6 Tips for a Killer SOP

What to write in an SOP and what not write in an SOP are questions that seem to constantly confuse candidates seeking admissions. The more the candidate, the more there are posts about how an SOP should be.

The bottom line is that, just as every person has had different experiences, every university, and every program, and every chair has different expectations from the SOP.

However, the general rule is that an SOP should be about you as a potential student at the university, and not about what made you who you are, or about what has always interested you as a child.

Here is what Wrexham Glyndŵr University has to say about what the SOP should be all about:

1. Personal statements do not have to be lengthy.

Translation – The selection committee does not have time to read biographical novellas or cinematic presentations or a show reel of your life. Keep it to the point. A page or a page and a half should be good enough. Try not to write more than two pages. If you want to keep to absolutely on point, a 5 paragraph SOP should meet most requirements.

2. Avoid flowery language.

Translation – An SOP is not a platform to showcase your spelling-bee prize-winning skills, or your vast, mind-boggling range of vocabulary. If those fancy words come to you naturally and fit in the flow, great! Do not put in extra effort you use big words. Despite all the good intentions, it is a huge turn off for most readers.

3. Each personal statement should be unique.

Translation – Do not copy. Just do not. Your friend’s sop is her/his story. Not yours. The same is the case with words. Make the SOP yours. It should be like a tailor made suit. Made to fit you perfectly. If you are too lazy to write your SOP, the department might want to be too lazy to give you an admit. Also, it is now incredibly easy to detect plagiarism. Do yourself a favour, and make one for yourself, or get one made! Do. Not. Copy. EVER!

4. Know the program.

Translation – Do not use a blanket SOP for every university/program. If the you have selected a professional programme (e.g. MBA), it is very important that you explains your career goals in relation to future professional work in the industry; do not say want to work as a researcher/scientist!

5. Explain why, not who.

Translation – If you are switching fields, explain why you are making such a switch. Irrespective of whether you are switching, explain why you should be chosen, and what makes you a fit for the program. This has to be abouyt your skills. Not about your desires, wants, and wishes. We aren’t here to discuss unicorns🦄 and dreams🌈, no matter how interesting they might be!

6. There is something called too much detail.

Translation – Do not go into excessive detail. Telling you have a good grasp of organic chemistry should more than do. You do not have to name the chapters you are good at, and the professor who taught you, unless of course he happens to be a Nobel laureate, and you happened to help him in getting to the Nobel. The same goes for the names of your schools and colleges, and the subjects that you have learnt. All these details are best avoided.

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