All set to embark on your study abroad journey? Are you gathering relevant documents and data for the admissions process? Then it’s time to look at an important component of your application process—SOP—also known as statement of intent. Pay special attention to this part because a well written SOP can help you stand out from the crowd of millions of students seeking admission in similar universities. Here’s a basic list of dos and don’ts to help you get started. For detailed information on SOP writing tips, refer to this article.
1. Create an outline or basic sketch: Before you sit down to write your SOP, prepare an outline comprising common topics that are usually covered. These may include your career objectives, work and internship experience, your background, your reason for choosing the program, your interest level, etc. Also, write a few lines on each topic. This will act as a basic framework for your SOP.
2. Provide information on a need-to-know basis: While writing your SOP, be sure to stick to the facts. Avoid rambling endlessly. Doing so will defeat the purpose and indicate to the admissions officers that you haven’t really given much thought to the course and program you wish to pursue.
3. Include relevant information about the course and faculty: Before writing your SOP, learn all about the course and the department. You could also demonstrate your enthusiasm by writing down specific details about the research interests of the faculty members and how they relate to your interests.
4. Use the active voice and adhere to rules: While drafting your SOP, make sure that you write in the active voice. Furthermore, adhere to basic rules such as the length of the SOP, font size (11-12), etc.
5. Back your statements with examples: Make sure that your SOP is filled with statements followed by anecdotes and examples. Relevant examples add weightage to the statements and help to create a lasting impression.
6. Proofread your SOP to eliminate errors: Last but not the least, make sure to read and reread your SOP to get rid of typos and careless mistakes. You could also seek the help of graduates who’ve passed out from the same university. They would be able to guide you on various aspects of your SOP.
1. Don’t use vague terms: While drafting your SOP, don’t use vague and complex terms. Be as specific as possible. Clarity is of utmost importance here. Get straight to the point instead of beating about the bush.
2. Don’t duplicate information: Make sure that each part of your SOP is unique. Avoid repeating content in order to fill up white space.
3. Don’t use clichés: Don’t use empty words like “beautiful” and “meaningful” that don’t really add value to your SOP. Scrutinize each and every part of your SOP to ensure that it is as clear and specific as possible.
4. Don’t highlight your weaknesses: Don’t draw attention to your shortcomings. All of us make mistakes. However, it is important to learn from these mistakes. Hence, while talking about your weaknesses, always mention the steps you took to overcome these weaknesses.
5. Don’t use fancy fonts: Use readable fonts such as Times New Roman with a font size of 11-12. Also, refrain from printing your SOP on colored paper. Read the instructions given on the university website before submitting your final SOP.
6. Don’t write funny statements: A humorous statement may be interpreted in different ways by different people. Hence, avoid saying something that might hurt the sentiments of a particular group of individuals. Instead, focus on your unique achievements and personal story.