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– In US universities, your grades are not the only criteria for your selection in a graduate program.
– Prospective students get admission on the basis of their overall personality, which is reflected by the SOP they write and the letters of recommendation they get from their professors.
– SOP is a statement from a student that is being asked by nearly all schools either at undergraduate or at graduate level. It is a very important and essential component of your application packet. This is a one page or a maximum of two page essay written by you to the graduate school that describes what is it in you that makes you different from others. Therefore, you have to write all your extraordinary abilities that distinguish you from other applicants.
– Most importantly, your SOP should clearly indicate the reason why you are specifically interested in this program.
– A poorly written SOP can hamper your chance of getting admission to a good university even though you are the best in your test scores and transcripts.
– SOP is an important part of the application packet; most graduate committees look for students who know how to deal with problems, have a strong background of their subject and are keen on learning new techniques so that they can lead their research with their originality, creativity and skills.
– Also because personal character or the ability to troubleshoot cannot be determined by a person’s degrees or mark sheets or test scores, schools require a personal statement.
– In today’s competitive world, every one gets competitive scores and those who apply for the US universities are already amongst the best. Thus, it is very important to describe your self in a best possible manner by your SOP.
– Due to the overwhelmed workload involved in applying for US universities, most students are not able to write their SOP well.
– We have developed an algorithm by which you will be able to write a completely satisfactory SOP.
– This algorithm has been developed by our mentors who are presently studying and teaching at various American universities.
– The reason for applying in their department and the university.
– Are you excited about the graduate program and field of research?
– What have you done in past that will make you successful in future?
– Can you troubleshoot?
– They want people with diverse experiences as their students.
– Who are you?
– Inspirations and dreams?
– Why you have chosen this career path and this profession?
– What are your plans?
– You need to justify each word by your actions.
– E.g. if you say that you have a scientific mind, then ask your self a question.
– What have you done in your past that convinces you that you have a scientific aptitude?
– Have you ever participated in scientific exhibitions?
– Has anyone reviewed your scientific project?
– Or have you ever given a scientific presentation? If yes, then describe it as a short story.
– Facts such as your GRE score or grades. They are already in your Resume or CV.
– Dishonest untruthful statements.
– Clichés and Shakespeare language (Esp. for health related research subjects). Repetition of adjectives and try to include “this is where I learned how to handle/ do …”
Day 1-3 (Part 1): Start from scratch to build a resume.
– Take a pen and paper or your computer and write down ALL the achievements of your life.
– Keep a diary with you throughout the day and keep thinking and scratching your history.
– Write down each and every accomplishment e.g. working as a school captain, or volunteering to do work for the society, or participation in an educational event, quizzes, conferences etc, or representing school college at national or international level, or any publications in scientific journals, newspaper/magazine articles and most importantly, any work experience.
– This will build your confidence and you will start believing in yourself. Next, you can start writing about yourself because now you have sketched out your past.
– Write and try to find if you have any special skills that can be used by the people at the future university. E.g. Animal handling skills (for health science research) or if you can handle a mass spectrophotometer or know a special software or machine that requires intensive training. Consider these as your GOLD points.
– By the end of day 3, you should have a complete list of your achievements handy in your notebook and make a Resume from that. See our resume section for more details.
– Do not try to copy an essay from a website. Often universities have software to detect plagiarized documents as they have many years of experience.
Day 4-6 (Part 2): Find a reason
– Answer why do you want to study further in your subject?
– Don’t say because of society or because of nation or any other clichés.
– Write whatever comes to your mind as a person and write a personal answer; don’t be shy during writing. SOP is the sole way for the graduate review committee to know you and your personality. If you cannot find a reason contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Next day, read this content again and then ask yourself which reason was the most motivating of all.
– E.g. For a cancer researcher, it could be familial history of cancer deaths in the family; for another person, a hobby may become a profession, or some undone work which has been left by your ideal or an inspiration from a person like your grandmother or mother. Try to include some unique real life situations.
– This is the hardest part; once you really find a reason then you are good to go.
– You need to think about the time from your childhood to present.
– After going through your list of achievements and life’s experiences, you will be able to understand the factors that have modulated your life, interests, goals and career.
– Select one or two crucial stages of your life and make a short story that has the following points:
– A strong association with you
– Explains a problem faced by you
– Answers how you handled the situation and troubleshooted the problem
– Indicate what have you learned
This may take more than three days but that’s okay.
Day (7-9): Playing with words
– Check if the university you want to apply to wants you to answer some specific questions.
– Write at least two to four page answers for the questions asked by the university. If the university has specified the word-limit, don’t worry about it in your initial drafts but stick to it in the final draft.
– It is a good idea to form a single draft initially which can be modified as per the requirement of different universities.
– If you are writing for the Pharmacology program, then instead of saying “I like pharmacology”, write an anecdote about an experience/incidence you had while studying pharmacology that brought you closer to the subject.
– Should be an eye catcher but should not be written in the beginning (hardest part to write). This should introduce you as a person.
– Experience from childhood or school education.
– Any unforgettable event or turning point in your life such as any emotional event which you think is relevant to your field. You should have gained some experience from this event and learned how to move on in life.
– If using acronyms such as CCR FYI, write like this: “I worked with a scientist at the Center for Cancer Research Fellows and Young Investigators Association (CCR FYI) ….made me confident to troubleshoot on my own. My experience at CCR FYI …” The first time you use an acronym, include its full form.
– What values and research experiences are you bringing with you?
– Future direction of your life.
– Should exhibit you as a focused individual.
– This should also explain that if selected, you are committed and will join the institute and the program.
Day 10: Editing and re-editing after you have finished writing.
Read the essay after 3-4 days assuming yourself as a graduate committee member.
– What do you think?
– Will you accept this student?
– Write the remarks as: ◦ Yes ◦ No ◦ May be
Send your SOP to email@example.com to get feedback.
Show it to your friends, professor or an English teacher and ask them about their remarks. Ask them to fill the attached assessment form and apply their comments and suggestions.
– Check font size and margins
– Check spelling and grammar
– Avoid special colors, fonts, special effects; make it simple black font on white paper.
– Check the name of the university/school on the SOP. Sometimes, students might send SOP of one university to another university.
– Write the name of the program and the name of the university that you are applying to.
– If you are using an application form for writing or typing your essay, first try it on a duplicate form.
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