A Statement of Purpose can be best described as a letter of intent or an essay comprising your motivation behind pursuing a particular program. As the name suggests, the objective of the statement is to highlight your purpose of wanting to join a specific course, and it does so by listing your academic and professional background, achievements, goals, and aspirations. The structure of the document resembles that of an essay and in addition to including your motivation and career path, it aims to aid the admissions committee to accurately understand who you are. Since the SOP is the only subjective document in your application, it is essential to draft it meticulously. While a resume is perfect to list down your qualifications, a Statement of Purpose is your chance to sway the admissions committee in your favour by presenting your profile powerfully and showcasing that you can prove to be an asset to the university.
Table of Contents:-
- How is a Statement of Purpose for MS different from other SOPs
- Structure of an SOP for MS
- Tips for writing a winning SOP
How is a Statement of Purpose for MS different from other SOPs!
Generally speaking, the underlying message of every Statement of Purpose is essentially the same. The central difference lies in the information it contains and the way it is presented. Since MS is an advanced degree, universities expect candidates to possess a thorough knowledge of previously interacted course material. The use of jargon is often frowned upon in most forms of writing, but on the contrary, using technical jargon in relevant spaces can enhance the quality of your MS SOP by adding an extra layer of information, thereby delivering that you have a working understanding of the field. Along with this, a Masters of Science degree calls for specialisation, therefore make sure to reflect your interest in the desired area by customising your SOP to suit the needs of the same.
Structure of an SOP for MS
While there are many acceptable ways to write your SOP, an understanding of the basic structure of the SOP can prove helpful when drafting one. Often universities provide question prompts to guide candidates, and unless categorically stated otherwise, your SOP should include:
Paragraph 1: Introduction
Like every great story, the opening line plays a key role in captivating your audience and urging them to read forward. The first paragraph of your Statement of Purpose predominantly decides the direction of your statement, and hence must be powerful enough to reel in your readers. An excellent way to begin your SOP is by presenting a quote that motivates you, narrating an incident that has inspired you greatly, or owing it to someone in your life who has influenced your career path. Furthermore, you can even start by talking about the discipline you wish to pursue and specifying leading areas that fascinate you. By doing so, you are proving that your decision to attain an MS didn’t stem out of thin air, but is articulate in nature.
Paragraph 2 & 3: Academic and Professional background
Once you have established the foundation of your motivation, move on to expressing your acquired knowledge and experience. The second and third paragraphs can be viewed as the body of your statement since they aim at providing the information needed to deem you an eligible candidate for the course. Start by talking about your undergraduate degree, course material and pivotal projects you have engaged in, parallel to describing your learnings from each. If there are any extra-curricular activities relevant to your field of study, or any additional certificate courses as well as workshops you have participated in, feel free to mention them here. You can tie your academic acumen to your professional experience by implying the inculcation of classroom teachings in practicality. Make sure that you highlight the responsibilities entrusted to you alongside the skills you garnered from them. Think of the third paragraph as a gist of everything you have accomplished professionally.
Paragraph 4: Future goals
Perhaps one of the most persuasive paragraphs, the fourth paragraph contains details about your aspirations and future plans. It serves as an insight into the life you are planning ahead of your degree and helps the admissions committee comprehend whether your goals align with the university’s motto. Instead of writing what the committee wants to hear, be honest about your aim in life; touch upon your short-term and long term goals. The route to a successful paragraph is the expression of passion you feel towards the subject. Take your time—ponder over what draws you to the field and where you ultimately see yourself.
Paragraph 5: Conclusion
This is the paragraph that ties your SOP together; keep it simple and sincere. A suitable way to approach this paragraph is by linking your future goals to the path you need to embark on, i.e. the pursuit of an MS degree. Showcase that you’ve done your research about the university by writing about its culture and motto, and how you plan on enhancing it. If you are keen to learn from a particular professor or are excited to participate in a certain student organisation, go ahead and put it down. Now is the perfect opportunity to show that you are a desirable candidate—mention admirable qualities about yourself and how you can be a good fit for the university’s existing legacy. Conclude by expressing your gratitude towards the admissions committee for allowing you to voice yourself through the statement and convey your hopes to be a part of the university.
Tips for writing a winning SOP
- Pay special attention to the overall look of your statement. You can achieve the expected appropriate look by using Times New Roman in size 12 as your font and justifying your text.
- Unless specified otherwise, try to limit your Statement of Purpose to approximately 1000 words.
- For the sake of sounding knowledgeable, avoid using words you neither know the meaning of nor its usage in the context. It is perfectly alright to use common words as long as you keep your SOP’s readability high and deliver an error-free statement.
- Avoid using the same information as your resume. While your accomplishments remain the same, make sure that you are not just copy-pasting information, but are instead altering it as per the needs of your SOP.
- While you can refer to sample SOPs available on the internet, never plagiarise content. It is not only seriously frowned upon, but completely tarnishes your image in front of the admissions committee.
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