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Common Mistakes

Common Mistakes to Avoid in an SOP

The statement of purpose is one of the most important documents that gives an opportunity for students to stand out from their competitors. Considering the weightage it has in the admission process, all the students would intend to write an impressive SOP, however, they tend to make certain mistakes when they draft their statement of purpose.

Have a look at the 9 most common mistakes made by students while writing their SOP and learn how to avoid them in your SOP:

  • Writing the SOP at the last moment: Most students start writing their SOP a few days or a few hours before the submission. This results in an ineffective SOP that has many drawbacks. To avoid this, it is suggested that students give themselves a minimum of 4-5 weeks to brainstorm, write drafts and finalize their SOP. Starting off early gives students enough time to do proper research and make changes in their SOP to make it very interesting.
  • Uninteresting introduction and conclusion: A weak introduction and conclusion will lead to disinterest among the admission panel members. It is important for students to remember that the “First impression is the last impression”. It is vital to write a very impactful introduction as it gives the admission members the first impression and credibility towards the student. Similarly, writing a good conclusion is also critical for a good SOP. A conclusion is the last thing a panel member remembers about the student, therefore it is important to write an impressive conclusion. Students can make use of powerful quotes or lines in their introduction and conclusion to grab the attention of the readers.
  • Not sticking to the word limit: Students fail to understand the importance of word limit and often write too less or exceed the word limit. A word limit tests how well a student can communicate everything in a limited space and several members of the admissions committee acknowledge that word limitations are the first thing they look at. Hence, it is essential for all the students to write their SOP according to the word limit specified by their university or follow the generic word limit of 800-1000 words. It is advisable that students understand the value of space and make a wise choice of words when they write their SOP.
  • Use of informal words or technical words: The words used in the SOP should be simple enough for the members of the admission panel to understand yet it should have a good vocabulary. The students should avoid overuse of technical terms or jargon as the panel members may not have in-depth knowledge in every field. The students should also ensure that they do not use informal words or slang words in their SOP as it is not very professional to do so. Professional language, clear and concise tone, good vocabulary, and suitable grammar are key elements of a well-written SOP.
  • Writing irrelevant information: As already mentioned, adhering to a word limit is very crucial and writing irrelevant information like family details or personal details is not required. Students should understand that every component mentioned in the SOP has its own designated space. Things must be explained in detail, yet in such a way that nothing is overshadowed.
  • Not doing enough research: Students write their SOPs without doing sufficient research about their university, their course, and the country that they are planning to move to. A unresearched SOP is not very impressive. Whereas, conducting adequate university research on the coursework, college faculty, institutional resources, and industry experience you may gain by studying in the country when connected to your aims will highlight your application as more focused.
  • False information: Honesty and sincerity are the defining characteristics of an excellent SOP, and they will always be valued. In certain cases, students tend to be dishonest by writing false information or by exaggerating few things. If caught, the admission committee will find the student at fault and reject or permanently blacklist the application. Hence, students should make sure they are honest and provide information that is fully true along with the proofs that will support the information provided.
  • Not proofreading or not asking for a second opinion: Usually, due to time constraints or lack of proper time management, students submit their SOP without proofreading it. However, proofreading a SOP after completing it will make sure that it is error free and is of a high standard. When done thoroughly, proofreading can bring significant changes in the SOP. Another common mistake made by students is not taking a second opinion. It is always recommended to take an external help, especially from an industry expert whose inputs will bring a significant difference in the statement of purpose.
  • Copying from a well-written SOP: Students tend to pick up few lines or copy most of the parts from SOP samples that are available on the internet. Plagiarism is a major offence at institutions across the world. Copied or highly plagiarized documents may result in immediate rejection, as well as permanent blacklisting of the student’s application. Therefore, it is highly recommended that each and every student writes their own statement of purpose.

All the points discussed above must be taken carefully since they will assist you in making your application exceptional and amazing. We hope this article has helped you create the ideal Statement of Purpose.

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