How to write the perfect SOP?

How to write the perfect SOP?

Your Statement of Purpose tells the board a lot about the person you are. It is probably the most challenging and difficult piece of document you would put in with your application. It needs to tell about you, about what you bring with you and how you would be an asset to the organization, all in that one essay. This doesn’t mean you would start writing about yourself and your family and upbringing and etc. It simply means that whatever you write, should give the reader an insight to your brain and your heart.

Picture a scenario. You’re in a room with over half a grand applications to review. Sounds fun? No. Imagine this being the life of 5-6 members on the review board. They have a very boring job. And nobody would willingly waste time at a boring job. They would read the introductory paragraph of your essay, and then decide whether you are worth their time. So first and foremost, you need to make a grand entry!

Be a hero. Make a memorable entry. So that when they sit reviewing the applications, they remember you for your introductory paragraph itself. They would read the whole document and then decide, rather than casting you off without a second thought. Make your introduction personal. Involve a small incidence that made you pick the program. Write about your inspiration, your dream and why you are the best choice for the program.

For example: Consider three SOPs for the same program with the following three introductory paragraphs.

  1. I wish to apply for xyz program at your prestigious abc university because I have always dreamt of becoming a pqr and it is at your university that I believe I can achieve my best potential and enhance my skills to great extents.
  2. Ever since I was a small girl I remember my mother telling me about her time at abc and I have always wanted to be a part of your institution to be able to become even a fraction of the woman my mom is.
  3. On my way to school I used to see a very intriguing man at the ___. I asked my father once who he was. He told me he’s a pqr and explained to me what that is. That was the day, I knew my calling.

SOP-A butters the university up with words like prestigious and you can help me enhance my skills.

SOP-B very nicely lets the university know that she is a legacy.

SOP-C puts in the very reason behind her choosing the course, and not the university.

All three are well written. But when it comes to selection, the review board would cast aside A. They would probably take B as a woman who is using her mom’s reference, yet would probably read what she has to say. But they would definitely remember C as the candidate with a strong childhood dream to be a pqr. If they select one out of these three, one would definitely put their money on C.

Keep your introductory paragraph interactive enough for the reader to be intrigued to read ahead. They are people with a lot of applications to process and they are not interested in stereotype-straight-out-of-the-book applications. It needs to be introspective, innovative and make a person want to read more.

Remember. Your introductory paragraph is not your SOP. The entire essay is. Being good at the introduction doesn’t guarantee your admission. The rest of the essay needs to be equally exceptionally good. Your introductory paragraph just makes the review board read the rest of your essay. For you to be selected, you need to make sure they are as impressed with the rest of the paragraph. Your statement of purpose should be:

  1. Innovative, Introspective, Intriguing. Mark the 3 Is in your essay and rest assured you will be selected.
  2. Don’t beat around the bush. They all know you are trying to get an admission. Tell them why you.
  3. They are getting utterly bored in that room. If you can bring even a brink of a smile to their day, you know they’ll save you a seat. Tell stories about yourself, but don’t forget your word space. Keep it brief and sharp and specific, yet interesting and fun.
  4. All about you. Present yourself on a platter. Show them that you are intelligent, immensely interested in the program, prepared to take on challenges in life, are a friendly and easy to be with person, build a healthy relationship with your peers and professors. Put all that in words. But don’t try to make it look like a circus of stories. They want to know you, but in a well presented manner. Not with a paper full of anecdotes. Don’t be that slick guy next door who won’t stop bragging.
  5. Self-explanatory. Nobody should need to question your grades or performance or any other issue that can reach you as you’ve explained it all in your SOP. Reasons for poor performance, explanation for any and all issues related to your application should all be in the SOP. This will present you as a person who realizes their mistake and works hard to overcome it.
  6. By the rules. Always remember to color inside the lines. Do whatever you want, but follow all rules they give. You can take small risks here and there but the final Statement should be by the rules and yet different enough to stand out in the room of applications.
  7. Read, proofread and proofread again by you and at least 3 more people. If even one of them gets bored before the end, change it. You need to make sure that your SOP is completely read for you to have a fair chance.

Your SOP is a great deal in your application packet. It needs to be perfect. We at Shiksha Overseas, make sure of that. We help you write the perfect SOP. We make sure your SOP is the perfect blend of your best achievements and highest aspirations. We make sure that you get a fair chance with your SOP. After all, we provide you with a Roadmap to Success.


10 Things to know before you land on the UK soil

10 Things to know before you land on the UK soil

Being an international student brings a whirlpool of emotions that include nervousness, anticipation, excitement, bewilderment, enthusiasm, exuberant, determined, combative, frantic and what not. Its a brave thing you are doing, and it will scare you and make you happy at the same time. So, while you sit trying to make that checklist, we would like to make a small contribution. Following are 10 things every international student should know before going to UK.

