How to write a perfect statement of purpose (SOP) for PhD ?
If you are looking forward to writing your first Statement of Purpose for a Ph.D. application, and do not know where to quite start, you have come to the right place. I know it can be overwhelming to write an SOP, but today I am here to help you with it. If you follow through, by the end of this article, you will understand how you can write a perfect statement of purpose for your Ph.D. application.
Let us start with the basics and the fundamentals, which are true to almost every kind of writing. These are the things you already know, but these are also the things that slip your mind when you actually sit down to write. These are the things like accuracy, grammar, the way your sentences are structured, how relevant the information provided by you is, and how convincing does it appear to the examiner.
Do not write about your personal life, no one cares about that in your Ph.D. application. Only write things related to your experience with research, if you enjoyed it, and do not talk in circles. Stick to the point, and keep it simple and straightforward. When someone is examining your Ph.D. application, the key thing that they are looking for is your research potential and how capable you can prove to be after you finish your studies.
Be very clear and read your draft multiple times to make sure that there are no errors (either typos or grammatical errors). Simplicity is magnificence, never write more than you need to. Write to the point, and make sure that your draft is easily readable. People should be able to easily analyze your draft. And make sure that you present it well. Do not write it as a big plain block of text, which is really uninviting to read. Use short paragraphs and subheadings to make your statement of purpose easy to navigate.
When they are evaluating your application, they should have all the points discussed in your statement of purpose that they need to consider, before they approve you. And present it well, it gives the impression that you can write well. Writing is a huge part of research, and writing is a skill that can not be taught very easily. If you can demonstrate that you are already a good writer, it is a plus point in your favor. A student who can write well is a very compelling Ph.D. applicant.
Talk about things like your motivation for research, how and why you think you will be a good fit as a professional researcher. And be painfully clear on what you want, do not come off as someone who is not sure about what they actually want. Do your research on the program before you turn in your statement of purpose, and if there is a certain professor that you would like to work with, you can mention that in your SOP. You can also consider reaching out to him and ask him for advice on your SOP.
Your research potential is a very big factor in your application getting approved. Research is the main thing that you will be doing as a Ph.D. holder. So, you want your examiners to see that you are truly passionate about research and are looking forward to pursuing a career in it. If you have written any papers in the past that got published or worked on any projects (solo or in a group), do mention that in your statement of purpose. Talk about things like, how much you enjoy research, how was your first hand experience with it, and how getting a Ph.D. helps you achieve your long term dreams and goals.
Be specific in what you want
Try to keep your draft interesting, talk about things that people may find interesting about you (with respect to its relevance to research). And be specific about your goals, do not write your draft too vaguely. Share your ideas about the particular things that interest you and how you wish to add more information on that topic than what is available to the world right now.
Even if you do not have a lot of experience in research, talk about how you know that it is what you want to do. What motivates you about it, and what you find exciting about research.
Why that particular program
You want to demonstrate that you have done your research while deciding on a program and that the program that you are applying for is a very good fit for you. Even if you are applying to multiple programs in multiple institutes, make sure that you write separate SOPs for them individually. Do not send the same SOP everywhere, it is very easy to see through when you have done that. Let them see your efforts and demonstrate that you have done in depth research for the programs that you are applying for.
As I mentioned before, if there is a certain professor, whose work you have been following previously, you should mention it in your SOP. You can mention how that person and his work appeals to you, and how you would like to work with or under him. And you should reach out to that person before you turn in your statement of purpose. It shows the authorities that you have done your research and that you are serious about it.
How to write well?
If you can write, present that skill well. Writing is a skill that always compliments research. Even if writing is not your strong suit, writing with good narration and no mistakes can take you a long way. Do not confuse the examiner, simplify things, and do not state any information bluntly. The information you present should have a consistent reading flow.
It is very easy to miss out on your own mistakes, so, after you have finished your draft, run it through some of your friends. Have at least five people proofread your draft. They can advise you on some things as well. Although, do not let a lot of opinions confuse you. Stick to what you believe is the best course of action for you, because in the end, it affects you the most.
Is outside help a good idea?
Well, it depends on your particular situation. But if you think you need some help with your SOP, most of the time, it is a good idea to get it. It can be anyone, you can ask your friends, family, or even your teachers for that. If you are not confident about your writing abilities and do not anyone who is a good writer, you can consider getting some professional help as well.
There are a lot of writing agencies out there that can help you find great writers in the comfort of your homes. Although, finding good agencies can be harder than it sounds. You can ask your friends or someone in your contacts to recommend a good content writing service that they have previously worked with. But do not leave the entire job to them, take their help to write your perfect SOP instead.
I personally would like to recommend Write Right. Write Right is a content writing service based in Gujarat, India. They have skilled writers for any kind of writing job, and they specialize in the statement of purpose writing. I still contact them when I need help with my assignments, or if I am working on a deadline. They have the best writers, and I have never been disappointed working with them. The best thing about them is, that they are not as expensive as most of the other content writing services are. Anyone can afford them, and their writers are skilled and co-operative. They always help me whenever I need any writing related help. And they are punctual, so, I never need to worry about deadlines.
But you should not take my word for it, you should do your own research. Consider doing a bit of research on Write Right as well, and soon you will understand what I am talking about. They also have two subsidiaries which go by the names, Estorytellers and Taletel. So, do consider checking them out. And if you know any other good content writing services, make sure you mention them in the comments below, we would love to know about them as well.
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Good luck, and have a wonderful day. 😊