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The ultimate guide on writing a powerful SOP for Masters in Germany

Step-by-step guide to craft a standout Statement of Purpose for MS applications.

January 4, 2024

The "Statement of Purpose" or "Letter of Motivation" is one of the most crucial parts of your Masters / Bachelors / PhD applications. This is where the university selectors really understand what's your story, which can be deciding factor in whether or not you receive an admit.

Steps to create an SOP

  1. Check the university requirements - Programs often set a limit like 500 words or one page. Some universities ask you to address specific questions in the essay.
  2. List the points you want to cover in the SOP (template below).
  3. Create a draft SOP (use an AI SOP writer like GradGPT).
  4. Incorporate answers from step 2 into the draft SOP.
  5. Last step: fix grammar, improve readability (we recommend the Hemingway app) and check if all requirements from the university from step 1 are being met.

It's a good idea to get the SOP reviewed by some professors and friends. They can provide a different perspective.

What to write in a Statement of Purpose?

Your SOP should address these 5 questions:

  • Which program do you want to apply to?
  • What is your career goal?
  • What work have you done previously towards your career goal?
  • How will the program help you in achieving your career goals?
  • Why are you interested in this particular university and program?

The artwork is in building a powerful story with these 5 questions. University selectors have to read 100s of essays and do not spend more than 3-5 minutes per SOP. A short, strong narrative with these 5 points will make your profile stand out. Here's an example:

  • Which program do you want to apply to?
    MS in Computer Vision at TU Munich.
  • What is your career goal?
    Building low cost diagnosis systems for affordable healthcare.
    Add details on the goal, for eg.
    Lack of trained doctors and health insurance puts rural population at risk, given their reliance on human capital and minimal social support from the government. Today this problem affects X% of the population in the world. I want to develop solutions for this problem.
    Also mention why are you interested in this problem, for eg:
    I volunteered at Nirmaan NGO in my university. We distributed COVID test kits and first aid plans in villages near the university and the result was 60% lower fatality rate compared to other villages in the state. The villagers were able to consult with doctors on WhatsApp and follow the protection plans effectively. The major problem in their healthcare was misdiagnosis from street hawkers selling quick fixes. Access to quality information via digital solutions proved very effective in multiple such campaigns at Nirmaan.
  • What work have you done previously towards your career goal?
    Did a project on Diabetic Retinopathy detection with Prof Nirmala Ram. Got top 25 position in Kaggle and a publication in ABC conference.
  • How will the program help you in achieving your career goals?
    I want to research methods of accurate, low cost image processing for this purpose. The MS in Computer Vision has courses on image processing, scalable computing and machine learning which will help me learn state-of-the-art methods for training models for this application.
  • Why are you interested in this particular university and program?
    The Vision labs at TU Munich have projects on brain tumor screening, breast cancer detection and more in collaboration with Isar Klinikum. These align with my area of interest, and would be a great place for me to continue research. I'm also interest in working with Prof. Jana Müller whose work on MRI segmentation is fascinating and of great value in developing automated diagnosis systems.

Tips on writing a great SOP

Here's what reviewers from Graduate Admission Committees have to say:

  • Be direct - "I spend not more than 3 minutes on an essay. If your statement doesn't come to the point, your profile is like a general application with no special reason for why they should be selected for the program".
  • Show evidence - "Your past actions (projects/internships) etc. prove that you really mean what you're saying. Highlight it in your essay".
  • Tell us why you fit - "We like students who will add value to the cohort with their unique interests and experiences. What do you bring to the table, and also, what value does the program bring to you?".
  • Make it easy to read - simple language, short paragraphs and a clear story line make your essay memorable from all other applicants.

We can't end this blog without a special segment on:

Mistakes to avoid while writing an SOP

These are blunders which cost students their applications. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid in your letter of motivation:

  • Negativity 😞 - the 3 minute read of your essay should evoke a positive feeling. Don't spend time on weaknesses (like low GPA), instead focus on your strengths.
  • Flattery 🚩 - False words of praise stink to high heaven. Don't waste words explaining what makes the university and professors great, they know that already. The SOP is to know about you.
  • Weak introduction and conclusion - Make the first and last impressions count.
  • Irrelevant information 📢  - Only keep anecdotes that support your story. Your resume contains the list of everything you've done, there is no need to repeat it in the SOP.

Start writing your SOP early on, it takes time.

Useful Links

⚡️Try out the AI profile evaluator, LOR and SOP Writer powered by ChatGPT!

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