A Statement of Purpose, or SOP, as it is commonly referred to, is easily the most important 1000 words that stand between your application and admission to that dream program. As important as it may be to know what you should include in your SOP, it is equally, or perhaps more important, to understand what not to include in this crucial document.
It is not rare that universities come across a lengthy statement of purpose that is rejected, despite being descriptive and thoroughly proofread. The primary reason why universities turn down such seemingly excellent SOPs is too much unnecessary information. For instance, just because you find it significant to mention something about your family, it does not mean you ramble on about your family only. This is not because a candidate is not aware of what to include. Rather, what they fail to understand is what not to include.
What not to include in your Statement of Purpose
Here are a few pointers to help you write a winning SOP by focusing on what you should NOT include:
Predict your English proficiency score by sharing few details
1) All your accomplishments
Yes, we understand that you were an ace in your academics and a star hockey, tennis and volleyball player. We also understand that you were the lead vocalist of your college band and have at least 50 medals and endless recommendations from your teachers and other prominent people in your life. However, while your SOP can be a brag sheet, it should be a brag sheet with a substance. You need to pick and choose what to include and what to discard. Pick a theme and highlight the accomplishments that are most relevant to your candidacy.
Remember, your resume is the place for listing down your accomplishments; SOP is all about what shaped you into the person you are.
2) Your Family History
We say, do not waste too many precious words to describe your maternal and paternal family to the admission committee. They have no consideration if your forefathers descended from royalty (until that has something to do with the personality that you wish to highlight). Rather, the committee is interested in understanding you as a person, period. Don’t go on and on about how hardworking your father is or how devoted your mother is. A small sentence, if absolutely necessary, should be enough to enclose your family overview. To recapitulate, no family histories, please!
3) Financial Details
Often, universities require separate documentation for your financial status/data. When it comes to scholarships, most universities would ask the candidates to provide a separate essay for the same. Hence, including details about your financial status and requirements is not necessary for your SOP. So, avoid getting into lengthy details about finances (unless money has truly shaped your personality).
4) Details about your Academic Projects/Jobs
Yes, it is important to include your academic projects, in addition to overall performance. What, however, you should avoid is explaining in detail about your project and what you did. The same applies to your work experience. It is important to make a reference, perhaps an illustration to the incident, and then talk about what you learned from it. Remember, it is always important to make your SOP narrative. Focus on your key learning and how they made you into what you are. Leave the lengthy detailing to your resume.
Additional Points to Consider
- Do not include any irrelevant information that is not even remotely connected to your admission.
- Do not use a casual or overly flowery tone.
- Do not write vague statements that may confuse the admissions committee.
- Avoid using clichés or overly dramatic language.
- Avoid flattery or over-complementing the university. They already know why they are good. However, if there is something that is genuinely good about the university, you can mention it in brief.
- Do not sound like a dreamer who is lost in his/her dreams. A university looks for realistic and pragmatic candidates who can do justice to the course.
- Do not provide any false information. If you are unable to justify it, you stand a chance of getting blacklisted.
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What not to include in a Statement of Purpose FAQs
Q. What are some points that I need to take care of while writing an SOP?
Q. What is the structure of an SOP?
Q. Should I include all my personal details in the SOP?
Q. Should I include all of my work experience in my SOP?
Q. Should I mention the need for a scholarship in my SOP?
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