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.
You can follow a similar process as before here, except the kind of input you receive from a good writer would be different from the kind of input you receive from a subject-matter expert. You need an essay that conveys your purpose and portrays your written skill. When you reach out, mention that you specifically want them to critique the diction of your essay.
danger Finally, don’t reach out to everyone you know at once. Assess the quality of feedback the other person can provide first. Are they an amazing writer with limited time? If yes, you should probably reach out only after you’ve reached version six or seven of your draft. You want incremental input to improve, not a storm of input at once. And even after you receive all their input, assess if it makes sense before incorporating it.
A lot of students want to know when an SOP can be called complete. We know you won’t like this answer, but the truth is: it will never be complete. However, the best practice is to get it reviewed by three to four people and review it yourself half a dozen times. Keep it ready at least a week or two before your deadline. In the final week, simply revisit it every few days and make minor corrections.
We can’t help you in deciding when you know it is complete, but we can tell that you will reach a stage where you wouldn’t want to read a word of it anymore.
This is a great question. A great SOP is not just written well; it is also presented well. Similar to the tips that we had mentioned for editing a resume, we have a few tips for your essay as well.
Use a clear, readable font such as Times New Roman or Helvetica.
Stick to a font size of 12 with a 1.5 line spacing and a margin size of 1 inch on all four sides.
Do not try to make it look eye-catching by adding colors or your picture. They care much more about the content than the visuals.
Upload it as a PDF file so the formatting is maintained.
Indent the first line of each paragraph by half an inch and justify your text.
Take a Walk
As a final piece of advice, take a walk.
Alone, and without your phone.
It can be around a basketball court or in that garden next to your university’s main office. Cal Newport,* an associate professor of computer science and the author of many bestsellers, says in a famous talk,*
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