Statement of Purpose (SoP): Effective Strategies & Tips with Example



It requires a fair amount of direction to successfully complete the application process, and most grad school applicants don’t enter into the process half-heartedly. However, when it comes time to express that sense of direction verbally, the pressure can be intense, even stifling. These 10 tips on how to write a statement of purpose for grad school will help you translate your sense of purpose into an acceptance letter.

1. Follow Directions

It should go without saying that you should demonstrate to the admissions committee the same ability to follow directions that you would expect of your students. Demonstrate flair and originality, but do it while coloring inside the lines. Anything else is a high-risk strategy.

2. Consider Your Audience

Admissions officers will read dozens, if not hundreds of statements of purpose during each application season. They can smell formulaic writing and insincerity from miles away, but they will also get genuinely excited when they read something truly unique.

3. Demonstrate Interest in the School

If you’re applying to multiple schools, odds are that you’ll draft a general statement of purpose and then modify it for each individual application. The key word in that sentence is modify. Do your homework on every institution you apply to. Make the admissions officers think fate has brought you to their doorstep, even if you’re applying to ten other schools.

4. Write a Draft

The best writing almost always comes from a lengthy process, rather than a moment of inspiration. Begin brainstorming ideas for your statement of purpose weeks before the application deadline (if possible), and write at least one rough draft. Don’t worry if the writing feels raw while you’re working out what you want to say. Let the first draft be exploratory. The second or third draft is the time to polish, perfect, and proofread.

5. Choose Your Angle Carefully

Your goal in writing a statement of purpose is to present your path through life as a story, one that the admissions committee hasn’t heard before. If you find yourself writing “As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” it’s time to revisit the drawing board. What will you bring to the classroom that no one else does?

6. Peel Back the Layers (find deeper meaning as you write)

Maybe you don’t know what your angle is. Maybe you’ve been staring at a blank page for a while now, trying to figure out how to write a statement of purpose. Many people need to start writing (and keep writing) before knowing exactly what they want to write. Start putting your thoughts down on paper, and you may see patterns and deeper meaning begin to emerge.

7. Be Clear and Concise

A statement of purpose is not the place to show off your academic writing chops. You’re not writing long-winded literary fiction or a new philosophy of being. You’re writing a letter to a stranger. You’re trying to communicate a message, efficiently and effectively.

8. Revise

The next step after drafting is revising. And revision means more than running spell check. Etymologically, the word revision means “to see again,” and ideally it is a process of more deeply understanding your own writing—maybe even more deeply understanding your past, or your goals for the future. It helps to allow a week or two between drafts, so that you really have time to get some distance from your statement.

9. Proofread

Once you’ve written an exploratory draft and made the changes that meaningful revision calls for, it’s time to turn your attention to the details. Admissions officers are unlikely to throw out your statement of purpose if you misspell a word or misplace a comma, but they certainly won’t be impressed.

10. Have Someone Review It

Once you feel like you’ve written the best statement of purpose you can, it’s time to get a second opinion. It’s best to ask someone who has been through grad school or worked in the education field, as they’ll have a sense of what you’re going through, as well as what you’re aiming for. An objective set of eyes can often alert you to details you might miss on your own. Even if your reviewer doesn’t recommend any changes, his or her vote of confidence will help you feel better about the application process while you wait to hear back from schools.

Quotes about University students (53 quotes)

Example-Format

Statement of Purpose

ZZZZ  XXXXXX (Name)                                                         MS/Ph.D. applicant, Computer Science, Spring 2020

Tim O’Reilly in his pioneering speech “We’re entering a new world in which data may be more important than software.” introduced us to the comprehensive potentialities of the Data. Actually, every day we produce a huge amount of data by using modern technology, the internet, and social network. These data are very precious because by analyzing the pattern and relationship of those data we can make a business decision. Moreover, they can be used in scientific research and government security. Machine Learning (ML) approach could be a robust and effective measure for analyzing these glut amounts of data. At present, I am searching for an opportunity of Ph.D. in ML, Data Mining, as well as Privacy and Security and my long-term goal is to implement ML technologies to analyze data in a convincing way.    

From the Higher Secondary Level (12th Grade), I had a cogent fascination to participate and arrange different Olympiads and competitions. I spent a lot of time to solve tricky math and puzzles like Sudoku, Logic puzzle and Math puzzle.  In 2011, I was accoladed as the college champion in Math Olympiad and in the following year I was awarded as the runner up of Chemistry Olympiad by Bangladesh Chemistry Olympiad. After getting this incredible success, my college teachers inspired me to lead the Science Club of our college. I was the President of that Club in 2011-2012 session and proudly arranged three big competitions on our college premises. Those activities provided me with enough courage and overcame the fear of a large audience and bolstered me to deliver speeches in science talk and workshop.

