Sop Do's and Dont's

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Effective Openings
Don’t start an SOP by introducing yourself. The university knows your name. It’s on your application form. So don’t open by saying “I, Ravi Kapur, am applying to Rice University for a degree in …”An effective opening grabs the reader’s attention and gets him into your story right away. Be original, use your creativity. Here are a few ways you might begin: Make your reader “Imagine ….” You could create a scenario from your past and then indicate how it influenced you or you could create a scenario that captures your future vision and then a show how this program will help you make it a reality. For example, “Imagine a young girl of 10 visiting her father’s lab every single day. Imagine her fascinated by the world of test-tubes, formulas scribbled on blackboards, and strange odours she never smelt elsewhere. Chemistry runs in my blood,” and so on. Pose a question. Get the reader thinking along certain lines and establish how your vision addresses that question. For instance, if your vision is to bring technology to a rural environment, you could pose the question, “What if every villager in India had access to a computer?” Use a quotation. For this you need to find a quotation that really relates to your essay. You could either quote someone famous or cook up a striking line yourself and not credit it to anyone. Structure and Flow in Your SOP and Essay

The opening para of your essay or SOP is crucial. Not only must it grab the reader’s attention with the effective openings mentioned above, but it must also give an overview of your vision and how the program you are applying to relates to it. This means you have to balance style with substance. Do not make your essay a suspense story, in which no one knows what’s happening until the end. This is an admissions essay and there is a very good chance that you will have lost your reader if you are not upfront. The rest of the paragraphs should have a logical sequence. For instance, in an SOP, you...
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