PERSONAL STATEMENT VS STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
To prove worthy of the desired program you wish to attend in the coveted college of your dreams and sound unique and exclusive at the same time is a daunting task. While SOP may fulfill the former requirement, personal statement creates the stage for the latter. Not every college will ask you to furnish both SOP and personal statement and in case they ask you to, please do not confuse one with the other and land up writing a confusing document that diminishes your chances of approval by the admission committee. Personal statement and statement of purpose may sound like the same, but there a few underlying differences involved.
Let’s look at the fundamental difference between the two:
1. Flexibility: Personal statement gives you ample scope to showcase your personal attributes as it gives you enough room to express yourself. It’s an opportunity to depict who you are and what you aspire to be and how this program will facilitate in you becoming that. SOP on the other hand is a perfect platform to talk about your short and long term goal, career aspirations, accolades, GPA, academic and professional achievements and then align all these to the program you intend to attend. The flexibility factor is more in writing personal statement as SOP needs to be customized and aligned according to the course applied for. After you have expressed your ardent desire for the applied discipline, you must demonstrate your preparedness for the same. While SOP will capture this aspect by your professional, academic and extracurricular milestones, your Personal Statements will make you look like the perfect fit for the program by highlighting your unique and exceptional qualities that set you apart from the other applicants.
2. Focus: SOP is more career-centric and requires you to substantiate your statement with valid reasons for applying for a particular programme. To begin with you might want to classify your skill sets, work experience and academic achievement and make a blueprint. Once a rough draft is made, you can think of an attention-grabbing story-line you would want to put facts together in a way that sounds logical, interesting and aligns with the goal of this program. Preparing personal statement will also require you to weave an interesting story by coherently putting facts together that talks more about your glowing personality traits and acuteness that makes you stand out as an individual.
3. Length: Personal statements are generally brief ranging from 250 to 300 words and are generally an add-on essay to the SOP. SOP on the other hand may or may not have word limit and is generally a lengthy document.
4. SOP and personal statement complement each other: The admission committee does not have a chance to look at you and interact with you personally. It is therefore your personal and SOPS that aid in presenting your comprehensive picture before the admission committee. While your personal statement aims to cover diverse aspects of your persona, interests, flairs, and values, statement of purpose targets to highlight your academic and professional achievements, accentuate your interests and demonstrate your capabilities that qualify you to be part of this graduate program.
SOP and Personal Statement put together can help you in forming that lasting impression before the panel that gives you a license for sculpting a beautiful tomorrow.