique and being an experienced SOP writer, I know it will sure work for you.
Takeaway for students:
“SOP is an account of your personality—about your dreams, motivations and attitude. You cannot reflect you on someone else’s SOP. Hence, always make it your own.”
Make stories for the admission committee
Nothing engages anyone like a story does. Being a writer, and avid reader, I understand this better than anyone.
You don’t want to make your SOP sound too formal, dire and rigid and lifeless.
So what do you want to make it? How to write an sop that hold personal essence in it?
Your SOP must be conversational—as if you are talking, less formal when need be, and above all, personal.
How can I, one of the many SOP writing consultants in India who does not know anything about you, write about your motivations and aspirations?
This is where I have a questionnaire prepared for each of the candidates to understand about them better—even in lines and perspectives that the students might not have thought themselves of, yet.
The questions are;
- How will you portray yourself?
- What accomplishment of yours you feel can be helpful for you to secure the admission?
- What is the reason that motivates you to select the specific course?
- How much you know about the concerned course?
- Why you specifically preferred the particular institution?
- How you will fund the course?
- What are you planning after the course is completed?
This helps me understand what I need to write a compelling SOP.
Couple of months ago, a candidate came to me wanting an SOP for a university in the US and she had a pretty convincing motivation to convey. That was good.
However, the problem was, she did not have exceptional academic scores to display. She was really worried about it. As she carried out several assignments, project works and internships and underwent training programs to prepare well for the masters, she really wanted to get into that university pretty badly.
So, like I ask any student, I asked her the question;
“Do you have any particular achievement that you consider helpful in securing admission?
She said she had not and that she had been a normal student.
Can we write something of that sort? Of course, we can’t and as such, we had to figure another way out.
So we decided to back her aspirations with her strong motivation and her personality to convey that she will be a great addition to the university’s roster.
Her preparations for the program were also utilized in ways to make her desire to pursue the program stronger and respectable.
Even while student does not have exceptional academic transcripts, it is important to ascertain through the SOP that the student is prepared to meet the academic challenges of the program she is seeking admission to.
Takeaway for students:
“It is perfectly alright to have normal academic experiences and scores. You do not have to always have anything spectacular to write on your SOP. How genuine we are and how intelligently we are able to tell our stories is what really counts.”
Make your stories relatable, relevant and valuable
Now you know that you have to make stories and that the stories must talk about you. But how would you make them relevant to your past, the present and to your future aspirations.
That is what we; SOP writing services India are for. We can bring elements that you would not probably have thought are relevant to your SOP and elevate the value of your SOP.
I always look for quantities in the details that a candidate gives us because quantities make it easy for people to comprehend.
Not so long ago, I was approached by a student who wanted to do MBA in Human Resource Management from one of the most venerated universities in the UK. He had exceptional academic record and been very active in extra-curricular activities.
However, he said he wanted to do MBA in HRM because he had associated with an NGO that worked with various organizations to improve the employment conditions of the employees.
But that was not enough and I knew there was more to it.
As I asked him more about it, he gave more details such as the tenure he had been with the NGO, the number of people he had interacted with, the number of organizations he had visited and how many organizations the NGO had been able to influence etc.
This was great information to justify his desire to do MBA in HRM and we played around it to create a compelling SOP that was every bit, genuine, insightful and unique.
Takeaway for students:
“Having quantitative data can instantly make the SOP more readable and understandable and give a newer perspective to the readers. If it important to quantify the stories well and display the results rather than just the actions, take my word, the admission committee will remember your name.”
Make your stories specific and your SOP will become so
I do not know if you have heard the story of a boy in an exam.
The story goes like this; the boy went into the examination without studying. Why did he not study? We do not know—maybe he was sick or he overslept. Anyway, he did not study.
But there was only one question.
“Describe a cow”.
Poor boy! He did not know what to write. But as intelligent as he was, he immediately tied the cow onto a coconut tree and then, he described the tree.
We do not know what happened to the boy; whether he passed or failed. But, the point is, you should never be the boy in the exam.
But in your case, if you do so, you will surely fail.
So, what I am trying to say here is that you must know what to write on your SOP and be specific about it. You are no way writing a thesis here. Do not write anything thinking that it sounds cool or will impress the committee.
Always introspect about what you write and really dig deeper into the details that you are trying to convey.
Do not say something vague like you are so passionate about the field and want to do masters. That does not sound right.
If you want to say something like that, do it indirectly.
You can say what made you passionate and how it grew with you as you grew up. It assumes greater value and the committee will take you seriously.
One of the most important aspects of writing an SOP is to give a “what” in the SOP then explain the “why” of it. Often the “why” is more important and can get you where you want to go.
Takeaway for students:
“Even though you are trying to say a story in a conversational tone to the admission committee, you need to be specific and make sense. You can think that the committee is your friend but they are not. Do not beat the bush around. You might be able to walk around it once. Anything more than that is a risk and it is not worth taking, at all.”
Never shy away from addressing your problems
Not all students can have perfect scores, academic experiences and stories to tell, and it is absolutely fine to be like that. But what is not fine is to hide your problems.
If you had any gaps in your career, failed a semester or any issues related to your work, embrace it and try to be as much honest as possible.
There can always be reasons for it, it can be ill-health, family issues, personal tragedy or even an emotional setback.
While you explain those, it is more important to explain how you overcame these issues and the lessons you have learned for these. And explain how those lessons can help you fare better in your masters or any other higher studies and even in your career later.
Your lessons would feel more important to the selection committee than the setbacks you had to face.
It will also help the selection committee to understand that you have matured through the experiences and you will understand the challenges you have to face during your higher studies.
Takeaway for students:
“Candidates need to understand that SOP is also an opportunity to explain how candidates were able to overcome certain challenges during their academic and professional career. Your motivation and aspiration backed by personal experiences can make the candidature all the more valuable and important for the university.”
Now that you have understood how to write your SOP, it is important you also know how to present the same. Just because these are after thoughts, it does not mean they are less important.
Pay attention to these points.
- Structure your SOP logically
- Ensure a natural flow of thought
- Edit the SOP couple of times
- Have someone review the same
The final checklist
If you have done the same, then finally it is time you ran an important checklist for your SOP to ensure that you have everything to make it a legitimately unique SOP from the rest of the applications.
- A unique introduction about yourself
- Details about your academic experience, refrain from explaining your marks.
- Your experience outside of your education in school in extracurricular activities.
- Your academic background in the field of study you are applying for.
- The experiences you had related to the field of study you are applying for.
- Special courses or specific classes you have taken related to the field of study you are applying for.
- Any type of leadership experience or community service you attended while in college.
- What all do you already know about the subjects or the course you are applying for.
- What made you choose the country to pursue the program?
- Explain why you choose the university you are applying for; its faculty, infrastructure and facilities.
- Professional experience if you have any.
- How you are going to fund your study, stay and all other expenses.
- All about your aspirations
- Your intentions after completing your masters.
While this is not a definite guide that everyone must follow, I certainly follow this. This has helped all my clients get admissions to the universities they wanted. Irrespective of the ideas given here, there are plenty of options to make any SOP more personal and unique by adding personal elements.
SOP is always dynamic and whoever writes, it never ceases to be.