“The difficulties and struggles of today are the prices we must pay for the accomplishment and victories of tomorrow.”-William J. H. Boetcker
Photo courtesy -@indykadeer
Statement of Purpose spotlights you from a professional point of view - your career goals and how you are fit for a particular program.
SOP - POINTS TO INCLUDE
Your academic strengths
Preparedness for this program.
This is what is most important it should be all about you, be unique and stand out. Your SOP should help you be remembered as being different from the pile of application on the selection tab
Usually should be 600- 1000 words (Read their requirement)
1. BRAINSTORM THE DETAILS FROM THE PROGRAM/COURSE YOU APPLYING FOR (most details will be in the college's web page)
Faculty - who are they
The interests of faculty
Previous research from this department
The strengths of this programme over another
The strength of the university
How it can help you achieve your goals
Your background work and how you can contribute to the work/research done.
Your specific field of interest and why (eg- KCL, Prosthodontics was known for its research on tooth wear and I was actually fascinated by it!)
Do they have resources especially suited to your research
What you have done in the past?
What is your special skill?
2. OUTLINE - MARRYING UP THE BRAINSTORMING TO YOU
Is just all the important bits from your brainstorming, to be made into a story, with a beginning, middle, end and a conclusion.
So building the story - how you have tried to improve your knowledge and skill in this field - conferences attended / courses attended the previous line of work/internship/observership you have done
Any publications/journal review/presentations done.
Academic achievement in the field
Your preparation for this field of study
If you have low grades or another “hole” in your application, you can address it directly in your statement of purpose. No one wants excuses, but it’s fine to provide some kind of explanation: were you dealing with a family emergency or chronic illness?
Whatever you write, try to frame it in positive terms, to emphasize your ultimate success in the face of setbacks.
A genuine passion for your field and research/professional area of interest.
Why are you planning on devoting your life to this? Remain professional, but communicate your excitement!
Be specific and particular when talking about your passion-" I would like to help patients who suffer from GORD" opposed to "I am passionate about tooth wear".
"Night grinding devices was a life changer for my brother "and I want to help understand how it works than "I want to learn about TMJ problems."
3. FIRST DRAFT
If you don't get a good start don't waste too much time on it.
Just try to articulate the outline well. But be careful not to sound difficult to read or comprehend. Use simple words effectively.
Don't be tempted to start with things like “I love dentistry or ever since I was a child I knew I wanted to be a dentist"
You definitely don’t want to bore anyone reading your essay, if you do that you have lost the plot.
4. GET FEEDBACK
Never post your SOP online, as you may need to use it again for later and you don't want people copying from it.
Try and show it to someone in the field if you can - make an appointment with old staff or nearby dental school staff and take some feedback on how you can improve it
Also, show close friends and family who may be able to remind you some bits you have missed out to mention.
Take advice on the clarity and organization of your ideas. They can help you figure out if you’ve framed your examples correctly
If you get similar feedback from more than one person you need to edit that.
5. EDIT AGAIN
Make final correct on the content
Make sure points are well-organized, concise, and impactful
Read the instructions for the requirement again for the SOP.
Answer the prompt and all the questions in it, it’s best to answer most if you can
Adhere to the length requirements - either a word limit or a page limit
Include any information the program requires you to put on each page of your essay—this will be your full name.
6. GET THE BRASSO OUT - polish and shine!
Get your writing style polished up
Make sure your language is lively, concise, and effective.
Use active voice instead of passive voice
Avoid informal language, contractions, and slang.
Try to replace cliche phrases like “wake-up call,” “better late than never"
Don’t start with a quote, borrowing the insights of others can make you seem intellectually lazy.
7. GET FEEDBACK AGAIN
Try to get other people not seen before also see it
Get feedback on the flow of the materials, writing style, grammatical errors
8. THE FINAL TWEAK
Make all suggestions you think were valuable. Just because someone suggested it is not the truth, you make a call and trust your instinct.
Check again for errors in spellings, typo, word count, grammar, punctuation
SOP is also showing off your writing skills, as most programmes you will need to do a thesis write up, presentations, essays and this should be your canvas.
so take your time to craft a compelling (and technically correct!) statement.
Some website I came across that help with SOP - I am not sure about any of them / cost, but in case you are struggling you could try them. But I suggest you do this yourself, as eventually, it will shine through.