The Purpose of a Personal Statement also known as Statement of Purpose (SOP) is your introduction to the interview panel or selection committee. There are various kinds of personal statement letter but the purpose of the document is always to introduce you to the panel. This document plays a very important part in your application and in fact, it can be called “the heart” of your application submission.
Generally, when applying for a scholarship, degree course, job or for a project; the crucial elements in the application form for the selection committee would be the applicant’s academic scores, recommendation letters, and statement of purpose (SOP). However, all else being the same between applicants, the personal statement would in all probability be the make-or-break factor in an applicant being awarded the scholarship/degree. This is essentially why an applicant should ensure that he/she drafts a well-written, carefully organized, letter that shows a statement that would help him/her stand out from among the other applicants. Preparation and planning are the key factors in creating an exceptional letter.
Personal Statement importance for application or interview
- The personal statement is a vital component of an application to a degree course/scholarship.
- It could make or break an applicant’s chances of being awarded a scholarship or a seat at an educational institution.
- The main purpose of the personal statement is to grab the attention of the selection committee, help them understand the applicant, and convince them of the applicant’s suitability for the scholarship/degree seat.
- The personal statement primarily acts as a letter of introduction by the candidate to the selection committee.
- It offers the applicant an opportunity to showcase his/her aspirations, experiences, and academic qualifications to the selection committee.
- It is also a demonstration of the applicant’s communication skills.
- It determines whether a candidate will be invited to an interview, which is the next step after application for many scholarships.
Personal Statement Components
The Personal Statement or the (Statement of Purpose SOP) actually demonstrates the MAP your personality to judges. This MAP stands for Motivation, Aspiration, and Perspiration that must clearly be written in your personal statement.
Following 9 key points will help you to write a well structured personal statement for your next application. These 9 key points will tell you what to include and what to avoid in your statement of purpose.
- An applicant should research and read about the course that he/she has applied for before drafting the personal statement.
- The applicant should identify components of the course that he/she finds the most appealing or interesting and include those in the letter that highlights his statement.
- The applicant should use the letter to describe himself/herself personally to the selection committee.
- The personal statement should be an indicator of the applicant’s priorities and goals in life and should explain his/her motivation and reasons for pursuing a particular study course.
- Wherever possible the applicant should show how the academic course being applied for is linked to his/her life goals in the personal statement.
- The personal statement should be personal, not academic and read like an interesting story if possible.
- The personal statement should not be confined to academics alone but should include any skills/expertise that the applicant has that is relevant to the course of study.
- The personal statement should also recount any hurdles that the applicant had to face and how he/she overcame them. It could be used by an applicant to disclose or explain any previous slip-ups academically or otherwise to the selection committee.
- Applicants should remember that if they are invited for an interview for the course/scholarship, the interview questions could be based upon what they have included in their personal statements. Hence they should refrain from including incorrect/false information in it.