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GUIDELINES FOR FRAMING A SOP

HI GUYS AND GALS!!!

HERE ARE SOME GUIDELINES, WHICH WILL HELP U FRAME UR SOP.

HOPE SOPS WOULD NOT BE A WORRYING FACTOR……IN THE FUTURE…

These are my collections from various sites and so there may be
some mistakes. Don’t count on those.

Look for sample SOPs in the next file.

-----VENKAT (r-venkatachalam@eth.net)

 WHAT IS A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE?

 WHAT DO COLLEGES LOOK FOR IN A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE?

 GETTING STARTED

 ASK YOURSELF

 WRITING

 EDITING AND REWRITING

 STRUCTURING YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT

 TEN TIPS FOR BETTER WRITING

 WRITING A WINNING STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

 WORDS TO AVOID

WHAT IS A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE?

As the name signifies, the Statement of Purpose is your personal statement about who you are, what has
influenced your career path so far, your professional interests and where you plan to go from here. It need
not be a bald statement of facts; several successful SoPs address these questions through anecdotes, stories
or by describing their hero. But whether your SoP is subtle or to the point, it must be well written to be
successful.

This is because the SoP is the only part of your application packet over which you have full control. Your
academic and extra-curricular records are in the past. Most people only take one or two shots at the GMAT,
GRE or TOEFL, and these scores could be adversely affected by conditions on the test day. It is important to
choose recommendation letter writers carefully, but while you hope they give you the best possible
recommendation, this is not within your control.

The SoP is your chance to talk directly to the admissions committee. To make yourself stand out from
among a multitude of similarly qualified candidates. To convince the committee that you have the spark, the
thirst for knowledge that could add value to your class.

Most of us work hard for the standard tests – the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL and others. We attend classes or
peruse study aids. We give practice tests and do everything within our power to aim for the highest possible

It requires care. Because we know that these test scores. If you do it this way. Being from a reputed school or college confers a distinct advantage. Creativity. the ability to think independently and so on are all good attributes.s a-pressing and we have to meet the application deadline. If you plan correctly.are the first section admission committee members turn to. you are practically throwing away your chances of admission (see the next section. An applicant who does not take the essay seriously is throwing away the best opportunity available. Does this mean that the SoP is the main deciding factor? No. it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between individuals and decide who gets the offer of admission. attention and patience. yes and no. pride in your work. and even compensate for weaker portions of your application such as less-than-perfect grades. |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| TOP |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| WHAT DO COLLEGES LOOK FOR IN A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE? The primary question admissions committee members ask themselves when they read a Statement of Purpose is: What does this essay tell me about the person who wrote it? Put yourself in an admission officer's shoes. we look at those oh-so-perfect essay examples in the admissions guidebooks and wonder how we can ever write so well. For graduate schools. So are the admission officers looking for specific personality sorts? Well. Or how to pick our way through the minefield of endless Do's and Don'ts. Equally important. because time&rsquo. an enthusiasm for learning. Standardized test scores are useful to know where you stand in the applicant pool. Which is why each essay is read carefully by at least two and often four or five people before a decision is taken on the application. relevant work or academic experience is important. Finally we write something. Writing a reasonably good Statement of Purpose is not an impossible task. Or. But it is the SoP that brings you to life. each of the items in the application packet -recommendations. A good SoP will certainly improve your chances of getting admission to the school of your choice. thoughtful. worrying about transit times. and most of us share these in varying proportions. What your teachers or boss think of you goes a long way towards the school's opinion. Or wonder what shining instance we can pick out of our normal. checking forms for errors and completeness. A good work sample can show your creativity. while not a perfect tool. A bad SoP. curiosity. Your academic record .score. average lives to show that we are unique and remarkable. on the other hand. this is a great opportunity to look inside yourself and be rewarded by a better understanding of who you are.adds an extra dimension to your personality. show them to people and polish the essay till you get a version you are happy with. do a quick scan for obvious mistakes. and send it on its way. And enough time for you to be able to write several drafts. juggling the writing process with the last-minute paraphernalia of applying &ndash. confident and enthusiastic people who will make the class a stimulating place. work samples and resumes go in their right envelopes. work samples . this will even turn out to be an enjoyable process. A mix of interesting. However. are crucial to our chances of gaining admission and even a scholarship or assistantship. I'll scream!). has the potential to drag down an otherwise strong application. polished essay that will boost your chances for admission. on the other hand. a capacity for teamwork. But in an era where the majority of applicants have good academic records. wondering if this latest draft is good enough (If I read that essay once more. is put off till the last possible moment. . From among thousands of applications. We do our best. making sure transcripts. Academic achievements and good test scores are important. recommendations. after overcoming all these obstacles. extra-curricular achievements. Read on. It scares us &ndash. When you apply. grades and the courses you took. collating the application packets. skill and professionalism. We feel thankful when the essay is over. But what schools look for is a mix of individuals that together. And therefore make or break your application. And you will be the richer for it. form a well- balanced class. you have to choose the fraction of students that will comprise next year's incoming class. This would include several personality types. Done right. you can give yourself enough time to submit a well-written. The SoP or essay. only the SoP or application essays can bring out your uniqueness. we falter at the seemingly endless revisions.

