There is an internship you want to apply for or a conference you want to attend. The event is exclusive, and chances are, you will need to write an SOP or a motivation letter for the same.
You’re not alone though. You know thousands other have applied for the same. You’re better, you know it. Your resume sparkles and it speaks volumes, but still, there’s something missing though.
No matter how perfect you do everything, there is one thing that breathes life into your application, called Statement of Purpose.
An SOP can make your application exclusive, but it can also be the reason it gets buried within hundreds of other applications.
This guide covers the various aspects of writing a kickass SOP (Statement of Purpose), right from the foundation to the little accessories you can attach!
The What and Why Of Writing An Statement of Purpose
Well, it’s a really big wall of text you write.
An SOP is an essay you write for a screening team. The essay is about you. What specifically? Well, everything in general. This essay is a reflection of you, your past, your present, and your future.
Well, the essence truly is, but the goal of an SOP is to convince the screening team why you’re a perfect candidate for whatever you’re applying for.
A good statement of purpose breathes life into your application and creates a sense of individuality in your application compared to other applications, and kind of makes you sheet of paper unique in the bundles of applications that are yet to be reviewed.
Of course, anything that makes the screening team go over your application twice is good, and a good SOP is a good opportunity!
An SOP, in terms of dynamic and static, is dynamic. The subject is not fixed and can be abstract if you wish it to be, and that is how a good SOP should be. ‘Statement of Purpose’ sounds formal, but in actuality, it is not.
A statement of purpose could be a prose or a story.
Although the subject is variable, the end-goal remains the same, to convince the reader that you’re a perfect candidate. Your application does the job, your resume is good, and so is your CV. You’ve got the skills section covered, and all that remains is your motivation.
How do you do that?
You can do that by telling the reader how your life unfolded, and how you landed in the place you’re at right now, what has been your motivation, and why is it your motivation.
A good SOP is like a short autobiography, where you tell the reader about your life experiences, successes and failures alike. You talk about how those failures helped you become a better person than who you were the day before, you talk about your successes and everything in between.
But be honest, and never lie on your SOP.
Let’s discuss a few places where SOP is needed, and how you should write them!
When writing an SOP for a college, you need to convince the reader that you want to study at that university. The reasons could be many, but they must be convincing.
Conferences and Workshops:
When you apply for either of them, you need to show the reader what you can contribute to the discussions that shall be taking place there.
It could be a paper that you’re working on or an idea you wish to spread. The screening team wants people who can be productive, and engage confidently in the discussions that will be taking place.
Internships, Fellowships, and Jobs :
When you apply for an internship or a fellowship in an organisation, the screening team wants people who want to contribute and learn. You have to convince the reader that you, with your skills, is a perfect fit for the vacancy they have.
Scholarships and Grants:
A scholarship or grant is money that is offered to you for a given purpose. It could be for academics, for research or maybe an amount to incubate your business.
More often than not, the people who require these may have already requested you on how you’ll use your funds, but nevertheless, your SOP should cover that as well, maybe not in depth, but still in clarity.
The reader needs to be convinced how you will use the funds that are allocated to you to reach the goal you’ve specified. You need to convince how you’re a perfect candidate to receive the funding.
How To Tell Your Story?
Introduce yourself, your interests and motivations. Keep it short, readable and comprehensive.
You should answer questions like :
What kind of environment did you grow up in?
What kind of have inspired you the most?
Which qualities about them appealed to you?
Which moments in your life have inspired you to take up your major?
Summarise your academic career :
This is the area where you describe your academic achievements and interests. Be as specific and brief as you can.
Here you can discuss the research you have conducted, the projects you have worked on. Describe the project motivation, problems faced, expected results and results achieved. Also, mention the mentor you worked under and the fellows you worked with.
Please do mention any important paper or project thesis you completed or any other scholarly achievement, along with any work experience you have had.
Discuss the relevance of your actions :
Your past actions are a very important metric to judge your future reactions. This describes your personality more than anything else.
You should give an insight into your decision-making process and your priorities while making choices.
Reason out why you choose your stream after 10th grade, what was your undergraduate choice based on, how did you go about choosing your specialisation and why did you choose the university/School you are applying to.
Describe your Intellectual development
Here you indicate what you would like to study in graduate school in enough detail to convince the faculty that you understand the scope of research in their discipline, and are engaged with current research themes.
Describe your interests. Show the efforts that you have put in by drawing parallels between what you want to research on an ongoing research in the University/School.
End your statement in a positive manner, indicating your excitement and readiness for the challenges ahead of you.