The Statement of Purpose (SOP) is a document which allows the applicant to introduce himself/herself to the admissions committee and convince the committee to select him/her without meeting the committee in person. Getting admission into a foreign university for pursuing an LLM degree is a very difficult task and much of it has to do with preparing a very good SOP.
Creating an engaging and well-written SOP is surely a harder task than many would realize. Most law schools do not conduct interviews for Master of Laws (LLM) admissions. In such cases, the Statement of Purpose becomes even more important.
An SOP may be the only opportunity for an applicant to tell the admissions committee about his/her motivation to apply to the LLM program at the law school.
The crucial part is to understand that the applicant should write a statement of purpose which not only compels the admissions committee to review the statement of purpose in its entirety but also stands out amongst thousands of other applications submitted to the law school.
As a result, while drafting an SOP, the applicant must pay attention to ensure that the SOP reflects the following features:
- Show who you are– This is one of the best things that you can do to get into the law program of your choice. Show your personality, your unique skills and the best things about yourself.
- Stay organized– When completing application documents, you should always stay organized. This is especially true when you are working on your statement of purpose. You only have a certain about of words you can write so make sure you stay on topic and make the necessary points.
- Stay specific– Don’t add in a lot of extra details. Only provide things that are relevant to getting you into the program and examples that prove your credentials. Don’t use general words; be more specific when explaining.
- Stay professional– When you are applying for a law program, you need to make sure your statement of purpose is all that it should be. You should show your special qualities while keeping it professional.
- Stay interesting– While you should keep things professional and specific, you should add some interest in there as well. The law field is competitive so adding something of interest, that is true, can help you out a lot.
Stages Involved in Drafting an Exceptional SOP
While it may seem that an applicant can quickly draft a good SOP within a few weeks, that is not the case. An applicant should set aside ample time at least a few months before the application deadline in order to come up with an excellent SOP.
The various stages involved are:
- Make a list of law schools that you want to finalize– One must read the question that the law colleges require them to answer inside the declaration of reason. In stage 1, the applicant must put together a tentative brief list of regulation colleges that they should apply to secure admission.
- Pre-drafting exercise or brainstorming- At this stage, everything which comes to the applicant’s mind and is even remotely connected to the Master of Laws programme at the law school that he/she is applying to should be put down on paper. There should be no filtration of thoughts. One should not care about the stipulated word limit at this stage of the process.
- SOP drafting- Quickly after the brainstorming session, the applicant must revisit his/her writing stage. In the interim period, the student’s mind will automatically start filtering ideas which are relevant to the application for the Master of Laws programme at the law school that they are applying to and should be written in the statement of purpose. Within the intervening time length, the applicant’s thoughts will automatically begin filtering thoughts which can be applicable to the program for the grasp of legal guidelines. The one who applies must check their work multiple times. Throughout the drafting session, the applicant must focus on answering the main question of the SOP. The statement of purpose must answer all the parts of the question. Since there is a specified word limit, all information cannot be included in it. To check the importance of the information that the applicant intends to include in his/her statement of purpose, he/she must relate it back to the question asked and see if it is relevant to the question.
- Edit, review and revise- It is pertinent that the applicant must not limit his/her SOP to a single draft. They must regularly revisit and edit their SOP. There will be several drafts of the statement of purpose before it is ready to be submitted. There is a process of revising, reviewing, and editing between the first draft and the final statement of purpose. It is an integral part of preparing a statement of purpose to make it look professional. Moreover, it is always advisable to have the SOP reviewed by friends or professors who are able to constructively look at it and provide any useful inputs. Also, it is very crucial to ensure that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes in the final draft. Keeping the statement of purpose within the word limit and using standard formatting is also essential. Some law schools specify their formatting guidelines. The student must stick to them. In case, the law school does not specify any rules for formatting, then the applicant must follow the standard format.
The SOP is the most important document that the applicant submits as a part of his admissions application. One cannot afford to do a half-hearted job at writing the statement of purpose. The power of the SOP is such that it can either make or destroy your chances of getting into your desired law school.
An applicant must bear in mind that his SOP should not be a replica of his CV or other academic qualifications. It must precisely and clearly reflect the applicant’s story in such a manner which sets him/her apart from the rest of the applicants.
Also, it is important that the applicant uses active voice in writing the SOP and avoids the use of negative sentences as well. Moreover, the SOP must reflect and give the impression that the applicant has researched the law school. This can be done by including the names of courses that the student would like to study at the law school. The student may also include the names of professors that he intends to learn from at the law school.