write short paragraphs on the following: 1. What is this. from life itself. And that these life experiences have taught you something. what inspires you. your application should reflect it. Don. trying to tailor your SoP to reflect what you think the school is looking for is dangerous business. Be honest. get a feel of the student mix that they look for and decide if this is the school for you. Of course we want to have an effect on the admissions officers. you talk about your deep desire to make society a better place. It is necessary to show that you have thought about this. and where you are going from here. Recalling and analyzing experience . What career have you chosen? What factors formed this decision? 2. Don.write two short paragraphs: 1. What work experiences have you had? What was your job? responsibility? How did you carry it out? o Now look over your paragraphs. And that means almost certain rejection. visit if that is possible. This is good. The people who read your essay want to be convinced that you have thought long and hard about who you are. They are likely to know soon if a particular author is saying something for effect or if an essay does not ring true. Were you a leader? important "team" player? o Looking at what you have found. you can now look for skills and qualities that will help you in graduate school. The important thing is to do so without appearing dishonest. What you want out of life. What sort of important activities have you engaged in? With whom? what role did you play? 3. but you need to make strategic choices. From your books and teachers.self-knowledge. What did you do? How did you accomplish it? 2. What skills and qualities do you see that you possess? For example. several admirable people have no idea where they are going even at age 40 or 50. speak to people about it. However. not necessarily spectacular. B. how can you show that this choice is realistic? (Personal experience in the field is a good place to begin. Have you done anything about this desire? Can you talk about your actions and experiences? A small example of something you did. It is good to go through the school's brochure or web site. The people who read your application have been doing so for years and are skilled at spotting fakes. consider working with others.) |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| TOP |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ASK YOURSELF . for instance. Finally. from your classmates. t try to be something you are not. What factors stand out? o NOTE: You will undoubtedly have more material than you can use. If. Too vague for you? Turn to the section on starting your SoP and find out how these attributes translate into concrete steps. you might ask. can do more towards boosting your chances than the noblest platitude can. It is not necessary to have all the answers . look inside yourself and do your best. What evidence shows that this is a correct choice? That is. Which brings us to the next point . you have to show a desire to learn. Pick a memorable accomplishment in your life. t try to tell the admissions committee what you think they want to hear. |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| TOP |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| GETTING STARTED EXERCISES: A. after all. from music or art. Your career goals . what are the things you appreciate.

