Qualities of an Appealing Statement of Purpose


Pushpinder Bhatia
Alumni Said Business School, University of Oxford, UK

Qualities of an Appealing Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose, without a doubt has full control on your entire admission package. It is the most crucial and difficult part of the entire application process. Being the most important part, it has the power to either break or make your application. There are some unique qualities to a winning Statement of Purpose that has the capacity to give you a sure shot admission to your choice of college / university.

In order to start crafting a Statement of Purpose, you should be clear in mind about three things in your head- What you want, why you want it and why you can benefit from that particular program that you wish to study. Your SOP is a projection of your honesty and a carefully considered presentation of your goals. It is necessary to keep certain points in mind before you start writing.

Know Yourself- The first and foremost thing is to know your strengths and weaknesses. By knowing about your positive and not so positive points you would be able to answer to any question that the admission committee wants to know about you and your intentions. Questions like why should the university / college select you over someone else should have a clear answer and you need to first ask this to yourself. Knowing the history that led you to decide to apply to a particular program is something that needs to know by you very clearly, once you are sure of the reason you choose to study a particular program, you are ready to begin writing.

Be crystal clear about your ‘purpose’- It is important to understand the purpose why you opt for a certain program and a particular college. While doing so, be careful you don’t indulge in writing too much about the past. Your ‘purpose’ refer to your goals. Some questions such as these should be clearly known to you- why do you want to study the course that you are applying for? Why now? What are your plans after finishing the course? What are your long term plans?

If these questions do not have a clear answer to it then you have probably chosen the wrong course. You need to let the admission committee know that their college or university will be the right place for you and will help you achieve your purpose.

Review, revise, edit- Once the introduction and the body has been handled, you are left with final touch ups, that is revision and editing. To be concise is important, as the admission committee has a lot of applications to go through and thus appreciate information that matters. They welcome short and well- expressed essays. Your first draft should not be expected to be perfect. Instead, keep writing, leave it for few days, come back with a fresh pair of eyes and edit!

Keep in mind that your first paragraph should not be longer than four or five sentences, and still be projecting a summary of the entire Statement of Purpose. The fate of your Statement of Purpose resides quite majorly on the first paragraph itself as by reading it the admission committee shall decide if the rest of the application is worth reading. Keep it simple, honest, focused and concise and you are sure to gain some huge amount of attention in clearly a positive way!

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