  1. Visas and Paperwork: Make sure you have the complete paperwork and the correct visas. It is not hard to get, and we at Shiksha Overseas help you through the process, but in any case, make sure you have it all at the ready.
  2. Part time jobs to work with study: If you wish to get those extra bucks to cater to your daily expenses providing that small bit of financial aid, need not worry. UK is very flexible with international employment. There are flexible jobs with timings to fit in your routine beside your studying and academic routine. They pay on hourly basis and generally it is good enough to cater your needs. Jobs like waiting tables, job at a supermarket, bar work or even promotional work pay good and are easy to adjust in your schedule.
  3. Student Bank Accounts:In UK, it is advisable for all students to have a student bank account. With decent sized no interest overdrafts of up to £2000, these accounts also often include gadgets and offers like railcards to get you to choose that specific bank. However UK banks are quite strict about new accounts as there is credit attached and they require a thorough inspection of your documents. You will need an identification (passport should do the trick), proof of address (you will need both, address proof of home as well as from UK), proof of income (worry not, with a credit check and an interview, they just want to make sure that you can maintain your account) and the confirmation letter from the university you will be studying at.
  4. University Bursaries: Many universities offer bursaries to international students which cover part of your expenses in UK. There are also external charities that do so. There is different criteria for different universities but the main few are academic brilliance, developing international relations and encouraging student population diversity in the university. It is advised to everyone to look into the bursary schemes and terms of the university they wish to apply to.
  5. Storage of luggage during semester breaks: Starting from the day you leave India, you will have to think about shipping all your goods to UK and storage facilities for when you travel back definitely. Your accommodation might not provide you storage facility between semesters. However, there are two options for this situation. Firstly, there are good storage unit suppliers who will guarantee the safety of your belongings until your return. This is the primary, cheap and most efficient thing to chose. Secondly, you could also try to sort out your accommodation for the next semester and store your stuff there, but this will likely be more expensive.
  6. Travel in UK: There are many options to make your travel cheap and convenient in UK. Firstly, for all local travels, make sure you have a student bus pass or you could consider cycling. Stagecoach is a bus company in UK that offers a bus pass UniRider which makes your travel very cheap and efficient within the city. In London, you could look at the tube for the fastest transport. Also, prefer getting an Oyster card in London. For within the country travel, you should get a young person’s railcard which entitles you to 1/3rd discount on all travels. Also, booking your tickets in advance can get you discounts as much as 80%. The cheapest train fares are available at First Transpennine Express. You could also opt for bus travel for inter city. It is a cheaper replacement for trains but much more time taking. Megabus (cheapest) and National Express (largest coach network) are the best picks. For traveling back home, you could compare flights at Opodo and choose the cheapest and most convenient flights for your travel. Also, you could avail exclusive travel discounts for students at speacialist student suppliers like StudentUniverse.
  7. Accommodation: This is where you will be spending a lot of your time and it is important you choose the right option. You could either live on-campus in university accommodation or off-campus local properties that are available for student letting listed in agents directory by landlords. However, it is suggested that students choose on campus accommodation for first year as it is more convenient as it will help you in all possible ways to settle in a new country and also is a great place to make friends; and then you go for alternative accommodations with the friends they make at the university. When looking at university accommodations, make sure you choose the right one. The cheapest halls might not be the best ones. Also, there are international student special halls with more experienced staff that help you adjust better by catering to all your needs.
  8. International Calls: UK operates on the GSM band which is what most service providers in India use. Thus, you could carry your phone and the same could be used. All you will need is a new sim card. PAYG (Pay as you go) is a good way to top your phone when your credit runs out as it helps you keep an eye on your expenses. For international calls, there are many service providers that have very low costs for international calls. RebTel (with cost as low as just 1p per minute), Lebara and Lycamobile are a few suck providers. Also, you always have the option to skype.
  9. Food: There are plenty options for vegetarians, non-vegetarians and even vegans. Being an island surrounded by sea, it is a great place for all sea food lovers. It is also loaded with meat. For vegetarians, all sorts of vegetables, breads, fruits, beans, rice, etc are easily available at the supermarkets. Also, a lot of synthetic meat brands are available. The local supermarkets and newsagents have great deals and discounts on all food items including vegetable and dairy products. If you hit the supermarket in the evening at the time it is about to close, you might get great discounts on the perishable items. There are also sandwich shops available at every nook and cranny. Kebab shops are open during late hours if you ever end up working/studying late and feel hungry in the middle of the night.
  10. Pack for the weather: Before you leave India, make sure you have packed right. The weather in UK is mostly wet and cold. Pack a lot of warm clothes and waterproof outfits as you will need them. The summers are not so hot either. Specially for a student from India, the summers will be pretty pleasant and the winters might feel freezing. Since your student budget won’t allow you the luxury of a heater, you will require the warm wardrobe.

