Hello readers, this article today has some specific information that relates directly to the vitality or importance of SoPs. Let us shed some lights on the importance of SoPs.

IMPORTANCE OF SOP IN BRIEF

The first thing that the admissions committee members notice when they go through a Statement of Purpose happens to be: How does the person or candidate, who wrote the essay or statement, reflect to us via what he wrote?

Think yourself in the spot of an admission officer vicariously where among the thousands of applications; you are supposed to choose the fraction of students that will comprise next year’s incoming class. A blend between interesting, confident and enthusiastic candidates who will make the class a stimulating place. Intellectual gains as well as competitive test scores are rudimentary. However, in an era where the majority of candidates have good academic records, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between individuals and decide who gets the offer of admission. During the application, each of the components in the application packet -recommendations, extra-curricular achievements, work samples – adds an additional dimension the candidate’s personality. But it is the SoP that brings the candidate to life. Which is why each essay is read meticulously by at more than one members before a decision is taken on the application.

That simply does not make SoP the deciding factor of the admission. Candidate’s academic records, grades and the courses the candidate took- are the first section admission committee members turn to.  Standardized test scores are useful to know where the candidate stands in the applicant pool. For graduate schools, relevant work or academic experience may be important. Being from a reputed school or college ensures a distinct advantage. What the candidate’s teachers or boss think of him plays a vital role towards the school’s opinion. A good thesis dissertation or work sample can show the candidate’s creativity, skill and professionalism.

However, only the SoP or application essays can bring out the applicant’s uniqueness. And therefore create or desecrate his application. An applicant who does not take the essay seriously is throwing away the best opportunity available.  Admission council member are sorting out a certain trend of candidates. Creativity, curiosity, pride in your work, an enthusiasm for learning, a capacity for teamwork, the ability to think independently and so on are all good attributes, and most of us share these in varying proportions.  But what schools look for is a mix of individuals that together, form a well-balanced class. This would include several personality types.

It is good to go through the school’s brochure or web site, speak to people about it, visit if that is possible; get a feel of the student mix that they look for and decide if this is the school for you. However, trying to tailor your SoP to reflect what you think the school is looking for is dangerous business. The people who read your application have been doing so for years and are skilled at spotting fakes. They are likely to know soon if a particular author is saying something for effect or if an essay does not ring true. And that means almost certain rejection. Of course we want to have an effect on the admissions officers. The important thing is to do so without appearing dishonest. If, for instance, you talk about your deep desire to make society a better place, your application should reflect it. Have you done anything about this desire? Can you talk about your actions and experiences? A small example of something you did, not necessarily spectacular, can do more towards boosting your chances than the noblest platitude can.

Trying to be something you are not. Don. t try to tell the admissions committee what you think they want to hear. Be honest, look inside yourself and do your best. Which brings us to the next point – self-knowledge. The people who read your essay want to be convinced that you have thought long and hard about who you are, what are the things you appreciate, what inspires you. What you want out of life, and where you are going from here. It is not necessary to have all the answers . after all, several admirable people have no idea where they are going even at age 40 or 50. It is necessary to show that you have thought about this. And that these life experiences have taught you something. Finally, you have to show a desire to learn. From your books and teachers, from your classmates, from music or art, from life itself.

HOW DO WE DISTINGUISH BETWEEN UNDERGRADUATE ESSAYS AND GRADUATE ESSAYS

Honesty is not the best, the only policy for both undergraduate and graduate SoPs, self-knowledge and a desire to learn, the focus of each is different. For undergraduate essay the knowledge of “what comes next” after college is absent. Rather, the candidate’s focus is on exhibiting how the candidate has explored the world and interests. How the candidate relates to people. How he forms his opinions.

The graduate applicant, on the other hand, is expected to have a certain level of independent thinking. He is also expected to have a clear idea of why he wants to study further. As most graduate programs involve some financial aid from the school in return for teaching or research work done by the student, he needs to show that he is capable of such work. This is why graduate essays talk more about the applicant’s professional or academic interests than about his personal life.

That’s it for today, in my next article, I am going to discuss about initiating the statement of purpose for any individual candidate and how to furnish it according to the requirements. Till then, happy reading!!!