SOP – Statement of Purpose

SOP is a fashionable thing to ask from candidates seeking higher education for student recruitment officers and is an item to be ticked off in the admissions packet for aspiring candidates. Beyond that one has to think what is the ‘Purpose” in SOP?

Purpose cannot be your desire to acquire such and such degree from such & such university of reputation in such and such country. It can’t be a desire to be part of an alumni club of an elite school? Similarly, the purpose cannot be your desire to get a job in such and such company with such & such title and with such & such salary & perks. The purpose needs not be anything with outward manifestation of accomplishment. In fact it is opposite. The purpose is anything but the outward manifestation of success in any dimension.

Education is a facility for self-discovery and self-satisfaction. It is a process by which one becomes useful to society and oneself. University is a platform that offers that facility. And you are seeking the permission to use the university platform to fulfill your quest for self-discovery, self-satisfaction. That is the real purpose.

Now, how would one contextualize one’s quest for self-discovery and self-satisfaction? You have to talk about (a) Your background and what university has to offer (b) Your current experiences and your current knowledge about yourself and your sense of incompleteness (c) An articulation of an environment that you are seeking. This is a method of forward thinking.

Where is the question of brand, job title, salary, career in all these? Once you freeze these external items of success, then you cannot be honest with you. You will start thinking, in order to get this job with this salary; I have to get admission in such and such university. In order to get admission in such and such university, I have to write SOP in such and such way. This is a method of backward thinking.