With this, we hope your stay in UK is eventful and memorable. Prepare well, plan awesome and enjoy every last bit. And while you make the preparations to be there, we map out for you a easy road to get there. By taking care of all the formalities of studying abroad, we allow you to cherish the moments of anticipation and excitement. We at Shiksha Overseas provide you with the Roadmap to Success.

Why Study Abroad?

Why Study Abroad?

We all face this question when thinking if an overseas education would help us better than one in India. It is a tough decision. Leaving your country, leaving your families, leaving your roots behind to build a career outside. Of course there are two sides to every coin. Studying abroad has its pros and cons too. Let’s take USA for example. On one hand you get to live and study in the greatest country with the best options for higher education. But, at the same time, it burns a hole in your pocket! Just when you think you have found your calling, you are surrounded by a million questions. A choice. A dilemma engulfs you. We give you the pros and cons of education outside, and solutions to them too. Weigh your factors, decide what you wish to do and maybe Shiksha Overseas can help pave your way.

Pros to studying overseas:

1. First and foremost, the education system. There is no doubt that the education quality at US or UK or Germany is far better than an Indian degree in many ways. They provide you the right exposure, a global platform, a chance to select from a wide range of courses and streams and the best faculty to guide and train you that won’t be available in India .

2. You witness a new culture. Studying abroad allows you to experience the world of the ‘foreigners’. How they live, work, celebrate, party, and everything. You get to spend quality time in a whole new place learning their culture.

3. You get to travel! We only have so many trips round the sun. If you choose a program in India, be assured you won’t find the time during the program to travel unless you take a few leaves and plan a trip or jump into an exchange program or unless your college offers you a trip. Either way, you would have a lot less time as compared to choosing an overseas education program. Then you have ample time to explore the entire country! And you would have gained more knowledge and experience and lived more life in those years of education than you every would in a few trips abroad.

4. Two words. Global Network. Just think about it. Wherever you go, you will meet hundreds of people. People from that country, people from around the world. It is a huge opportunity to make friends and have an international network for future. And being Indians, we know very well what a well accomplished network of people can help you with.

5. You get to learn a new language. If you study in destinations like Germany, China, or France, you will have the opportunity to learn their native language. Even in countries like US or UK, you might make friends from different parts of the world and you can always indulge in exchanging each others skills which includes teaching the other your language and learning theirs. In the world of globalization, we can definitely benefit from knowing a different language.

6. You get to live a different life. Their routine isn’t like the one we live. If you read our post Life in US , you will see how different a lifestyle abroad can be. It is definitely a cherished break from the routine we follow.

7. Jobs after graduating: Once you graduate, you can always come home for a job. But the much taken option is working in your host country. A job in their country will help you pay back that education loan much easily than a job in India would. And with the current status of the rupee, earning in foreign currency will also be a big gain for your family back home. The money you send back will be of much greater value here.

Although there are a lot more pros to living and studying outside, but having listed the major few, let’s begin with the few cons that there are.

1. Cost of education is higher abroad as compared to India.
Solution: You could apply for scholarships. Though those are hard to come by, with proper guidance, you could raise your chances of attaining one. Also, there’s always education loans. Shiksha Overseas helps you find the best loan options with Credila.

2. Cost of living is higher abroad than back home. Of course when you start a job, it gets even, but till the time you are studying, you have to deal with a lot of financial problems.
Solution: You could always do a part time job along with your education. Also, your education loan will help cover your basic stay expenses.

3. Clearing examinations like GMAT or GRE and TOEFL or IELTS are a must even for non-English speaking countries. Solution: You could hire professionals for the proper coaching and easily succeed in clearing them with the required score. Shiksha Overseas provides you training for TOEFL and IELTS.

Keeping this in mind, you have a decision to make. Study in India or studying abroad? And if you do chose to study abroad, you should know us. And we at Shiksha Overseas would love to know you, and guide you throuh the hectic procedure of applying for education abroad. That is what we are here for, and that is what we do. We provide you with the Roadmap to Success.

The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost

This is for all who love to travel ! Go ahead. Explore the world. The world has a lot to offer to those who are willing to grasp it. We at Shiksha Overseas are here to give you the opportunity to travel and learn; to live a life that is new to your soul; to study at a place that opens the doors leading to success for you. Take the road less traveled by because oh! It makes all the difference. And we are here to guide you to it. We provide you with the Roadmap to Success.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost