Hi again guys. Ever since that post an hour back, I have been literally bombarded with questions mostly about SOP. So I thought I'll post my answer here. Please note that this is just my answer and my interpretation of what an SOP is out of experience. I may be right or I may be wrong. However, this is the basis on which I prepared my SOP.
An SOP (a.k.a Statement of Purpose) is a document that tells the university why it should pick you from the lot.
An SOP answers 5 very important questions and I mean really really important questions.
1. WHO ARE YOU?
2. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO STUDY?
3. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SO FAR IN THE FIELD OF YOUR CHOICE?
4. WHY DO YOU WANT TO STUDY THIS FIELD?
5. WHY DO YOU WANT TO STUDY THIS AT MY UNIVERSITY?
These are the 5 questions that needs to be answered in a Statement of Purpose. The first question deals with who you are. As in your name and the university where you come from. Do not mention that you are the Son/Daughter of so and so. It is of absolutely no use. Frankly speaking, the university does not bother who you were born to. So keep the writing precise and to the point.
The second question answers what you want to study. Clearly mention the program name that you have applied to as it appears in the university website. Never say I am applying for a MS degree in CS or B.Sc in CS. You are not gonna save any precious time in typing out "Masters of Science degree in Computer Science or Bachelors of Science in Computer Science."
The answer to the third question is your projects or publications related to the field. There is no point saying that you have assisted two professors in their groundbreaking earth shattering discoveries in the field of Micro-biology if you are applying for business administration. So mention in detail all your certifications and projects and publications related to the course that you are applying.
The fourth answer should be along the lines of why you want to pursue this course. While most of us are doing this just for the job after two years so that we can earn in USD, mentioning that isn't a very good idea. Probability of you getting a straight reject is just a bit MORE THAN 1. Just tell them why you are passionate about this,
The last question is where you massage the ego of the university, calling it the best university in the world. Mention at least one or two professors who are in the same field as your research interest so that the university might feel that you have indeed done research on the subject and the university,
Most important point to keep in mind is that all these answers needs to be a blend so that the reader feels like he is reading a single story and not answers to 5 questions separately.
I think that sums up everything I know about the Statement of Purpose. Trust me when I say, SOP can make and break an applicant. So take your time and write them properly. Send it to your personal friends who can read them and give you their suggestions. I am sorry but I wont be able to read through SOPs right now. And while getting messages, I saw a lot of people asking me to evaluate profiles.. Sorry but I don't do that.
Pooja K Swamy: Ok. A genuine doubt. Should we mention our extracurricular activities? I've been into music since I was a kid and I've won at National level competitions. Is it wise to highlight this in my SOP?
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