2. 5. accomplishments. Were you involved in any especially memorable academic accomplishments in college? Describe them.g. family history. What clubs or other extracurricular activities did you participate in during college? Did you hold any leadership positions? 3. Are you confident? If yes. describe how. describe how.) accurately reflect your academic ability and potential? Why or why not? 7. TOEFL. Did you have to overcome any unique obstacles growing up? Personality Questions: 1. describe how. Are you honest? If yes. Is there anything impressive about your background (e. describe how. books. Are you independent? If yes.g. describe how. . Are you creative? If yes. What are your short and long-term career plans? How certain are you of them? 2. Are you hard-working? If yes. describe how. 3. conversations)? 6.) did you learn in college? 8. 4. etc. Are you responsible? If yes. etc. What kinds of academic skills (research. 6. Who or what has been the biggest influence on your academic development and why? Career Plans: 1. 7. Why do you want a graduate degree? 3. What was the most rewarding class you took in college and why? What was the most rewarding assignment you did and why? 5. Are you mature? If yes. How will pursuing a graduate degree help you reach your career your goals? 3. In addition to classes. lab. Why do you want to study abroad? 4. What hobbies do you do in your free time? 2. GMAT. describe how. Have you done any volunteer work? 1. experiences. What current and past work experiences have you had? What were the most important things that you learned from them? Extracurricular activities: 1. Have you won any awards for your extracurricular achievements? 4. Do you feel your grades (university and graduate school if applicable) and test scores (GRE.1. cultural background)? 2. seminars. lectures. LSAT. Why are you interested in your chosen field of study? How and whendid you begin to get interested? 2. how else did you learn about your field of interest (e. 9.

Your essay should have depth. . Go through the objectives and pitfalls often.your computer's spellcheck may not flush out all the errors. Pitfalls your essay must avoid : It is a repetition of the resume or other information available from the application form. and edit your lists as you go along. Keep the essay focussed. or have someone else read it. and have the confidence to go through with it. would be a valid point to include in your essay. a careful reading may yield several "the's" that are superfluous). it is more convincing to demonstrate your interest by talking about any projects you may have done and what you learnt from them. and fit in the department you have applied to? Language Avoid slang and abbreviations. articles and pronouns (for instance. It could have been written by just about anybody. avoid falling into the trap of mentioning each of them. An account of how you overcame difficult family circumstances. use the full form the first time and show the acronym in parentheses. Demonstrate a rounded personality. not breadth. Structure This follows naturally from flow. The admissions committee would not appreciate reading about the pain you went through after breaking up with your boyfriend. your individuality does not come through. cutting out unnecessary adverbs. demonstrate your interest. so make every sentence count. now is the time to talk about them Show that you have thought carefully about further studies. It is not a honest account in response to the essay question (why you want to study what you do. Do all the paragraphs mesh together to form a cogent whole? Does the essay. and ask yourself if there seems to be an abrupt shift between ideas in two consecutive paragraphs. Use grammatically correct English and ALWAYS read your essay carefully for spelling mistakes before you send it off . |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| TOP |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| EDITING AND REWRITING Language Guidelines Take another 7-8 days to write 3-4 more drafts. conceited. avoid emotional language. The resume is where you should list achievements. Read your essay carefully. Read your essay for flow. However. highly personal and emotional content that should be avoided unless it makes a unique. Include a short paragraph near the end on what you like to do outside of your professional life. the essay should logically progress from paragraph to paragraph. you must be sure to answer them all in your Sop. pedantic or patronizing. Remember that you have very little space to convey who you are. Refer to. While you don't have to stick to the questions asked. Flow While each paragraph should make a complete statement on its own.|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| TOP |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| WRITING Read the essay question carefully to find out what the university expects you to write about. Rather than saying that you find electronics interesting. For acronyms. Each sentence you use should strengthen the admissions committee's resolve to admit you. creative point. or a handicap. If you have taken the initiative to do things on your own. Try to make your essay crisp. Go through them the next day. So while you may have done several interesting things in life. and have others read it to find and correct this. enthusiasm. through a logical progression of ideas. what you have learned from an event/person in your life and so on) It has embarrassing. illness. Remember that your essay has the following objectives: Show your interest in the subject. Refer to your lists of background research and write about two handwritten pages in response to the essay question. Have the admissions committee like you! Avoid sounding opinionated. know what you are getting into.

