Your Statement of Purpose, as you must already know by now, is a highly personal essay, outlining your goals, dreams, and achievements, and as such, should be unique and one of a kind—just like you. Unfortunately, the Statement of Purpose tends to be one of the documents that daunt MS aspirants—questions of what to write, what not to write, and how to write frequently plague even the best students. This fear leads to students making the mistake of copy-pasting bland, generic SOP templates from the Internet or from their seniors and friends—a mistake that can cost them their MS dreams. Why?
- The Statement of Purpose is your one shot to make a mark for yourself and set yourself apart from your similarly-qualified peers. In copy-pasting templates for your Statement of Purpose, you’re wasting a precious opportunity to showcase your individuality and persuade the admissions committee that you’re a candidate deserving of an offer letter, and
- With the advent of technology, most universities are now equipped with sophisticated plagiarism software that can easily detect any such copy-paste jobs. Not all universities pass every SOP through such extensive screening, of course, but you don’t want to imperil your chances of getting accepted to your dream school, do you?
Using such templates is therefore not only a waste of a golden opportunity but is also often grounds for instant rejection. Universities abroad are on the lookout for high achieving, promising candidates, and a copied Statement of Purpose is hardly an impression you want to make on them. Creativity and passion are keys to a stellar Statement of Purpose, and both are severely compromised when you choose to use a Statement of Purpose template instead.
- Universities receive thousands of applications every single year and are aware of the trends going around in SOP writing—be it the use of a particular quote or anecdote.
- Another way is to compare the writing styles in your Statement of Purpose and in other supporting documents: If your Statement of Purpose is replete with grandiloquent phrases, but your GRE® Verbal score is a modest 150, with a 3 on the AWA section, the inconsistencies will immediately point to the use of a plagiarised Statement of Purpose.
- Most universities often maintain a meticulous database of all the applications they receive over the years. So if, say, while applying to Cornell, you’re tempted to copy the Statement of Purpose of a senior who also made it to Cornell a year or two ago, don’t do it: the chances are that you’ll be caught in no time.
- The use of too many generic statements and not enough specific, personal ones can also betray a copied Statement of Purpose - Sentences like “I’m passionate about Machine Learning and want to conduct research in the area” are fine, but are impersonal enough to be written by just about anyone. Be specific and detailed about your area of interest, your passion, and your goals for the future.
- As discussed before, anti-plagiarism software is used for everything from checking the originality of term papers to admissions essays. So be wary while you’re writing your Statement of Purpose, and if you’re using any quotes or references, be sure to cite them properly in brackets. Using quotes without the double quotation marks implies that the quote is written by you, and can lead to instant dismissal of your application.