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U.S. college/university Application Essays/SOPs: Tips and Tricks

Did you know, the Application Essay/SOP is an integral part of an application both at the Undergraduate and Graduate levels? Yes, it is an important factor that will make you stand-out among piles of applications by showcasing your uniqueness as an applicant and projecting your best qualities beyond the quantitative aspects of your application. Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate the process of writing the best college-ready application Essay/SOP!

Think of these 5 Questions to answer: • Who are you? What is your background? • What do you want to pursue? • What factors contributed to your interest in the field of study? • Why do you want to pursue the program at that particular university? • How do you plan to use the degree to achieve your future goals

General Dos and Don’ts • The Essay/SOP is your voice to convey something more about you than what is on the application form • Keep it simple and use short sentences • Use written and not spoken English terminology • Draw relevance from experience to the program and degree of pursuit • Do not use shortened phrases • Expand and abbreviate in parentheses • Engage the reader from the start; creative titles may be helpful • Do not use this space to elaborate on the resume • Try to derive learning points and outcomes from your own experience rather than quoting famous personalities • You are the subject of the statement. Hence you could avoid excessive usage of the words ‘Í’, ‘me’ and ‘my’ • Explain any problems or inconsistencies in your records or scores such as a bad semester • Explain any special conditions that are not revealed elsewhere in the application such as a large (35 hour a week) workload outside of school • Write about what matters to you, not what matters to them. • Write from the heart and don’t read it too often.

Stylistics • Presentation and visual aesthetics as important as the content • Maintain 1-inch margins throughout • Do not justify the text • Use serif fonts for all professional documents, e.g. Times New Roman, Cambria • Default font size is 12 (exception could be Cambria = 11) • Keep your lines Single-spaced or 1.5; do not double-space • Mention your name in the footer (unless specified otherwise) • Paginate the document • A one-page document is encouraged

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