Writing a powerful SOP for US University Application
Universities in American are very difficult to get in. Not only do you have to be academically strong, but you should also have a strong background to support your case. The SOPs that are submitted to the universities in USA have to be well written, crisp, attention grabbing and precise. For the universities in the US, SOP is not just a piece of information that you attach with your application, but is considered to be one of the most vital requirements. SOPs are treated very seriously it gives the reader an insight into your beliefs and mindset. Hence it is very important that you write a powerful SOP while applying to any university in the US.
Below is a step by step guide on writing a powerful SOP according to US Universities’ Standards-
1. Length of the SOP- Ideally an SOP should be between 500 to 1000 words and should be summarized in 1 or 2 pages. Do not write more than that if the university has not mentioned the word count or the length.
2. Font style and size- Use only Times New Roman or Arial for your SOP as these fonts are most common in US. Use font size 12 for Times New Roman and size 11 for Arial. Use Black color for the font.
3. Indentation- Use 1.5 line spacing for your SOP.
4. Heading- Write ‘Statement of Purpose’ as the heading and if you want, you can also write the degree or specialization that will give the reviewer an idea of the course you’re applying to.
5. First Paragraph- The first paragraph of the SOP should be catchy and unique. Mention how your interest developed in the field that you want to study and build it like a story that hooks the reader from the very beginning.
6. Body- The body of the SOP contains all the relevant details that will help the reviewer understand about you and your passions in life and your motivation to study this course.
a. Experience- Write about your experiences in the field (if any) and what skills you gained. Write about your projects, internships, extra training etc. and mention everything you did on your own to gain knowledge and experience in the field.
b. Extra-curricular activities in the field- This is to show how well you have acquired other skills such as leadership qualities, communication skills, team work, efficiency etc. If you have organized events or fests during your college time, mention that as well. It is important to keep it brief and precise and related to your field of interest.
c. Academics- Quantify your abilities by using numerical values. If you have been in the top 10 rank holders of your college, mention it.
d. Overcoming hardships- If you had some time off or backlogs, mention those along with a valid reason. Then write about how you overcame those problems. This will show that you have an ability to overcome hardship and still continue strongly along your path with determination. Do not elaborate this. Keep it short and write in just 3-4 sentences.
e. Challenges- Rather than going into the technicalities of your projects or work, mention the challenges you faced during that period and how you overcame them. The application reviewer does not want to know the details of your projects. They want to know your contribution to those projects.
f. Choice of program- Mention why you want to study this particular course and not any other course that may also benefit you. Write in brief about why this course will give you the opportunities that others might not.
g. Choice of university- You have to write the reason why you chose this particular university. Mention the ranking of the university if it is ranked high. Or you can write about the standard of teaching and the quality of education of that university and how it is better when compared to other colleges. Mention the relevance of the degree from that university in your home country.
h. Choice of country- You have to address why you chose USA above all other countries in the world. You can talk about the country’s environment and people and how you think you can fit there.
7. Conclusion - Your concluding paragraph must contain your goals after completing your degree. But most importantly, do not forget to mention that you will come back to your home country after you complete the course and what you expect to do after you come back. It must contain the details of the kinds of jobs you will look for and the companies you may apply to after you come back.
Some extra tips-
· Do not use varied fonts by unnecessarily using BOLD or italics in your SOP. Write it in a simple and sober way.
· Do not mention personal details such as your name, address, phone number etc.
· Do not start the SOP by mentioning your name or introducing yourself.
· Check for grammar and spelling mistakes.
· Do not use a thesaurus to write your SOP. Jargons won’t improve the quality of your SOP.