Hello readers! Last week we discussed how to get your undergraduate transcripts and how to submit them to US higher education institutions. This week, we will discuss personal statements. A personal statement, or a ‘statement of purpose’ (SOP), is a relatively short essay that a student should write to explain their relevant background and interests […]
Hello readers! Last week we discussed how to get your undergraduate transcripts and how to submit them to US higher education institutions. This week, we will discuss personal statements.
A personal statement, or a ‘statement of purpose’ (SOP), is a relatively short essay that a student should write to explain their relevant background and interests to the master’s program that they’re applying to. A student’s SOP generally answers these questions:
• What is your educational/work background?
• What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
• Why are you interested in this field of study?
• Why did you choose to pursue this master’s program with this department/university?
• How do you plan to use the master’s degree to achieve your career goals?
In short, the SOP should give the admissions committee some insight into a student’s personality, strengths, and motivation. To write a good personal statement, a student must self-reflect and be able to relate their answers to the questions above to their future studies and goals without repeating any information from the other parts of their application (e.g., grades, achievements, etc.).
Rather than repeating information, the student should focus on what they’ve learned from their experiences. For example, you could write about how certain experiences helped you make discoveries about your vision for the future or how your motivations have changed. Use straightforward language to make focused and specific points that showcase your personality.
Every university will have its own word count requirements, but it will usually be around 750-1,000 words. Students should check what the regulations are for their chosen programs and universities before planning and submitting. It is recommended that students begin the writing process a few months in advance of submission. Give yourself time to review and revise and, if possible, ask an expert in your field to review your SOP as well.
Given that admissions committees will be reviewing students’ personal statements to determine which students are the best fit for their programs, it is essential that students’ SOP be an authentic representation of themselves.
Next week, we will discuss letters of recommendation (LORs).
— US Consulate General, Hyderabad