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How to write a good Statement of Purpose(SOP)
The Statement of Purpose (SOP) is an essay that contains solid information in support of your candidacy. At the same time there are many opportunities to make this essay significantly more convincing..However, there are things to bring in mind.Below I will discuss the most common errors of a SOP and will provide a structure on how to write an effective one.
The first and most obvious weakness of the SOP essay is its extraordinary length. PhD essays rarely exceed 1000 words. Quite often they are limited to as few as 600 words by some institutions. Longer does not mean better. It usually just means longer.
Second, the primary reason that generally this essay is so long is that it includes lengthy descriptions, statements, and assertions which should not appear in an essay of this type at all. Other information which is appropriate could be rephrased in a more concise manner.
Third, the essay’s organization should not seem rather haphazard. Sometimes there is no sense of logical flow or causality in the essay. For that reason it seems to be quite repetitive in places. The sentence structures and grammar are also very complex and confusing in many places. Try to to make sure the sentences are grammatically correct,improve them and even making extensive rewrites if necessary.
While there is no prescribed formula for a PhD essay, they do tend to follow a general pattern and include certain types of information regardless of the subject area or school. In short, a PhD essay should generally answer certain basic questions:
What do you want to do?
The simple answer is that you want to earn a PhD in economics from XYZ University. This could be just one sentence, of course, or you could combine it with some of your qualifications or with some of your research interests. In any case, simple as this may seem, it is critical to be clear on the purpose of the essay and why you are writing it. The essay is a self-contained document. It should be possible for anyone to pick it up and know what it is all about without reference to other information.
What are your research interests?
This description should be concise and allow room for changing your mind a bit in the future. It is sometimes effective to write this in terms of “questions.” That is: “I would like to explore questions such as whether the egg came before the chicken and whether the sky is really blue.” In any event, the reader should come away with a clear idea of what you want to explore.
Why are you qualified and why should they take you seriously?
Here you can indicate past research activities and other relevant qualifications.
Why XYZ University?
In describing why you want to study at XYZ University it is best to focus on specific reasons relevant to your area of interest. Grandiose statements of praise are not appropriate. They already know they are wonderful. You don’t need to tell them.
What are your longer term plans?
This should be brief and reasonably specific. Avoid generalizations and clichés about expanding horizons and the like.
Finally, this essay obviously requires a lot of additional work, even to get it to the point where it can be edited successfully. On the other hand, by following the outline and guidelines I have provided you should be able to create a powerful and convincing essay in a very brief period of time. Most of the substantive information you probably wrote it and it is there. It just needs to be placed into a more logical sequence. The irrelevant and redundant information must be cut. It would also help to add a few words to explain how you came to be interested in your field, but keep it very brief and meaningful. Vague platitudes about the wonderful and exciting world of economics are not useful. Use concrete examples and facts. Remember: it is always better to show through example than to tell by making assertions. Telling the reader you are a hard worker is unconvincing. Showing the reader all the work you have done is convincing. The former is a meaningless assertion. The latter is a substantive recitation of facts.