How to Write an SOP?
How to Write an SOP?
Writing an SOP means to explain what you feel and know about studying abroad and why chose the country and University/School? Anyone who has seen or read a SOP would probably know this but here are some of the starting lines of most SOP
“I am applying for the Masters in Psychology program in <something> at the University of <Something> because I believe in my understanding of human mind would get broadened. I believe that University of<something> would challenge the way I think and is a place where I would/could develop my scientific and practical knowledge.” or a pun about how they love the subject on the second line.
First of all, a good SOP must fulfill as the answer to the following questions:
- Why do you want to study at graduate school?
- Why you want to study this degree and do you wish to further your studies here?
- Why chose this particular country to study? What do you like about it?
- Would you wish to end up with a job here or return back home?
- What do you expect while and after studying from the program and University?
- What kind of experience do you have in your field of study?
- What other hobbies, interests and habits do you have apart from work? What are you, as a person?
- What is the one thing that is the most significant? How will it influence your stay here abroad?
Well answering questions is a complicated thing to do. But it’s easier if you want to write a story for a formal 2 page high school literature question. Write like if you’re writing a novel, why? Because stories connect us, statements don’t. Write a story? it does not mean that you need to write it like a thesis but rather it should serve as the best source of information about you. Your story must contain measurable quantities not something like “once upon a time”. For example “During my engineering days”
Being specific to your task is an important thing to do. Writing a detailed answer like “I chose this degree because I have been grown up by an environment around it and I want to do something for my country after I develop this particular skill of mine” not a crap like “I chose this field because I love it” only.
Nowadays students make a big but intentional mistake. They make a basic template for their SOP and then apply for more than one university. This creates a problem because the evaluator would like to know why you want to study in this specific place. Why not elsewhere? Every university is vastly different from each other. Every single of them have a unique culture, methodologies, vision, values, mottos, strength and weakness. These things are much important than no of Ph.D.’s, University rankings etc.
There are two types of statements formal and friendly. Well everybody likes the friendly one. Neither is an ideal one. I personally like a slightly formal language but with a slice of fun and uniqueness where my character shines. Imagine that you are talking to your Director or Dean of your college and write the statement. But it should not seem too friendly as the Director might throw your statement away as he/she would think you’re not serious enough.
You need to portray yourself as a passionate person for the particular field of study, an intelligent one who can withstand academic workload of a graduate program, you are well prepared for your studies, are able to maintain a good rapport with professors and fellow grad students, a successful student who would increase the college reputation because no admission officer in the world would reject a statement with good and deep reason.
The admission officers are mostly expert psychologist like a 90% of ratio. So try to be yourself and be humble toward them with your statement.
If you have someone who can help in your current place of study don’t hesitate to ask them for advices.
Here is a checklist of things for what your statement needs.
- Introduce yourself in a unique manner
- Demonstrate your passion
- Brief description of your background and experience in the field you’ve chosen with an explanation of why chose it?
- Any extra activities you do.
- Any special classes you have taken.
- Professional achievement in the field if any.
- Special features of grad program and university that you like
Here is a link to a sample that i prepared for a person going to Japan.