Sample Statement of Purpose (SOP) for USA
The application process for admission into an American university generally involves a Statement of Purpose (SOP) unless otherwise mentioned by a university. It is usually a 1000-1200 words essay that is submitted in addition to the other documents. An SOP is a chance to tell your story – what makes you special? It also helps the university to understand where you come from and whether you will be able to adjust in their dynamic and most importantly, diverse, environment. Academic credentials aside, an SOP enables you to explain in detail your experiences – academic, professional and personal - and how they have shaped the person that you are today. It is not a repetition of your resume, but in a way, an extension of it.
What is that one thing that all American universities are looking for in their students, you ask? The US universities are known for accepting applicants who have had a substantial level of participation in extracurricular activities and community service. Universities in the US take their sports seriously. It has been said that a Stanford student has won a medal at every Olympics since 1908 while Caltech’s football team has been undefeated since 1993. So, if the university that you are aiming for has a team of the sport that you play, it could be your chance to earn some brownie points.
If you want to secure a place in an American university, make sure you spend your time doing meaningful community service. We could not stress this point enough. Universities in the US value community work and a student who involves himself in the same stands a good chance at securing an admission. Universities are looking for students who have had an overall development and not just in the classroom. Social service and community work play an important role in a student’s development and the US universities are sure to evaluate your application on the basis of it.
You might be interested in:
- Common Mistakes to Avoid in SOP
- How to write a winning SOP
- Sample SOPs for all UG, MS, MBA, and PhD Courses
It has also been observed that admissions committees are usually moved by stories of hardships. We have all heard of Harvard accepting students who have faced exceptional hardships and succeeded despite opposing circumstances. Now, that does not mean that an aspirant must make up one of these for the sake of securing admission. It is rarely successful. However, if you do have an inspiring story, feel free to share. It is important to keep in mind to highlight the features of your application that make you distinctive. If it makes you stand out, it deserves a chance in your SOP.
Lastly, when stating your reasons for choosing a particular university, keep in mind that you do not talk about the university’s ranking or how America is the land of dreams and opportunities. The US universities want to know reasons specific to their school that make it the perfect fit for you. Go to the university’s website and pick out all the reasons that make you want to be a part of it. You could name a few Professors whose works inspire you; or the fact that it has an extensive library; or a few clubs that you would love to join once admitted. The key is to not be generic and talk about America. Talk about the university and the key features that you find exciting.
UG aspirants, keep in mind that you highlight your overall personality and not only your academics. It is especially true for UG candidates that US universities are looking for students who have had active participation outside the classroom in addition to their academics. The ability to balance a stellar academic record along with extracurricular activities and community service could secure your admission into the university of your dreams. You may refer to the writing style of a UG SOP, here.
MS/PhD aspirants, write in detail about your stellar academics and the research work that you have conducted in the past. That is the most important part of your SOP. If you come armed with work experience, talk about what you learned there along with the challenges that you faced and how you overcame them. Highlighting the details of your past work will enable the university to know that you would be capable of handling their rigorous Master’s curriculum. Click here to see how to go about a PhD SOP.
MBA aspirants, the operative word in your SOP is leadership. Highlight all those aspects of your past experiences – whether during college or professional life – where you showed leadership qualities. MBA colleges are looking for candidates who have leadership qualities, motivation, team skills, diversity in experiences, and career progression, among others. Ensure that everything that you talk about in your SOP hits the abovementioned points and you are sure to win. Learn about MBA SOP writing, here.
Check out the Sample SOP for USA University here:
The successive missions of ISRO and the Mars-Rover mission by NASA inspired me to gain profound knowledge in the field, intended to find solutions to real-life problems. In this era of innovation, being a contributor to the field of Aerospace with the desire to forge ahead in this field has motivated me to pursue graduate studies. The wide scope for research in Propulsion Systems is promising, and I aim at contributing to an evolutionary phase in propulsion.
During my Bachelor’s program, I found XXX and XXX to be the most interesting subjects. However, the important subjects that made me understand Mechanical and played a vital role in strengthening my decision of pursuing higher education in Aerospace were XXX, XXX, and XXX. These subjects are core areas of the field and also form a base structure for Aerospace. I also referred to online courses from XXX which made me understand these subjects in details.
*Insert further academic information especially related to project work*
After the completion of my under-graduation, I always wanted to seek a job to gain industrial experience. My good grades and communication skills earned me a college placement at a multinational company, XXX, among XXX students. I was selected in the XXX department with the main responsibilities of XXX and XXX of products.
After reviewing innovative projects like reusable space plane by ISRO, Mars rover mission by NASA, and reusable orbital rockets by SpaceX, all these developed a keen interest in me to contribute to the field of Aerospace. This made me realize that I needed deeper insights and research experience in Aerospace to have a successful career in the research field. With this ultimate goal in mind, I have decided to pursue a Master’s degree.
In the near future, I see myself working in the XXX department of a reputed organization namely XXX where I would get the opportunity to solve major challenges of the industry. My long-term goal is to research on XXX in order to work on XXX.
I intend to pursue an M.S. degree in XXX at The University of XXX - USA, with an emphasis on XXX. The esteemed faculty, excellent research facilities and the structure of the graduate program at the University make it a great place for graduate studies. I am interested in the courses and research of Professor XXX and Professor XXX. It would be a great experience to learn topics such as XXX from him. Professor XXX has done pioneering work in XXX. His insights on XXX would be extremely valuable. I would love to explore XXX during my studies.
Having decided that I will engage in the pursuit of a career in XXX, I fully understand the kind of dedication, perseverance and resolve that a graduate program calls for. I believe that I have the ability and motivation to successfully pursue graduate studies while contributing to the research at The University of XXX, USA, and sincerely hope to gain admission into the university.
Check out the Samples SOPs for more countries: