It is an erroneous assumption that a Statement of Purpose (SOP) plays an insignificant role while applying for a Master’s programme in Data Science. An SOP plays a vital role (it’s actually a deciding factor) when you are applying for an MS programme. To make your application stand out, you have to make sure that you write it keeping in mind all the DOs and DON’Ts.
In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the things that you should consider while writing your SOP for a data science MS program.
The Length Of The SOP
Word count limit of an SOP is something you have to keep in mind. Most of the universities specify the word count and the most standard word count is 500 to 1,000 words. If in case the university you are applying to has not mentioned any word limit regarding the length of the SOP, you can consider keeping the word count to a maximum of 1,000 words or nothing more than the length of two A4 size pages.
Many candidates think that making their SOP look fancy would impress the review committee. It might catch the eye, but it wouldn’t make a positive impact. Reviewing committee is always looking for SOPs that are easy to read and which contain the much-needed information. Therefore, do not invest much of your time by making your SOP fancy; rather, try to make it standard by using a professional and readable font.
Some of the best professional fonts are Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica, Arial etc. and make sure to keep the font size to a maximum of 12 points.
The main purpose of an SOP is to figure out whether the candidate is serious about what s/he wants to pursue. And it’s not just the seriousness, but also how knowledgeable or how honest the candidate is or whether s/he has the genuine reason to join the course at that particular institution. So, you have to very careful about not writing monotonous things.
When you are writing your SOP for your data science MS, state the following points:
- The solid reason why you chose data science
- Why you are choosing that particular institution in that particular region
- Academic performance
- Write about your experience (as a student or as an employee)
- If you are already experienced, what other skills and knowledge you want to gain
- What are your future plans
- How the program would help you achieve your future goals
The First Paragraph And The Conclusion
Just like the first impression, the first paragraph is also important. So, when you are applying for an MS program in data science you have to make sure that the first paragraph is attention catching. Do not forget that the people reviewing your SOP are the ones from the data science department, so they expect something that intrigues them to go and read the entire thing. So, make sure that no matter what way you write, you have to present your passion for data science. Also, do not go on to write a lengthy paragraph with all about the domain.
And in the last paragraph of the SOP, you have to make sure that you are conveying the real message of why you want to pursue this program and how it would help you build your career. Also, make sure that it doesn’t look incomplete.
Do Not Butter-Up The Reader
You might be really good at praising people and getting things done, but in your SOP, the praising game is not going to work. Data science faculties and professors are very well aware of their teaching quality and they are not reading your SOP to know that again. Always remember that the only way to impress the admissions officers is by telling your story through your SOP.
So, do not go on to praise the university or the professors or their education system. Rather, focus on answering the questions that the admissions committee expects a candidate to answer. Be honest and concise.
Even though it is a truth universally acknowledged, there cannot be enough stress on this point — do not copy the SOP from anywhere. The people reviewing your SOP are far smarter and intelligent than you think. When you are applying for a data science MS program, always expect the reviewer to be a really experienced one from the data science department.
Therefore, make sure you do not copy (not even a single bit) from any sample. The more you be yourself the more are the chances that you would go through the application process. It is all about telling your side of the story.
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