A guide to an SOP that earns you scholarships into the schools in the US, Canada….
What is a statement of purpose (SOP)
A statement of purpose (SOP), otherwise called a personal statement is an integral part of the graduate school application process. SOP allows you to tell your story to the admission committee as regards who you are, your academic interests, professional interests, and the reasons why you should be considered for the application. This should be strongly backed up with how you will add value to the graduate program you are applying to.
Ideally, a statement of purpose should be between 500 to 1,000 words. It should be around 1 to 2 pages. Font size should be 11 or 12 pt with good spacing and margin. Try to follow the university guides on the statement of purpose standard if required.
You can break down the steps into pieces. This is usually because getting started may look so daunting and laborious.
This is a brainstorming session where you bring yourself together with good motivation and excitement to write an appealing story about your past and present experience, and your professional and academic interests. This is the only section in the application process where you have the chance to address the admission committee directly. You are advised to come up with a unique story about you, your undergraduate studies, past and present jobs, your volunteer experience, and your community development service or program. If your statement of purpose can answer the following questions then you are good to go. All that is required is for you to jot down the responses to the underlisted questions. This will form your outline and initial draft for the statement of purpose.
- Why do I want this degree?
- What are my expectations for this degree?
- What courses or program features excite me the most?
- Where do I want this degree to take me, professionally and personally?
- How will my unique professional and personal experiences add value to the program?
The ideas gathered from the brainstorming and motivation section above can therefore be fleshed up or developed into a very good statement of purpose. A very good outline might look like what we highlight below:
1) An attention-grabbing hook
2) A brief introduction of yourself and your background as it relates to your motivation behind applying to graduate school.
1) Your relevant experience and accomplishment that relates to the field must be clearly stated. State one to three examples of such experiences.
2) State your professional goal, why you are interested in the specific school and what value you can add.
Make a very brief summary of the information you presented in the body. Ensure you emphasizes your compatibility with the school and the program.
If you follow the outline above, it gives you a roadmap to follow so that your statement of purpose is well-organized and concise.
Your statement of purpose should reflect your uniqueness as a person and present you in a way that differentiates you from other applicants. It should communicate who you are and why you are interested in the program applied for.
Remember, the admission committee already has your transcripts, resume, and test scores. The statement of purpose is your chance to tell your story in your own words. Your statement of purpose should be very appealing to the admission panel and must;
- reflect your interest in the school
- provide insight into what drives
- be yourself
- be unique.
The following checklists are necessary before you submit work your work
- Check your margins, spacing, and font size.
- Carefully proofread for grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
- Be mindful of the length, maintain between 500 and 1,000 words maximum. In case you have written more than this, edit for better
- Go away, and read with a fresher heart.
- Ask someone else to read your statement of purpose before you submit it.
THE GENERAL TIPS FOR WRITING AN AWARD WINING SOP
- First paragraph: all about you
Introduce yourself briefly and then mention your current professional ambition or goal. Ensure that this introduction relates to the program for which you are vying. This is the primary distinction between a personal statement and a statement of purpose.
For instance, when applying for Engineering courses, you don’t mention how much you adore cats or dogs. The entirety of the introduction should relate in some way to the particular area of engineering for which you are applying. As a result, you must conduct in-depth study on the program. This guarantees that whatever you include on the document directly connects to the information in the program.
- Second paragraph: your reasons for applying
A description of how you became interested in this particular area of study should be the second item in your statement of purpose. You described your objective and background in relation to the program in the first section. Here, you describe your interest in detail.
You’re drafting a statement of purpose to explain to admissions committees why you’re applying, so do that now. Avoid stating explanations that are too generic because admissions authorities will simply be confused by your motivation. Furthermore, they won’t think highly of you as a candidate but rather as a member of a group that merely gives too many justifications.
If you are aware of your personal motivations for applying and you are as specific as possible, you can easily convince admission officers that you’re the correct choice.
- Third and fourth paragraphs: why you’re the best candidate
In the third section, you can open up on your personal experiences that have relevance to the area of study you want. These can be taken from your past jobs, projects, internships, and so on. However, some people may not be able to come up with such applicable experiences. Especially fresh graduates. You can infer some real-life experiences during your undergraduate program. It could be a classroom experience, laboratory experience or anything that could make a real-time learning experience.
If you couldn’t recall any, then you can talk to other people, friends, and relatives who know you very well. They may help in ferreting out some significant experiences you’ve had.
