The Statement of Purpose is the single most important part of your application that will tell the admissions committee who you are, what has influenced your career path so far, your professional interests and where you plan to go from here.
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.
Remember that your essay has the following objectives:
Show your interest in the subject. Rather than saying that you find electronics interesting, it is more convincing to demonstrate your interest by talking about any projects you may have done and what you learnt from them. If you have taken the initiative to do things on your own, now is the time to talk about them
Show that you have thought carefully about further studies, know what you are getting into, and have the confidence to go through with it. Have the admissions committee like you! Avoid sounding opinionated, conceited, pedantic or patronizing. Read your essay carefully, and have others read it to find and correct this.
Demonstrate a rounded personality. Include a short paragraph near the end on what you like to do outside of your professional life. Keep the essay focussed. Each sentence you use should strengthen the admissions committee's resolve to admit you. So while you may have done several interesting things in life, avoid falling into the trap of mentioning each of them. Your essay should have depth, not breadth. The resume is where you should list achievements. Remember that you have very little space to convey who you are, so make every sentence count.
Pitfalls your essay must avoid : It is a repetition of the resume or other information available from the application form, It could have been written by just about anybody; your individuality does not come through, It is not a honest account in response to the essay question (why you want to study what you do, what you have learned from an event/person in your life and so on) It has embarrassing, highly personal and emotional content that should be avoided unless it makes a unique, creative point. The admissions committee would not appreciate reading about the pain you went through after breaking up with your boyfriend. An account of how you overcame difficult family circumstances, illness, or a handicap, would be a valid point to include in your essay. However, avoid emotional language.
So now you have a coherent essay put together. You think the structure is more or less right, the ideas flow, and the language isn’t bad. What next?
The ‘In their shoes’ check
Put your essay away for a day or two. When you take it out, lay it face down for two minutes while you put yourself in the admissions committee’s place. Imagine yourself to be a professor or graduate student who is going through a few hundred applications and classifying them into ‘yes’, ‘maybe’ and ‘no’ piles. Think of how you would look at SoPs and try to read yours through a stranger’s eyes. What do you see?
The sample essays that we have used on this site are actual essays that were authored by applicants to American universities. We haven't altered these essays apart from sections that have been modified to protect the author's identity.
We do not claim that these essays are by any means perfect. They have been chosen to be uploaded because we feel that they contain certain elements that applicants should look out for. There are also numerous aspects that all applicants should avoid. Hence these essays have been critiqued. You can access critiques for each paragraph by clicking on the appropriate button provided alongside the relevant paragraph.
We encourage the users of our site to exercise common sense and discretion while using these essays and their critiques. We strongly advise our users against copying the essays, or parts thereof, since there are numerous services on the internet that allow universities to check essays for suspected plagiarism. One such service is www.plagiarism.org.
We'd advise any user who is tempted to copy-paste parts of these essays to first consult what these services have to offer. In case you do decide to plagiarise these essays, we absolve ourselves of all responsibility for the dire consequences that could (and should) follow. Please remember that these essays are meant to enable you to write better and they're certainly not intended to be short-cuts to application-essay glory.
Whoever first said that you should worry only about the things you can control was not helping to ease the concerns of the student writing his or her application essay. By that criterion, the student-writer should be very worried indeed.
The scariest aspect of the admissions essay is that you have total control over it. With EssayEdge's help, however, you will learn to see the essay-writing process not as a daunting obstacle but as a stimulating opportunity. When you send out your application, you will--in theory--have nothing left to worry about, knowing that you have capitalized on all the means available to you.
Business school students face a uniquely difficult challenge, because most programs require a series of essays rather than a single, comprehensive personal statement. This fact alone should indicate the importance that business schools place on your written responses. Part of the reason for this extra required writing is that business schools also place a stronger emphasis on practical experience. Academic ability may still be the number-one factor, but it's not enough to get you into a school, just as it's not enough to guarantee your success in the business world. Business schools pay close attention to personal qualities, including your leadership, communication skills, initiative, vision, and many more. Grades and scores do not explain this side of you, and neither does a resume.
Thus your admission will depend largely on your ability to convey your experiences and goals in written form. Self-assessment is a significant part of this process, as is a careful review of both your life and what you have done professionally. Many successful professionals have simply never had to articulate their accomplishments before and now for the first time must communicate this information in a very clear, concise, powerful manner that is accessible to anyone, even without knowledge of their field. Being able to convey both the substance and significance of one's work life is crucial for all applicants.
These lessons will familiarize you with the most common questions on business school applications and explain some possible strategies for handling them. However, there is no single way to approach any of these questions, as they are often open-ended and leave a great deal of room for creativity. In fact, browsing a section for a question you don't have can still be useful, because you might discover a strategy that you can apply to an entirely different question.
Our goal is to focus on actual essays rather than make abstract suggestions, because you can learn more from illustrative examples than from principles that may not apply to your case. The insights we gain from analyzing these sample essays should inform rather than dictate the approach you choose to take. The number-one mistake that writers make is to stick to formulas and, therefore, end up blending in with everyone else. The purpose of this guide is not to teach formulas but rather to give the necessary direction for you to create an original and effective essay.
Scholarship essays vary dramatically in subject. However, most of them require a recounting of personal experience. These tips will be more helpful for writing personal essays, like for the National Merit Scholarship, than for writing academic essays.
The most important aspect of your scholarship essay is the subject matter. You should expect to devote about 1-2 weeks simply to brainstorming ideas. To begin brainstorming a subject idea consider the following points. From brainstorming, you may find a subject you had not considered at first.
o What are your major accomplishments, and why do you consider them accomplishments? Do not limit yourself to accomplishments you have been formally recognized for since the most interesting essays often are based on accomplishments that may have been trite at the time but become crucial when placed in the context of your life. This is especially true if the scholarship committee receives a list of your credentials anyway.
o Does any attribute, quality, or skill distinguish you from everyone else? How did you develop this attribute?
o Consider your favorite books, movies, works of art, etc. Have these influenced your life in a meaningful way? Why are they your favorites?
o What was the most difficult time in your life, and why? How did your perspective on life change as a result of the difficulty?
o Have you ever struggled mightily for something and succeeded? What made you successful?
o Have you ever struggled mightily for something and failed? How did you respond?
o Of everything in the world, what would you most like to be doing right now? Where would you most like to be? Who, of everyone living and dead, would you most like to be with? These questions should help you realize what you love most.
o Have you experienced a moment of epiphany, as if your eyes were opened to something you were previously blind to?
o What is your strongest, most unwavering personality trait? Do you maintain strong beliefs or adhere to a philosophy? How would your friends characterize you? What would they write about if they were writing your scholarship essay for you?
o What have you done outside of the classroom that demonstrates qualities sought after by universities? Of these, which means the most to you?
o What are your most important extracurricular or community activities? What made you join these activities? What made you continue to contribute to them?
o What are your dreams of the future? When you look back on your life in thirty years, what would it take for you to consider your life successful? What people, things, and accomplishments do you need? How does this particular scholarship fit into your plans for the future?
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