Express yourself in positive language. . Using that structure for your personal statement provides you with a framework around which to build your essay. or moreover. also called a hook. not what is not. give concrete examples from your life. Your word processing program is open. |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| TOP |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| STRUCTURING YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT You're sitting in front of the computer screen. or letter determine the success of that piece. Say what is. Put your most interesting tidbit at the beginning. conclusion. Begin with a lead. it can misfire and harm your chances. like later. Tone Use a consistent tone throughout the essay . 2. It typically follows the lead and introduces the body. Be careful while using humor . Lead. and sell periodicals. The body provides evidence to support your thesis. You read human interest stories in newspapers and magazines all the time.. Writing about specific experiences has a number of advantages:  Specifics keep the reader's attention more effectively than generalities. Similarly. You don't know where to start or where to go. |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| TOP |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| TEN TIPS FOR BETTER WRITING 1. a startling statistic or quote. In writing the body avoid generalities and platitudes. conclusion. or an entire sentence. Any writer will tell you that the first few lines of an article. restating the thesis. All good things must end. a phrase like After this incident.. a question. furthermore. ad. The conclusion ties up the essay by briefly referring back to the lead. so too must your essay end with a conclusion. Human interest stories typically have the following structure: lead. body. an application essay or personal statement must engage the admissions staff. body. A lead is usually a brief anecdote. Transitions tie one paragraph to the next. That is the structure of a successful human interest story and personal statement.  Drawing on situations in your life will distinguish you from other applicants who superficially may be very similar to you. but the human interest story provides an effective model for writing your essay and easing your frustration. thesis. mentioning some long term goals. You can write application essays in many different ways. The lead has a very important job: hooking the reader. and sell you.  A transition can be a word. there is no harm in looking for the most apt phrase or sentence. additionally. You've been staring at it for what seems like an eternity. They are popular and effective because they engage the reader's interest. thesis. convince them of your viewpoint. Use transitions between paragraphs.. the longest section of your paper. persuade him or her of the writer's point of view. or a gripping description of a scene. What are they looking for? How are you supposed to write it? The cause of your frustration? An application essay. and if relevant. the effective personal statement really tells a human interest story--a human interest story about you. tell him/her the point of your essay--the thesis. And the same is true for your essay. and is hardly likely to endear you to them! While you should avoid flowery language and cliches. The thesis can be a one- sentence summary or road map of your personal statement. but the screen is blank.it will only confuse the admissions officers if you alternately sound like Ernest Hemingway and Shakespeare. Now that you have the reader's attention. After all.

and 9 are tools for implementing this suggestion. probably. there was significant development of my maturity and markedly improved self-discipline towards school work. You do convey the wrong message or convince the admissions officer that you are inarticulate. The passive voice is wordier and frequently less clear. Make every word count. After the DELETE key. Understand the words you write. I matured and my self-discipline improved tremendously.. Whatever the purpose. check out the tips below on "Getting Started" I. not to impress the admissions staff with your vocabulary." 3. You may want to show that you have the ability and motivation to succeed in your field. Active voice They both communicate the same information. complex. it specifies who is performing the action and what is the object. you are the kind of candidate who will do well in the field. If you do not believe what you write. Do not repeat yourself. You write to communicate.  You might improve your writing somewhat if you sometimes try to follow this suggestion. possibly. The admissions officers are swamped. . punctuation. Deleting unnecessary qualifiers will strengthen your writing 1000%. Determine your purpose in writing the statement Usually the purpose is to persuade the admissions committee that you are an applicant they should choose. and compound sentences. or you may want to show the committee that. 5. The example contains nonsense. and E. Topic B.. If you are writing about Topic A and now want to discuss Topic B. they do not want to spend more time than necessary reading your essay. 4. object all the time. Be succinct. it must be explicit to give coherence to the whole statement. using one will make your writing more interesting. verb. however. on the basis of your experience. Compare:  During my sophomore and junior years. |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| TOP |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| WRITING A WINNING STATEMENT OF PURPOSE  Before you start. 6. 10. When you choose a word that means something other than what you intend. Containing basic rules of grammar. Compare:  The application was sent by the student. Equivocating reveals a lack of confidence. 7. It's boring to see subject. and style. Mix simple. The first example takes many more words to give the same information. Each sentence and every word should state something new. The active voice. etc. Look up synonyms in a thesaurus when you use the same word repeatedly. why should the admissions staff? 9. composition. you neither communicate nor impress. Tips 7. As long as you follow Tip 4. Use the active voice.B.  During my sophomore and junior years. White. Vary your sentence structure. the thesaurus is your best friend. 8. is more concise. you can begin the new paragraph with a transition such as "Like (or unlike) Topic A. this indispensable classic is available in paperback and is only eighty-five pages long. Avoid qualifiers such as rather. somewhat. 8. quite. Jr.. Read and reread Elements of Style by William Strunk. Passive voice  The student sent the application. Say what you have to say in as few words as possible.

