writing personal statements for university applications

10 Mistakes Students make in SOP’s (University Statement of Purpose)

A Statement of Purpose is a very important document when it comes to securing an admission in a university abroad. A well written SOP can exponentially amplify your chance of getting into the University of your Choice While; on the other hand, a poorly written SOP can hamper your prospects. Thus, one must make sure that SOP which they are writing should be as error free as it can get. After analysing the SOP’s of many applicants, we came across some common mistakes which students make while framing their essays. In the article below, we will throw some light on these mistakes.

1) Writing an SOP at the eleventh hour

This could be a very grave mistake to do. Writing a statement of purpose is a time-consuming process. It requires lot of thinking and perspective to be able to write an SOP which engages your audience. Therefore, start writing one well before your application deadline. Your first draft can never be the perfect one, therefore, give yourself some scope to make additions as you go.

2) Copying and pasting readily available material from the net

At times, just to make tasks easier, many students readily copy paste sentences from well-written SOPs that are available on different sites. One must avoid doing the same as your SOP might undergo a plagiarism test detection and things could go bad. Rather write down your own ideas in form of properly framed sentences. Take correct guidance and help from experts, teachers, tutors to enhance the quality of your writing and ensure that your SOP is free of grammatical, spelling and structural errors.

3) Avoid mentioning generic adjectives and ideas

“I am honest, sincere and punctual”. This sounds very common and generic which almost anyone can blindly put down. Rather re-write the same ideas with the help of narratives and anecdotes which will not only reflect your qualities and achievements but also bolster evidences to substantiate the same.

4) Do not highlight negatives

Try avoiding writing something that presents a sad picture of you. Academic inconsistencies can be mentioned but make sure that you write something additional to illustrate as to how you could make up for your weaknesses. The same should be written in a very convincing style without portraying your image in the bad light.

5) Check for structural errors

Do not write sentences in the form as you plainly speak them. Remember the way you speak things in English differ from the way you would write them. Hence make sure that you use correct vocabularies in the right context, see to it that the sentences are properly structured and well-framed. Avoid writing very long sentences that disturb the flow while reading and at times make the reader ponder as to figure out the essence of the idea that is being conveyed. Hence write short sentences instead with correct flow and usage of words.

6) Ensure consistency of thoughts

A brilliant SOP should contain all the necessary information about you arranged in a proper order of flow and thoughts to make a dent upon the reader. For instance, you could begin with an introduction about why you chose to take up YXZ field of study. What inspired you to take it (a small story). A brief history of your academic journey, your scores and subjects you were inclined towards. This could be followed by mentioning your project-works, final year project, internships, seminars, industrial visits and much more. On the same lines, mention about your co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, a small mention of any special skills that you possess. Describe your work profile if you have any. Talk about your short term and long term goals stating your purpose for pursuing the graduate program. Finally describe as to why you consider yourself a potential candidate to pursue your studies at the university that you have chosen to apply for.

7) Avoid repetition of words, phrases, or ideas

A good SOP oversees repetition of words and even ideas. Same ideas should not be repeated in the form of two differently constructed sentences. This reduces the quality of your SOP.

8) Avoid slang, short forms, and informal language

An SOP is a formal document that speaks on your behalf. Hence, care must be taken to see that it does not contain any slang, colloquial expressions, improper usages or short forms and a casual way of representation of things.

9) Check and double-check your grammar and punctuation

Make sure your words are spelled correctly and that there are no typos in your graduate school statement of purpose. Even if your content is good, these mistakes would spoil the impression of the SOP.

10) Proofread the entire thing at least 2-3 times

Before finalizing the actual draft, get your SOP proofread by language experts or teachers. This will help in ensuring that the SOP is free from all possible errors and is ready for the final submission for applying to the universities.

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