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For freshers.. A very good article on SoP!! Updated: good tips to draft/obtain meaningful LoRs!!
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sivaramakrishnan balaji Offline
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For freshers.. A very good article on SoP!! Updated: good tips to draft/obtain meaningful LoRs!!
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This is an excerpt from an article on SoP published in EDUCATIONPLUS (a supplementary edition of The Hindu) dated Nov. 24, 2008.

Author: B.S.Warrier

About SoP

This significant component of your application package to a foreign institution should convey in a lucid style what you intend to gain from undergoing the program. It should logically and convincingly explain why you seek admission to the program in the University/Institution. The statement should cover the basic details about your background, interests, achievements, capabilities, career objectives, dreams and future plans. It should be prepared thoughtfully. At any stage, if a question is raised by the admitting authority on any of the points, you should be able to answer it with confidence and clarity, in an honest manner.

You need not dwell too much on your autobiography. Don’t start with a narrative like “I was born in the village….” The write-up should make it clear what type of person you are. It should convey the message that you are earnest in pursuing the study, and that you are enthusiastic about the program. It need not be an insipid statement of facts; there may be anecdotes, or stories or short descriptions of interesting situations that are relevant. The statement should be revised and edited patiently again and again to make it attractive and meaningful. You should stand out among a multitude of well qualified applicants; you should be an asset to the class. The admission committee should feel that you are the right person for the institution. Perhaps you could keep the script as if in a cold storage for a few days, and then go back to it and read it as if you were the professor considering your admission. You may find room for modification.
If you find that your score in GRE or TOEFL or other test does not measure up to your potential, do not hesitate to improve it with a second attempt. The scores are crucial not only in the evaluation by the admission committee, but also in securing scholarships.

Before trying to explain why you choose a particular institution/university for your higher studies, have a deep look into the type of work and environment prevailing there. Try to learn the facilities in the concerned department, the areas in which research is in progress, the significant attainments of the faculty, etc. This will help you to give a convincing explanation. Try to write in the statement what the admission committee expects from a desirable candidate. Do not try to flatter the institution through words like ‘Yours is the most reputed institute in the field in the whole of United States’. The hypocrisy in the sweet talk is obvious.

The SoP should have the undercurrent of a specific theme evolved from your goal. The essay should have a clear direction. You may cite concrete examples from your experience in life. You should show your exciting interests. Whereas it is important to include significant information that would enhance the value of the piece, irrelevant material will damage its utility. Information that does not support your thesis need not be included. As in writing a fine essay, you may open with as appealing description. The concluding lines may refer to the opening lead. Your piece should not have any error in spelling or grammar. Never try to impress the reader by flaunting your vocabulary; make the reading effortless and easy. Do not put forward excuses for your low scores in tests or examinations. You should get it read by a knowledgeable and empathetic teacher or friend. Suggestions if any should be considered appropriately, so that your essay attains the best possible shape.

It is often said that the SoP is the only element in your application packet over which you have full control. Even the letter of recommendation is written by someone else. Never make the SoP a last-minute writing exercise. No one can produce his best possible writing in a hurry. The admitting authorities will certainly evaluate you based on your essay. Perhaps a well-written telling essay may sometimes compensate for your low scores in examinations, and enhance your chance for selection. A poorly made essay on the other hand may push down your chance, despite your fine test scores. This should not happen to you.

The statement can include indications on the following. Every SoP may not cover all these elements.