After completing 12th grade, my extreme interest in Mathematics motivated me to choose to study in the engineering sector.  I have completed B.Sc. in Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) from University of Engineering and Technology, one of the most renowned public engineering universities in Bangladesh on June 2017 and placed 8th among the 56 students of my class. Actually in my first semester of undergraduate (UG), shockingly, I was affected by Jaundice severely and I had to go for 40 days bed rest, as a result, I got GPA 2.55 that semester. However, my total CGPA is 3.69 where CGPA of the last seven semesters is 3.84 in the scale of 4.00. During the UG period, I was awarded the ‘Technical Scholarship’ and Dean’s Award (scoring CGPA above 3.75 in consecutive three years out of four years) due to the outstanding academic record. I had not only completed an undergraduate degree but also completed a professional course on Java conducted by ICT division of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, certified by George Washington University, USA in March 2017 and Cisco Networking Academic Program (CCNA Routing & Switching) under the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at YYY in July 2017.

Besides my academic activities, from the very outset of my UG program, I was engaged with various extracurricular activities at my university. I was an instructor of MEC CLUB (An Embedded Systems and Programming based club of ECE Department) at YYY, I used to conduct workshops on Basic Programming and Microcontroller. Later, these activities helped me to choose my professional career as a Lecturer of the CSE Department at a well-known reputed university in Bangladesh.  

I had continued my fascination for participating in different competitions in UG level like my 12th Grade. In the second year of my UG, I started learning hardware programming to participate in Robotics Competition in national and international level and for the first time, I was awarded the 2nd position in YYY ROBO Competition. For this event, I built an Arduino based Wireless Voice Controlled Robot with Live Video and GPS feature using Zigbee in the third year of UG period. This robot was actually built for the rescue operation and for military purpose. This incredible success assisted me a lot to develop more robots. However, I think one of the most prestigious projects I have done in my UG time was Digitalized Environment Lab of Civil Department at YYY and it was a totally IOT based user level sensor network project which has been used for the last 3 years. Afterward, in the third year of UG, my team participated in ROBI AXIATA Idea Carnival where I was the team leader and our team achieved the 2nd place. 

In my senior years, while facing major subjects, I felt strong curiosity to know them deeply so that I could blot out all of my confusion. However, it is a bitter truth that our academic syllabus and timespan of the courses was not enough to satisfy me, later one of my Professors suggested me trying to understand the research paper of well-reputed journals and conferences from some digital libraries and absolutely from that time I slowly got involved in research works and my enthusiasm for doing research was developed. Moreover, from the final year of UG, I spent most of my time in research purpose including my final year dissertation work where my goal was to analyze large data sets to evaluate the performance of Cognitive Radio in different conditions and to detect the influence of primary user on secondary users performance and a research paper on my thesis work has been published entitled “Performance analysis of cognitive radio: Netsim viewpoint”, at EICT 2017. As medical data are very precious regarding medical science, it is a prime demand to classify them in such a way so that we can take an effective decision within a short time. This demand encouraged me to start research on medical row data and I applied ML concept to classify medical records according to ICD-10 and a research paper has been published entitled “A Simplistic, Effective, and Adaptive Approach towards Classifying Medical Records according to ICD-10 using Machine Learning for Efficient Statistics”, at ICEEE 2017

While doing research work on Cognitive Radio, I generally considered the security issue as it is the central interest to guarantee wellbeing for our developing advances. It’s inspired me to work on the detection of the emulation attack of Cognitive Radio Network and also intruders of a Mobile Ad Hoc Network (MANET) system. My two research works have been published in IEEE conference on those topics entitled “Detection of primary user emulation attack in cognitive radio environment”, at ICIEV & ISCMHT 2017 and “Watchdog and Pathrater based Intrusion Detection System for MANET”, at iCEEiCT 2017.

But I conceive that it is not enough for me, I need to learn more to put the best yield in front of my students. I feel the eagerness to learn more about Data Science, Machine Learning and Security in my future academic life that is why now I am looking for a well-reputed university where advanced researches on those topics are conducted. It has seemed to me that the Department of Computer Science at George Washington University is a perfect place for pursuing my Ph.D. The highly qualified faculties of this department with its advanced lab facilities will assist me to reach my destination as a future day’s researcher. The ongoing researches on the Machine Learning, Data Science, as well as Privacy and Security of Dr. Aylin Caliskan are very intriguing. For this reason, I want to enroll in the Ph.D. program. I am confident that my strong motivation, perseverance, research interest, and teaching experience will assist me to conduct high-quality research. I do believe that I have the necessary dictation and dedication to substantiate myself as a strong candidate and I hope my research findings will have a significant commitment in the area of modern technologies.

Courtesy:

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