Final Thoughts on Writing Your SOP



Updated June 8, 2022

You’re reading an excerpt of Admitted by Soundarya Balasubramani. Written by an Ivy League graduate from India, this is the proven guide for students worldwide looking to pursue undergraduate or graduate study abroad in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. Purchase for instant access to the guide and other exclusive resources—including sample SOPs, sample resumes, scholarship lists, and a private community with other readers.

Humans will always be riddled with cognitive biases. Rather than trying to escape them, think about how you can use the knowledge to your advantage. The statement of purpose is one part of your application, not all of it. Don’t overstate its importance. The person reading it wants you to show them how you plan on utilizing the time spent at their university as a bridge to go from where you are now, to where you want to be.

As you begin to think about writing the essay, first take a step back and try to answer a few questions: Why are you choosing this university and major? How do you want to spend your time at graduate school? What is your long-term goal? Do you have the experience needed to provide value in return? Can you think and write clearly? These questions should be used as guiding principles, and ideally, your essay should answer all of them.

Getting your SOP reviewed is very critical, but don’t begin sending emails to dozens of seniors without wording it carefully first. Be very selective in the people you choose, and try to reduce the friction from their end as much as possible by sending it in a collaborative document where they can add comments, and send helpful reminders if they don’t respond after a week. The people you reach out to have been in your shoes already, so they understand the need.

You will never be sure that you have reached the end of your review process. So either stop editing it a week before the application deadline, or set a threshold of six to seven reviews before declaring it done. Finally, take a walk alone to indulge in your thoughts. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the things you begin to notice.

A Little Reflection on Statements of Purpose

thinkWhen you went through some of the cognitive biases, did you notice any that you fell prey to recently?

What do you want the person reading your statement of purpose to walk away thinking?

If you were the senior being approached by five students, how would you want them to email you?

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