Academic qualification/scores
Adaptability
Analytical mind
Aptitude
Co-curricular activities
Commitment to your field of study
Computer skills
Creativity
Critical thinking
Financial resources/funding
Inherent abilities
Intellectual curiosity
Intermediate and long range goals
Interest in research
Language skills
Leadership qualities
Personal attributes such as motivation, sincerity, maturity, integrity and reliability
Professional achievements
Qualifying tests like TOEFL and GMAT
Reasons for selecting the program
Reasons for selecting the university/institution
Self reliance
Specific career goals
Work experience
Writing ability
Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition-something that is very special in you)

You should be particularly careful to see that anything anywhere else in application does not contradict what you have given in the SoP. The thoughtful preparation of a statement of purpose has an indirect advantage. It will objectively tell you what you are and what you strengths and weaknesses are. Many of us keep high opinions of our skills and achievements. The exercise of writing carefully about you will erase such delusions and hold a mirror to you. Sometimes you may have to modify your SoP in tune with the conventions in the university/institution of your choice.

Remember that a few experts in the line would go through your essay; they will easily spot any attempt to misguide them through falsehood in the statement of purpose. Your claims should be honest and genuine. If a candidate without any significant achievement in social work claims that he is propelled by altruistic motives to serve society and improve the lot of his people through the skills gained through overseas studies, the admitting authorities will hear a ring of duplicity. Honesty is the best policy. You can prove your credibility through genuine claims. Even a small personal achievement will boost up your chances for selection than unsubstantiated tall claims. A well-written SoP is a visa.

All the best

(This post was last modified: 12-01-2008 09:57 AM by sivaramakrishnan balaji.)
11-24-2008 10:58 PM
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KXerxes Offline
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RE: For freshers.. A very good article on SoP!!
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Hey nice post there! Cheers!

<img src="http://media.linkedin.com/media/p/1/000/020/06d/3e5c516.png"></img>

You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain
11-25-2008 09:34 AM
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sivaramakrishnan balaji Offline
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RE: For freshers.. A very good article on SoP!! Updated: Tips for securing meaningful LoRs!!
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From the same author (B.S.Warrier)…

Letter of Recommendation


1) It should indicate your aptitude, intellectual curiosity, industry, maturity, seriousness of purpose, and of course integrity.

2) The letter has to be written in elegant language, without exaggeration of hollow overstatement. It should sound factual and convincing.

3) The writing should not be casual. It should contain substantial information that would assist the admission committee to decide your selection for the program.

4) If you are preparing draft for the write, you have to put yourself in his shoes and try to project his perspective. You should however not feel shy of giving factual information about your admirable qualities and skills.

5) Mention the details of the program, so that he gets a true picture of the area you desire to enter for further studies. Explain your effort in seeking admission to a foreign university and the motivation behind your venture.

6) The letter should give something that is not seen in the test scores or resume.

7) The candidate should select the writer considering the factors that ensure the credibility of the letter. The status and position of the writer, his close relation with the candidate’s work and the writer’s balance of mind as revealed by his approach and language are significant. The physical form is also vital.


Effective words that can be used in LoRs:
Ambitious, amenable to discipline, attention to detail, balanced, caring, charming, committed, considerate, cost-conscious, courteous , creative, dedicated, detail-oriented, determined, devoted, diligent, efficient, empathetic, fair-minded, follows instructions, generous, genial, goal-oriented, good communicator, good leader, good listener, hardworking, helpful, honest, industrious, intelligent, iniative, intellectual-curiosity, law-abiding, level-headed, light hearted, logical, loyal, mature, methodical, natural curiosity, orderly, organized, patient, people-oriented, persevering, persistent, polite, presentation-skill, problem-solver, punctual, quality-minded, quick learner, research minded, responsible, result-oriented, self-starter, sense of humour, spirit of enquiry, team player, thorough, time-management, trustworthy, wants to learn and grow, wise, works independently, zeal.

12-01-2008 09:41 AM
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rishipalbhatia Offline
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Post: #4
RESEARCH ?
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I would like to know how important is it to show your inclination towards research ? Are the universities happier to accept people who promise to conduct research after their MS in their SOP as compared to people who show direct interest of working in the industry ?

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11-05-2013 08:16 PM
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RE: For freshers.. A very good article on SoP!
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+1 to your question rishipalbhatia. I want to know the same

11-21-2013 07:11 PM
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