6. 3. Any special conditions that are not revealed elsewhere in the application such as a large (35 hour a week) work load outside of school. Above all this. 2. Determine your approach and the style of the statement There is no such thing as "the perfect way to write a statement. Notice: This example question says through people not with people. 4. Pay attention to the purpose throughout the statement so that extraneous material is left out. This too should be followed with a positive statement about yourself and your future. Your special preparation and fitness for study in the field. They want to know that you can think as much as what you think. Your purpose in graduate study. This will include your career goals and plans for your future. For example: "What are the strengths and weaknesses in setting and achieving goals and working through people?" In this question there are actually six parts to be answered 1) strengths in setting goals. answer that way. The area of study in which you wish to specialize. Determine the content of your statement Be sure to answer any direct questions fully. Any problems or inconsistencies in your records or scores such as a bad semester. They know nothing about you that you don’t tell them. "Why do you wish to attend this school?" This requires that you have done your research about the school and know what its special appeal is to you. Usually graduate and professional schools are interested in the following: 1. This means you must have thought this through before you try to answer the question. 4) weaknesses in setting goals. 2) strengths in achieving goals. 5) weaknesses in achieving goals and 6) weaknesses in working through people. This is the opportunity to relate your academic background with your extracurricular experience to show how they unite to make you a special candidate. Your future use of your graduate study. your audience is made up of faculty members who are experts in their field. the statement is to contain information about you as a person. Pay attention to the audience (committee) throughout the statement. Since this is a rebuttal argument. II. Remember. You may be asked. 7. 8. if it says with people." There is only the one that is best for you and fits your circumstances. 5. it should be followed by a positive statement of your abilities. This requires that you know the field well enough to make such decision. You are the subject of the statement. Pay attention to small words. III. 1. Be sure to explain in a positive manner and justify the explanation. There are some things the statement should not be: . Analyze the questions or guidance statements for the essay completely and answer all parts. 1. 3) strengths in working through people. 2.

It should be specific. Avoid the "what I did with my life" approach. d. c. don’t overburden them with extra pages. These are some things the statement should do: 1. (2) about your field. This was fine for grade school essays on "what I did last summer. excited appealing aspect challenging enjoyable." It is not good for a personal statement. 4. enjoy I like it satisfying. Do not leave in typographical errors. It should be an example of careful persuasive writing. Write directly and in a straightforward manner that tells about your experience and what it means to you. It should be objective yet self-revelatory. Document your conclusions with specific instances or draw your conclusions as the result of individual experience. 2." This is only appropriate if it also reflects your current career goals. and (4) about your career concerns. 2.a. Keep to the Page Limit Number!!! Reviewers have to read hundreds of these applications. Equally elementary is the approach "I’ve always wanted to be a __________. CONSIDERTIONS ABOUT FORM: 1. While this may have motivated many of us to go on to graduate study in psychology. Also avoid a statement that indicates your interest in psychology is because of your own personal psychotherapy or a family member’s psychological disturbance. this is not what your audience is necessarily looking for in your statement. (3) about your future goals. satisfaction I can contribute it’s important rewarding valuable fascinating gratifying helpful appreciate meaningful useful helping people meant a lot to me feel good I like to help stimulating remarkable people incredible |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| TOP |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| . Do not use "academese" or jargon. 3. rite? (laugh) |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| TOP |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| WORDS TO AVOID Significant Invaluable appealing to me interesting exciting. You don’t want to be taken less seriously due to a typo. b. See the list of general Words to Avoid Using without Explanation listed below. It should form conclusions that explain the value and meaning of your experiences such as: (1) what you learned about yourself.