How to write a good Statement of Purpose

How to write a good Statement of Purpose

Can you write a good Statement of purpose (SOP)? The SOP is an important essay or write-up when applying for graduate school.  A good SOP is very relevant in getting fully funded programs and its use in admission decisions cannot be overlooked. However, only a few people can write winning SOPs during their application process. This article explains what SOP is and how to write a winning SOP for graduate school applications.

What is an SOP

The SOP is an essay written during the graduate school application process that explains your reasons for applying to the program. SOP is usually 1 to 2 pages and most times should not exceed 3 pages. In certain programs, the number of pages, word, or character limit for the essay is specified. You may be required to write a series of essays to answer specific questions in certain applications. Whatever may be the case you will certainly need to write an SOP for your graduate school application.

How to write a good Statement of Purpose

Now that you understand the importance of an SOP, we will go through the steps to write a good SOP in general. To come out with a good SOP you will need to do a lot of research. You must know about the program you are applying for, faculty research areas, publications, research centers, and laboratories. The number of paragraphs in an SOP can vary depending on how you want to write it. The SOP should typically include these sections and they should be well structured to tell a good story about yourself.

  • Qualifications

The essay should discuss your academic and professional qualifications which make you fit for the program. This may include your degrees, and courses taken relevant to your chosen field of study. You must also include fieldwork, laboratory work, internships, research, and publications during your studies and career path.

  • Why the particular school and program

This should tell why you selected the school and program amongst all other schools. Here you can talk about the research impact the school has globally, funding opportunities, the eminent faculty members they have, well-equipped laboratories, and research centers. You can also mention the potential faculty members whose research intrigues you. Also, if you have contacted some faculty and have good response you can include it in the SOP.

  • Motivation for pursuing graduate school

Graduate school is very stressful and there are instances where students abandon the program due to their inability to manage the stress associated with it. The graduate school admission team wants to know your motivation and find out whether it is strong enough to keep you going.

  • Career goals

The SOP should include your career and professional goals both short and long-term. This should explain what you want to achieve with a graduate degree. The research problems or gaps you want to tackle and your contributions to your chosen field in the next 10 to 15 years. Finally, what you want to become in the future and how graduate school will help you achieve that.

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