One of the things I have seen many students ask seniors or others when applying to graduate school for study in US is, ask for copies of previous statement of purpose (SOP) related to that area… Some of them just read them and write their own SOP, but most of them just modify the existing ones or in some cases just copy the exact one and apply to US Schools. Let me share some thoughts on why you should NOT copy Statement of Purpose. If you are not sure what SOP is, read this : What is Statement of Purpose(SOP) ? Importance.
Why you should NOT copy the SOP ?
As mentioned before, Statement of purpose (SOP) is simply your goal statement defining your reason for graduate school education. Imagine you copying it…in fact, if you copy, what you are essentially doing is taking others goals and saying that it is your goal… isn’t that kind of cheating yourself ? Some may argue, I do not know English, I cannot write, and other reasons…remember, your SOP need not be glossed with fancy vocabulary. It just has to state your goals for studying graduate school in simple English.
Imagine you copy other’s SOP, in reality you are just cheating yourself…It essentially states a point that you have never thought of why you wanted to go to graduate school…If you do not even have a goal for studying Graduate school in US, why even study it ? I am not trying to discourage anyone by any means, but just questioning your instincts and gut before you jump the bandwagon blindly.
Graduate School Assessment of SOP for Admission ?
Anyways, coming back to point, Graduate schools in US, when they look at your application as a whole, they try to match your SOP with your academics, GRE, TOEFL and other stuff you have done in the past. You really do not want to copy others SOP because, it has stuff like what they did in their career. Your SOP should reflect what you have done…If the admission committee does not find your application supporting your SOP or vice-versa, there is a high chance for them to think you just copied SOP and deny the admission. Some just copy the technical stuff in SOP trying to do so and so…remember, if you have never done research and you just brag about all research in SOP, it does not support the facts at hand with your application. You better be clear on what you write in SOP and it ties back to your application. So, always be careful and do not copy SOP.
How to use previous SOPs or Sample SOPs ?
It is a good idea to read few of the existing Statement of purpose copies to get an idea of how it is written and how the thought process flows in SOP describing achievements, goals, etc. You should just read multiple SOPs to get an idea and create that framework for developing your ideas. You should not just copy and paste anything. Writing SOP is your place to be creative and put your own thoughts and create a unique plan distinguishing from others.
I plan to post some SOP samples and strategy to write SOP in future articles. Stay tuned by subscribing.
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