5 Things You Must Know To Write a Successful Statement Of Purpose For Masters

5 Things You Must Know To Write a Successful Statement Of Purpose For Masters

What’s a Statement of Purpose? What should a Statement of Purpose include? Why is a Statement of Purpose Important? If you’re applying for a degree outside India, a Statement of Purpose (SoP hereinafter) as part of your application process. But you might not know that your SoP is the main aspect of your document the admissions committee analyses. And it’s really important you get your Statement of Purpose for Masters right. In this explainer, I will discuss how you can make your SoP stand out and get through your dream university.

In this article, you will read

  1. What’s a Statement Of Purpose?
  2. What Should A Statement of Purpose Include?
  3. What Should An Ideal Statement Of Purpose Read Like?
  4. Five Things That Will Ensure Your Statement of Purpose Stands Out

What’s A Statement Of Purpose?

A Statement Of Purpose is useful for a Masters’ Degree. Often called a personal statement or even a Statement of Intent is a critical part of your application while applying for graduate school or Masters. It is a one-page snapshot of who you are, why it’s pertinent that you be selected as a part of the course and the university and what value you add to the course. In most universities, your Statement of Purpose is the deciding factor in your admission process.

What Should A Statement of Purpose Include?

Your Statement of Purpose should ideally include your background, educational qualifications and realisations, ambitions and why you fit into a certain program of a certain university. A good Statement of Purpose tells your story.

What Should An Ideal Statement Of Purpose Read Like?

An ideal Statement of Purpose has a striking introduction. A memory or an incident or an interesting fact about you could be the hook to ‘your’ story – a story that shows why you fit for a certain course or field of study. Do not jump into your story. Give enough time to create a good initial paragraph. It is the first thing your audience will read, and first impressions are quickly formed. Suppose your first sentences are dull, irrelevant, eccentric, pompous, or worse still, full of grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. In that case, your reader will quickly form a negative impression, which will stay with them throughout the piece.

After that, talk about how that incident is linked to your education. Then talk about your current dreams, ambitions and passions. And then what you plan to do once your course at the desired university is over – always give them a brief idea of what you’ll do once the degree is over. It shows them that you have a dream, and this course will mark an important juncture in your dream. And lastly, remember that the ‘why you’ part of the Statement of Purpose should be reflected through all these statements – standing out singularly.

5 Things That Will Make Your Statement of Purpose Stand Out

1. Your Statement of Purpose is not your CV

Well, I couldn’t have put it more simply. Your Statement of Purpose is not pointers from your CV or Resume made into full sentences. You do not need to list things meaninglessly in your Statement of Purpose. Your SoP is a journey; only relevant experiences that corroborate your journey and act as highlighters should be used in it. Sit with your CV, figure out the relevant bits from it that synchronise with each other and tell one single story – your story. Draw an outline and write it down. Revise and edit if need be, but remember that what experiences you choose and emit are very important to tell your story. Your Statement of Purpose provides an entire life history. Also, remember to not constantly talk about achievements. Else, by the time you reach the important bit, your reader will have lost interest. Pick and choose wisely. Consult people who don’t know you intimately and make them read it – ask them what it reads like and if it tells your story, and what are some questions that come to their mind while reading it and revisit your Statement of Purpose accordingly.

2. Personal is crucial

Statement of Purpose is also, at a lot of places, called Personal Statement. They need to know you. Not your achievements, your credentials individually (They have the CV for that) – but as a part of the larger story you tell. What sets you apart from the hundreds who have the same credentials? Start with strong personal incidents that motivated you the most during the course. And make it very personal. You must write a statement that will draw the undivided and compelling attention of the committee to read your application. Your Statement of Purpose is a one-page story that tells the admissions committee all about you and why you fit.

3. Purpose is Key

Your statement of purpose should, with pitch-perfect clarity, highlight your purpose. But, it won’t be a good statement if the purpose is written in the end in one line. Your SoP should reflect a whole journey along the path of your chosen career and highlight why it’s important for you to do what you’re applying for. Your passion and journey shouldn’t be stated in a word. They should be highlighted throughout your journey. You then use relevant experiences from your CV to corroborate and point to your sincerity and commitment to the cause. This article has some great examples of what to do and what not to.

4. Show them you care

I cannot emphasise how important this point is. What we often do is that we send the same Statement of Purpose for all the five colleges that we apply for, and we generalise a lot when we pitch ourselves to the university.

‘Yours is a great university. I’ll be delighted and honoured to study at your prestigious university.’

Yeah, don’t do that. Read up on the university. Read up in detail on the faculty and the research project, the clubs, and the forums. Of course, your story won’t change, but every university benefits you differently, and you must tell them how. Personalise your SoP. Answer these questions through your SOP:

-Why that university?

-Why not another university? Anybody in the university whose work tremendously inspires you? 

-What’s your connection with the said work?

-What would you contribute to that work, faculty member, and add to the university if you’re given admission?

– And what’s in it for you? How does it add to your own growth?

These questions, if answered, would add immense value to your credibility, honesty and passion. Simply said, it shows you care.

5. Edit

Let’s tackle the toughest challenge at the end.

Brevity is key. While it’s important you tell them your story, it’s equally and even more important if you can come to the point as succinctly as you can. The application committee reads 1000s of applications every year. Your first para should show them why YOU. Why they should send you that offer letter. Self-edit, peer-edit, go all the way. Practice it. It’s tricky to edit yourself because the process of writing a Statement of Purpose is all-consuming and you get too attached to everything you’ve written. Seek help if that is the case. Or come back to it with a fresher mind.

Good luck with your applications. The admissions process, especially the SoP and essay, is overwhelming. Sometimes, it feels like it’s taking all the patience you can ever have. But persistence, taking it one day at a time, and the tips I’ve shared below help a lot.