Why Do You Need A Statement Of Purpose?

Let us move away from application procedures for just a bit and understand the spirit behind writing a statement of purpose. If you understand this, you will write your SOP draft faster. Not only that, but you will also not need to read a ton of statement of purpose examples before writing one by yourself. Basically, the college that is going to grant you admission does not know who you really are. At least, not beyond the bullet points in your resume. The trouble is the inspiration for wanting to join a college or a particular program may not be captured in the resume. Very often, students can trace back the source of inspiration to events in their childhood. Therefore, the job of grad school personal statements and MBA SOPs is to capture that inspiration and relate it to the program you are applying for. Let us look at some examples of what kind of life events we are talking about.

Unearthing the Inspiration behind a Statement of Purpose

Example 1: Using Unique Experiences from The Past

Say, you went on an African safari during your holidays and ended up with an enduring love for wildlife. Now, you want to do a grad program in zoology to become a wildlife biologist. As you can imagine, your SAT scores or GPA are not going to explain why! You will need to tell the colleges about your trip to Africa in a personal statement for graduate school.

Example 2: Overcoming a Challenge Or Adversity

Yet another statement of purpose example could be overcoming a challenge or adversity. This is a popular theme and rightly so. Many of us find immense drive to pursue a certain academic path due to a challenge we faced in our past. It is worth highlighting a couple of things regarding using this theme.

Firstly, the adversity you faced or the challenge you overcame need not be an intense or a unique one. Even everyday stories can make great SOP content. For example, a student who worked systematically to overcome juvenile obesity is a common enough story. But it can spark an academic interest in public health and nutrition which then makes a unique point in a statement of purpose for grad school.

Secondly, your experience need not have a direct connection with the program you choose. Every kid dismantles toy cars and airplanes. But not all of them will want to become automobile engineers or aircraft designers. As long as you are able to draw a connection credibly and convincingly, you can use any meaningful experience you like. Taking the same example as above, the student battling obesity would have learnt the virtue of determination, persistence, and goal-oriented approach at a young age. This would have come handy at all academic levels - SOP for grad school, SOP for MBA, SOP for PhD, etc.

Example 3: Chasing a Unique Dream or a Vision

Take the example of a student who grew up with a limp caused by polio. He applied for a master's in Dance Theatre (not a degree in Physiotherapy or Orthopedics). The points we discussed above, i.e., overcoming difficulty, and choosing an unconnected academic path are both illustrated here. But there is also a whole new dimension about reaching for a difficult goal that never fails to impress universities. If such is your case do not hesitate to include that in your grad school personal statement.

These above examples should give you some ideas of what to look for SOP content.

SOP Connects Your Past with a Potential Future

To answer why you need an SOP, you will need to unearth your inspirations behind wanting to pursue something today. You will need connect the dots between your life experiences and your academic track. You must present a complete picture of who you are behind the veneer of your resume. If you understand this true spirit behind an SOP, you will not need to see any statements of purpose examples.

What if a University does not ask for a Statement of Purpose?

Once you know how valuable the opportunity to tell your story via a personal statement is, you will miss it if it is not part of the process. Even if a particular university does not specifically ask for an SOP, it may include essay-form questions that serve the same purpose. In some online applications you may have a placeholder called "Additional Information". Use this space creatively.

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Author(s): Alizay Khan
Published at: 09 Mar 2021 14:35 GMT
Original link (login required): https://ilde2.upf.edu/levinsky/pg/lds/view/8754/