Statement of Purpose, or SOP as commonly referred, is easily the most important 1000 words that stand between your application and admission to that dream program. And as important as it may be to know what all you should include in your SOP, what is equally or perhaps more important is to understand what not to include in your SOP.
Often Universities come across a lengthy statement of purpose and yet they reject it. Even when you cannot find one grammatical error, the seemingly excellent SOP would be rejected. And the primary reason is – too much unnecessary information. For instance, just because you might want to talk about your family, does not mean you go on and on to talk about only your family. This is not because the candidate is not aware of what to include…what he/she fail to understand is what not to include.
Here are a few pointers to help you write a winning SOP by focussing on what you should not include:
All your accomplishments!
Yes, we understand that you were an ace in your academics and a star hockey, tennis and volleyball player. We also understand that you were the lead vocalist of your college band and have at least 50 medals and endless recommendations from your teachers, etc. The point is…while your SOP should be a brag sheet, it should be a brag sheet with a substance. You need to pick and choose what to include. Pick a theme and mention the accomplishments that make the most sense to your candidacy.
Your Family History
We say, don’t waste too many precious words to describe your maternal and paternal family to the admission committee. They have no consideration if your forefathers descended from royalty – until that has something to do with the personality that you wish to highlight! They are interested in understanding you as a person – period. Don’t go on and on about how hard working your father is or how your mother was a devoted mom. A small sentence, if absolutely necessary, should be enough to wrap up about your family. And remember – no history!
Often, universities require separate documentation for your financial status. Also, most universities, while deciding about scholarships would ask the candidates to provide a separate essay for the same. Hence, including details about your financial status and requirements not necessary in the case of SOP. So, unless money has truly shaped your personality, avoid getting into lengthy details about it.
Details about your Academic Projects/ Jobs
It is important to include your Academic Projects. What, however, you should avoid is explaining in detail about your project and what you did. Same applies for you work experience. It is important to make a reference, illustrate perhaps the incident and then talk about what you learned from it. Remember, it is always important to make your SOP narrative. Focus on your key learnings and how they made you into what you are. Leave the lengthy detailing to your resume.