Essays: SOP and others

Essays are a major part of most applications. It is a key source of information for the reviewers to know more about you, your goals and your work.

The approach to attempting your essays is same as what we have discussed. You write your SFD, then review and refine it.

This segment will focus on few common essay questions and guidance on approaching them.

Common essay questions

Your statement of purpose

Your Statement of Purpose a.k.a Personal Statement an essay that seeks to understand your life, the motivations for your chosen career path and your goals. The SOP essay typically is expected to be 500-1000 words long. But some opportunities have also asked you to draft an SOP in 100 words.

What to include in your SOP?

4 main points in your SOP can really tell your story:

1. What are your short and long term goals?

2. How did these goals develop?

3. Have you already begun working towards these goals?

4. How does the opportunity fit in with your goals?

Here’s a detailed document on how you can look to approach your SOP.

What are your goals/passion?

This question is quite straightforward. You are generally expected to write about your goals, interests, how these goals developed and what you have already done towards them.

Why this opportunity?

This question is where you explore why you decided to apply this opportunity and how it fits in with your goals. What do you hope to gain from the opportunity? How do you think that is going to help you advance towards your goals?

How would you use this opportunity to advance towards your goals?

Here, you are required to pick specific aspects about the opportunity and detail out how you’d make the most of these opportunities.

Describe an adversity you have faced and how you overcame it.

This question requires you to think about a ‘relevant’ adversity you faced, share your personal story and also mention how you overcame it. Do note that it is best that it be related to your focus theme and your career in general.

Why should you be selected? OR What makes you an eligible candidate to be selected?

This section is where you talk more about yourself, your accomplishments, how you are a perfect fit for the program. Do not feel that you are boasting here. You are actually required to speak more about your achievements.

How do you plan on utilising the financial aid you receive?

If you would be receiving a financial aid to support your education or a particular project you are working on, use this section to detail out how you would use the money. Do you wish to use the money to buy yourself a laptop? Or go to a conference you’ve long had in mind? Do you want to invest the money in your social cause or startup? Provide a specific response as to how you intend to use the money rather than make generic statements.

Describe an experience where you demonstrated leadership.

In this question, you should get to the specific details of an instance where you demonstrated leadership. Talk in detail about the background behind this scene, how you came into picture and how your action made an impact.