How important is a statement of purpose?
It’s that time of the year again — contacting professors for letter of recommendations, finalizing school options and drafting personal statements. The Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose (SOP) remains the most important element of the admissions process. It allows the admissions committee to peek into your background, almost a narrative to your entire application. In essence, a well-drafted statement of purpose could downplay certain weaknesses. Further, it can convince the admissions committee to lean towards an acceptance!
William Rieth is a Director of Graduate Enrollment Management at Temple University. He stresses the importance of students understanding their audience before setting out to draft their essays. The SOP should hit a strong note with the admissions officer reading it. Moreover, admission officers read over a 1000 essays. This being said, all efforts should be taken to make them memorable and relatable to the department’s long-term vision.
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Amongst writing coach Debby Bacharach’s strategies for impeccable essay writing, she credits passion and sharing experiences towards structuring a successful personal essay. A student’s ability to align their experiences and talents towards their academic career creates a positive impact during the admissions process. Kushal Srinivas, a postgraduate aspirant starting graduate school in January 2019, credits his personal essay towards his acceptance at Northeastern University. “Despite an incredibly low undergraduate GPA, I took advantage of the SOP to highlight my strengths and develop an entrepreneurial streak during my tenure as a prospective graduate student”. While there is no specific weightage when it comes to admissions, the personal statement can definitely make or break one’s chances of an acceptance.
The personal statement is a chance to shine. Not only is it a word map to your personality, but a chance to amplify skills and strengths. While it never hurts if you draft more than one copy, constructive criticism will surely help refine the final version. All in all, combining experiences, talents and ideas will lead you to the golden ticket – the Acceptance Letter!
Read more about the documents you need to study in Canada in this blog post!