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5 Points You Must Write in Your SOP

A veritable truth is that we could all better profess our qualities to the faceless academicians in our
universities of choice in person. It is another veritable truth that the written statement of purpose
(SOP) is the only one-on-one time you will get with these prospective professors. A SOP is a standard
requirement for admissions to universities around the world. You are expected to condense your 18
odd-years of accumulated academic and extracurricular achievements into a few hundred words. If
that is too small of challenge, you have to somehow display your intellectual maturity and motivation
to pursue higher education and have your personality and individuality spring out of every word. No
one can define themselves in tiny boxes; no one even fills the About Me sections in social
networking pages anymore, however, the ability to essentially make a prcis of your life is crucial in
this world. The SOP as an opportunity to make a valuable first impression, and like all first
impressions, it ought to be short and sweet but packing a punch by making every word count. Here
are a few guidelines for your perusal while you are writing and re-writing that statement of yours:
Step 1:Brainstorming Knowing Yourself

As you prepare to effectively sell yourself, it is crucial to know yourself. Sit down and list your
academic and extracurricular achievements, your skills and your hobbies. Wherever you can,
validate your hobbies with some milestones be it a specific expedition you partook in or an
article you wrote.
Now, think of your future academic life. What influenced you to pursue your degree of choice?
Identify the decisions you made in the past that show a pattern of upward intellectual
development in your field of choice throughout the years.
After youve listed all you could head towards knowing more about your department and
university. In their websites alone you should find a lot of information about their specific
requirements for example a mathematical ability for economics degrees. It might help to
peruse through works and papers of your potential professors. This should introduce you to
developments in your field of study as well as the current issues being explored. If you
genuinely enjoyed their work, you might even state it in your essay, but be cautious to be
truthful, disingenuous statements will shine through.
The best way to convince the admissions committee youre ready for a PHD is to talk
research. Tell them your ideas, your vision for your area, what trends do you see in the future,
and how do you capitalize on them? What are the problems that you have already tried to
tackle, and how did you succeed/fail? This is where an applicant can show that they have the
clarity of thought to think hard about a real problem, and show the reasoning skills. It does not
matter whether the ideas succeed or not, or if the thoughts are not realistic for current
research. What matters is that the student showed their logical reasoning skills, and their
passion for research at the same time.

Step 2:Theme Setting a theme to show consistency in thought

Now reassemble your points into paragraphs. These paragraphs may be just in bullet points.
Each paragraph should deal with one central idea. This idea is introduced early in a topic
sentence, telling the reader what to expect in the paragraph. Several ideas in one paragraph
will only confuse the reader. If the central idea has several supporting points, break it into
several paragraphs rather than having one very long paragraph.
Most points can be made without a lot of necessary background.So for the benefit of brevity
and clarity, make sure to put similar achievements in one paragraph. You might have
performed exceedingly well in both badminton and squash but they dont need separate
paragraphs. The idea is to show how these help in the development of your personality and
how they make contribute to your primary aim performing well in your field of study.
While you are arranging your paragraphs in sequential order, you might be lucky enough to
stumble upon your unique selling point (USP). Let that USP be the underlying theme of your
essay. For example, you might find that all your interests and achievements point towards a
quality of leadership show how this USP was prevalent in all the tasks you undertook and
how your personal development as an individual took place while you developed your USP.
Note that this USP must not be explicitly stated; it should be inferred by the examples you
have stated.
Step 3:The Body Getting it all down in sentences

You must structure the sequence of ideas carefully and logically. You are mapping a course,
leading the reader through the points that support your claim. You do not want to confuse the
reader. Transitions between paragraphs link them together logically. These connecting
sentences keep the essay flowing smoothly.
You should now put all your paragraphs into sentences keeping in mind the rule of keeping
it short and sweet but packing a punch.
Provide evidence wherever you can convince readers of the truth and accuracy of your
ideas. If you successfully show how your skills shone through various incidents, the readers
willfind themselves agreeing with your conclusion.
The latter paragraphs should ideally be aimed at the future. Answering questions such as
What are my current academic interests? What do I hope to learn in the university? How will
my skills help me in achieving my goals in university?Why do you think that university will help
you achieve your goals?

Step 4:Introduction & Conclusion Tying it all up

The introduction is essential to the essay. It sets the tone for the reader and the writer.
However, it continues to be the most difficult barrier to cross.
The advice is simple but difficult be yourself. Let your personality shone through that
introduction. It is perhaps the only point in your essay where you facts and examples wont be
vying for word space in your paragraph. Remember to keep it within five lines at most. Most
importantly, only refer to yourself in a positive light.
The conclusion should not introduce any new point. It should sum up your development over
the years. If you want to mention a few bumps along the road then do so, but only if youve
overcome the obstacles and emerged out of it a hero.

Step 5: RRE Nothing good was ever written, it was always re-written

Revise through your entire work again and again. You will more often not find yourselves
erring in the part of grammar, at the very least you will end up rethinking a paragraph or two.
Review, or don not forget to give it to others you trust with objectivity and inputs. Now is the
time to see if you have adhered to the word limit.
Edit, since it is unlikely that we hit the jackpot with the first draft.
Above all, be confident and immodest about your abilities, because now is the time to truly
appreciate yourself for the person youve become.