Writing a Successful Statement of Purpose
While applying for graduate programs or scholarships, remember that a list of grades is not the only thing the admission committee pays attention to. Occasionally, you will realize that the statement of purpose (SOP) is the only significant element in the application package. It happens to be your chance to demonstrate your motivation, knowledge, skills, and potential and how a wonderful essay writer you are!
Understanding SOP and its purpose
Higher education is meant for those who want to study. And your task is to prove your intentions to the admission committee. This is where grades, test results, and CV won’t be enough. By writing a powerful SOP, however, you can tell your story about who you are, what your academic and career orientations are, and how you can add value to the educational program you’re applying to.
Tricks for writing SOP
Of all the papers you will have to write during the university years, SOP is one of the most difficult ones. Writing about yourself is always a challenge, but it can be taken by learning special techniques. Like any other academic paper, SOP has a logical structure to be followed and a concept to be addressed.
To succeed in thoughtful writing, you need to use some tricks:
- Check the text for grammatical errors. While you are reading your paper over and over again, you can easily miss some small grammatical errors. Thus, it makes sense to assign this mission to a professional online grammar checker. The major task of this software is to improve basic editing and writing capabilities. As a result, by having accurate punctuation, correct sentences, and proper spellings in your SOP, you are halfway to success.
- Paraphrase borrowed thoughts and ideas. Oftentimes, you can’t organize your ideas into a coherent text so that you have to take someone else’s idea. But you can’t just use it in your SOP without any changes. Once you have borrowed some thought, you are obliged to paraphrase it in your own words to make it sound original. It is a crucial skill that students should master not to become plagiarists. Developing unique material takes much time and effort, but that’s something you should work on. Meanwhile, you can use one of the free online paraphrasing tools to generate quality content that is devoid of plagiarism.
- Maintain the uniqueness of your text. No matter how hard you try to create an authentic SOP, you still need to put it through a plagiarism test. By using online plagiarism checkers, you should check the final draft of your application not to be embarrassed later on. If the percentage of similarity in your SOP is above the permitted level, it becomes the subject for rewriting. Even if you don’t have to write the whole paper from scratch, you should at least pay attention to highlighted material.
- Maintain the readability of your text. A well-written SOP should be not only grammatically and stylistically correct, but also easily readable for the admission committee. While you are telling about yourself, don’t confuse a reader with overwhelming details or complex words. And don’t try to be smarter than you actually are by getting too deep into philosophic ideas. At the same time, it is also a bad idea to use slang and jargon. After all, your SOP is a serious document that should be simple but still informative.
- Avoid too long sentences. Although long sentences can be inevitable, you shouldn’t overwhelm your text with phrases containing more than 20 words. Ideally, you can mix short and long sentences to arrange a smooth sequence of your narration. This way you also contribute to better readability of your SOP.
- Structure your text. Reading large blocks of text can hardly guarantee an enjoyable reading. Thus, you need to use paragraphs and headings to organize your SOP into a well-structured text.
- Find simple alternatives to difficult words. Don’t try to impress the admission committee with your knowledge of special terms and complex words. It is recommended to use common words that are not ambiguous.
- Use transition words. The use of transition phrases is determined by the need for a logical flow between sentences. Without them, your SOP won’t look coherent. The most common transition words include “however”, “but”, “furthermore”, “for example”, and “as such.”
- Use an active voice. There is nothing bad in a passive, but it should be used in a limited amount. An active voice makes your SOP easier for reading, as well as highlights the subject of the sentence.
Tips for writing SOP
To write a decent SOP, there are some techniques to make the process easier. Here are some useful tips to follow:
- Brainstorm: To take the action, you need to have a good idea for what you want to write in your SOP. The best idea does not necessarily come straight away so that you need some time for thinking. You can take notes of all the thoughts coming to your mind and then choose the most appropriate one.
- Outline: Write down major points of your SOP, as well as examples that you want to mention. It is important to organize all the points in a logical order.
- First draft: Once you have started writing, stick to the outline not to lose the major concept. Even though the first draft is only a part of a ready-to-go application, it will surely make up the basis for the final version. Thus, in the first draft, you should focus on what you are writing, not how you are writing.
- Primary editing: The first draft needs to be edited in order to make it eligible for further corrections.
- First feedback: Before you proceed with some modifications, you should ask third parties for feedback. The things in the paper that look good to you might sound not very nice to other people. By asking a second opinion, you try to figure out what needs to be changed.
- Second edit: Review your SOP and make some corrections according to the received feedback.
- Second feedback: After editing your SOP, you should ask for additional feedback.
- Final changes: This time you make final changes to your SOP. Don’t forget to read your paper aloud to check whether any mistakes are left.
As soon as you complete your paper by following the above-mentioned tricks and tips, feel free to send it to the college. Done well, your SOP will leave a lasting impression on the admission committee.