You can describe in the fourth paragraph any other experience you’ve had which helped you decide on the field of study or have helped you in preparing for graduate studies. But be as concise as possible in expounding on this topic as the letter is not the right forum to narrate long stories.
- Closing paragraph: future plans
In the final section of the letter, take time to concisely explain your long-term objectives, career-wise. Be very specific and clear when writing about this topic. You may notice the objective here is very different from your current goal in the first paragraph.
In the beginning, you talked about your present desires or actions and the goal in this final paragraph refers to what you’re planning to achieve. In the concluding paragraph, you discuss what you want in the future.
See example below….
Statement of Purpose
My keen interest is to pursue a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of Denver. I recently completed a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Iowa. My past experiences with the faculty members during my MSc. degree have stimulated me to pursue doctoral research in this prestigious school.
The complex fusion of physical and mathematical science that characterizes computer science is its most attractive aspect. When I was in upper secondary school, I took Computer Science as a vocational course for the first time. The ability of it to close the gap between the manifested and the abstract was what most appealed to me. I took a step forward by enrolling in the University of Mumbai’s Computer Engineering program. I experimented with digital design and physical electronic components in the electronics lab during the course of the program. My interest in systems engineering, or what I prefer to call platform engineering, was stoked by this together with classes like Operating Systems that deal with operating the hardware. I experimented with microprocessors in later years, including those in the x86 family and did projects involving direct machine programming. In the final year, I took Microcomputer System Design, as an elective course. In this course I learned to design microcomputer-based computer systems, catering to user specifications. Advanced Computer Architecture was my second elective course. In this course, besides studying supercomputer architectures, I studied the intricacies involved in designing high performance, efficient computer systems.
After graduating, I understood that I had only just begun to explore my interest in computer science as a field of study. I applied to the Master’s program because I wanted to go all the way and pursue further education in computer science. I soon applied to the University of Iowa Master of Computer Science program and was accepted. The three productive academic years I spent here have been crucial in building the groundwork and giving me the drive I need to continue my studies. I gained in-depth knowledge of systems and system software internals from courses like Operating Systems, Computer Architecture, and Compiler Construction. However, Prof. wyxxx’s Robotics-I course in the summer of 2009 was the main source of my research interest in software engineering. I worked on a project during the semester called iCricket. This project gave the Handy Cricket embedded system a web interface. A user can remotely control a sensor/control application via the internet by using iCricket. I started working on translating the Handy Cricket Virtual Machine from PIC-assembly to MSP430-assembly during the summer following my graduation. Additionally, a full TCP/IP stack must be included into the virtual machine’s new MSP430 port as part of this project. Users will be able to develop distributed sensor/control Handy Cricket applications once it is finished. I want to conduct research in which Operating Systems, Distributed Systems, Embedded Systems, and Computer Architecture will all be involved. Throughout my studies, I hope to make a contribution to each of these areas. I would like to contribute to each of these fields during my research. My primary research platform, however, will be Embedded Systems. I would like augment my research work with embedded system prototyping, as proof of concept instruments.
Ubiquitous computing is fundamentally characterized by engaging computing with the real world. It is a very difficult integration of human factors, computer science, engineering, and social sciences*. I am interested in ubiquitous computing as applied to embedded systems. Embedded Systems enjoy strong presence in the field of wearable computers, an instance of ubiquitous computing. I would like base my research on designing cost-effective low-power wireless sensor networks, using embedded systems. Based on the proven user-friendly interface of the Handy Cricket, I would like to commence my research work by studying the effectiveness of Handy Cricket based wearable computers over wireless media. Such a system, equipped with sensors will aid in remotely sensing/controlling distant environments. There is already substantial research and development in wireless sensor networks. I believe, however, that a wireless Handy Cricket based wearable computer will provide the most cost-effective solution to today’s wearable computing needs.
As part of my preparatory phase, I am already in the process of preparing for GRE and also Python programming course. I Currently self-learn and will soon be starting a study group of like-minded fellow computer science Ph.D. degree. aspirants.
My ambition is to head a Research and Development firm involved in designing embedded systems that will borrow heavily from my research work. I would like to leverage the knowledge and insight gained from a MSc. degree at University Iowa, to further this ambition and make it a reality.
M.S. (Computer Science)
- Times New Roman font with font size of 12 point.
- 1-inch margins on all sides of the document.
- 1.5-inch line spacing throughout the document.