As the name signifies, the Statement of Purpose (SOP) is your personal statement about who you are, the things that have influenced your career path so far, what your professional interests are and where you plan to go from here.
SOP is the only part of your application packet over which you have full control – unlike your GRE® Test / TOEFL® iBT scores, your academic scores, etc. A good SOP will certainly improve your chances of getting admission into the University of your Choice, and even compensate for weaker portions of your application such as less-than-perfect grades. A bad SOP, on the other hand, has the potential to drag down an otherwise strong application. In short, the SOP gives you a chance to talk directly to the admissions committee, to make yourself stand out from among a multitude of qualified candidates.
Let us look at what a good SOP should typically consist of and the points that you should keep in mind while making your SOP.
The primary question that the admissions committee members ask themselves when they read a Statement of Purpose is: “What does this essay tell us about the person who wrote it?” Put yourself in an admissions officer's shoes. From among thousands of applications, you have to choose the fraction of students that will comprise next year's incoming class. A mix of interesting, capable, confident and enthusiastic people who will make the class a stimulating place. Academic achievements and good test scores are important. But in an era where the majority of applicants have good academic records, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between individuals and decide upon whom an admission should be granted to. That is where a SOP has a role to play in your admission process.
Does this mean that the SOP is the main deciding factor? No. However, only the SOP can bring out your uniqueness. And therefore make or break your application. An applicant who does not take the essay...