Writing this document can be really interesting and on the same hand it can also be the hardest thing you will ever do. The assessment authority looks for the details which are expected out of a genuine student and SOP gives them a fair chance to include the same. The key to write an awesome personal statement is to keep it simple yet informative. No one wants to open a dictionary every now and then…
Below are some essential points you should remember while writing for yourself-
TO BEGIN WITH:
First impression is the last impression is a quote which fits in this context. Here is your chance to bring the difference and freshness by making it unique so that it wins to have a memorable imprint on the reader.
Most of the statements are similar with their structure which turns really monotonous for a reader as generally these statements start like this:
“My name is Durga Singh, I am from Punjab. I am enrolled in a Masters of International Relation program at University of (example). I have previously done my Bachelors of Arts and I have also studied Political Science. Hence, choosing this subject is a natural academic progression.”
Sounds really common?… How about now?
Durga Singh, hailing from Punjab (A state located in the far north of India). Since Childhood, I have been fascinated by the continuously changing world we live in. As I wanted to understand the human interactions, I was inspired to study Political Science in my bachelors. Being closely connected to India where political stability and good relations with her neighbors is considered democracy, I developed my interest in this subject. Hence, I am putting this statement of purpose to study Masters of International Relations at University of (example). I consider this subject to be my academic strength and my own territory anytime!
Hope you already got the idea about capturing the interest of a reader with a good start. Keep the details about your personal self in a crisp manner, highlight your achievements and interests, merits or scholarships (if any). Give the details about your academic history and why did you choose to do that course specifically from a range of available other courses?
ANSWERING THEM WHY:
Sometimes the Admission or the visa officer wants to know why do you want to go back to your academics after some professional experience. Though it is not uncommon for anyone to choose to study at any point of age but you should always be ready for your justification.
Giving an example where the most applicants go wrong by writing-
“I have previously done B.Sc – Nursing and I also carry the professional experience in the capacity of a nurse. I wish to do Masters of Health and development because I want to be a hospital administrator.”
This is not the manner any one should write. Instead, try giving the details of your professional background (if any) and developing it to a platform where you communicate the need for further studies which adds value to your future employment. Add the vision you carry because no one plans to be transported to a new country without a plan.
You can go by writing like this-
“having a B.Sc- Nursing under my belt and working in the capacity of a nurse has given me first-hand professional exposure. It has been some years of my service that I had been craving to climb to the higher positions, preferably the managerial ones in the top hospitals in my country. Professional growth in my field is really slow paced and being a career oriented woman, it was natural for me to look for other bright prospects. I am also aware that I require to have a masters in the relevant subject if I plan to do so.”
In case your work experience is not related to the choice of studies then go a little extra, explaining your inner call.If your education and work experience both are not in accordance with your chosen course then a concrete and convincing justification from your end to opt for a specific course does the wonders! Human mind is capable of amazing things, we all got hobbies too!
“I had been working as a Technical support engineer. While having the technical bend of mind I was an artist as well. I was associated with (example) dance academy and I performed in the (example) festival. I know how it feels to see the culture melting at one place when I met people from other states who showcased their dance forms. I am really influenced by Bollywood, theatre and everything in between. Hence, I am submitting my application to do Masters of (example).
“My mother is a great fan of Vikas Khanna and Sanjeev Kapoor, so am I. I knew the difference between spices and flavors since a very young age. I was appreciated when at 18, I did my first culinary for the family. Though my father was a bit surprised at this talent of mine, yet my mother knew where did I get this from. It grew with each passing year and today I am so motivated to have been enrolled in University of (example) to study the finest art of cooking. My dream is to take Indian flavors on the global culinary map.”
WRITE YOUR CONVINCING STORY:
It is really important to follow a strategy when it comes to drafting your SOP. If you have to choose in between reading a story book and a newspaper what would your choice be? Definitely a story book. The reason is that you get emotionally connected to the character and events in the story unlike a newspaper storyline.Here is an example-
“I would like to brief about a life changing experience as part of my initial life which showed me the light to choose a career path. My neighbor was a car mechanic, I remember when I was a teenager, he took me to his own garage for the first time and showed me how he was able to repair my broken bicycle. When he died, he left his garage to his only son who is my childhood friend. My finest days were spent inside that garage. It was amazing to see how anything can be fixed by applying some basic mechanical rules. This led me to choose this specific course to study and I decided to be a Mechanical Engineer!
KNOW THE KIND OF OPPRTUNITIES YOUR CHOSEN LOCATION PROVIDES:
There are some countries which are known for some specific programs. Assessment officer might be interested in knowing as to what made you interested in choosing that particular country over the other available options and your parent country.
If you are living in the equatorial region, let’s suppose India then it is not wise to choose Canada for an agriculture course as everyone knows the difference in between the climate settings at India and Canada, that course might be according to their geography too. This comes along with the responsibility to answer how will studying at your chosen destination help you to get your dream job?
Keep in mind the positives and strengths of the location which can add to the learning in your classroom lectures.
THE FLOW OF LANGUAGE
It should not neither be super formal to sound like a letter to American President nor informal to sound like a personal text to an old friend. The tone should not be stiff or loose at the same time. It is recommended to use the conversational tone to convey your ideas and interests.
COMPARISON AND CONTRAST:
This is known as your independent research in the other words. This is indeed the hardest part to write. A genuine student should know the kind of courses, education patterns, comparison of contents, affordability matrix and the reason to choose one university from so many options.
Make a short summary as how did you reach a point before choosing a particular university. You can make the comparison on these points-
- The uniqueness about your chosen course
- Affordability (Tuition fee and living cost comparison)
- Availability of Intakes
- Education System (e.g- USA and Canada is having their bachelors of 4 years whereas Australian Bachelors are of 3 years of duration. Don’t you see yourself saving one academic year and tuition fee?)
- A unique achievement of your course provider in a subject you have chosen to study
- Lastly comes the rating (Do not stress so much on rating and un-necessary cliché as it is not going to convince the reader anyway)
BEING HONEST WITH YOUR SHORT COMINGS:
The assessment authorities have heart too. You can address some problems related to your academic background, gaps, failures and professional problems. Be transparent and never trade authenticity for approval. Bring out the actual reasons for your problems and most importantly how are you planning to handle those and what had been your learning experience.
While it would not be a dream profile admission or visa authority wants to entertain unless you have your concrete reasons! You can genuinely comment about your emotional breakdown, family responsibilities, personal loss and illness etc.
Do not just be a cry baby, show them the other bright side of the coin as well by giving an image of a matured person.
It is expected out of a genuine student to know the market for his professional start after the completion of studies with your academic learning. Here you can compile Your expectations from your study plan which made you bear the international travel and accommodation expensesmeanwhile leaving your parent country for some years in a row.For Example-
If you are doing a mining program you should know about the mineral setting of your region and professional opportunities.
If you are doing a mental health consulting program you should have the true facts about the particular geographical area which has social determinants too. If consulting is not in the trend at your home country you should not comment about having a promising career there. In this case you can claim to have the eventual employability overseas as international education is recognized.