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Writing your own Statement of Purpose

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  • The admission officers are looking for the you behind the exam marks, the GRE/GMAT scores. The you not revealed by the rest of the application. Try not the repeat information available in other parts of the application, unless you have a strong reason to.

  • An SOP can swing decisions. It can also help crystallize an impression of you that the faculty has developed after going through other parts of the application. So don't come out looking like a person lost.

  • What you write is indicative of you, of your judgement. Much time & thinking should go into your SOP (even weeks).

  • Be specific. So you want to be a Doctor. Why ? Give logical reasons. Explain the origin and growth of your interest. An application to Graduate School should emerge as a logical conclusion to your story.

  • Thoughtfulness: Show that you have not just got all the info about the college from the brochure. Don't get too abstract. Explain why a course means something to you.

  • One of the worst things that you can do is bore the committee. Be lively, fresh, articulate, different. Make yourself memorable.

  • Answer the questions:

    • "What's unique / impressive about your life story - family problems, history, people who changed your life and goals" ? What sets you apart from other applicants ?

    • When did you originally become interested in this field and what have you learnt about it (and yourself) that has further stimulated your interest ?

    • How have you learned about this field - classes, reading, work or people already in the field ?

    • What are your career goals ?

    • Have you overcome any hardships (economical, familial, physical) in your life ?

    • What personal characteristics of yours enhance your prospects for success in your field ?

    • What is the most compelling reason for them to take you ?

  • Don't include:

    • References to experiences in school unless v. relevant (after all that was so long ago, haven't you done anything better since then ?)

    • Potentially controversial topics

    • Political views

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Last Updated June 26, 1999

Note: These points have all been collated from books available at the USEFI, and are intended solely to clear certain doubts about the application packet for US universities, and not as an authoritative discourse. I am not responsible for any loss or damage caused as a result of action taken based upon any fact given here.