Statement of purpose – architecture edition
How do you convey your entire life story, your ambitions, your life plans and your motive to join the college of your dreams in just a few words? What exactly is the selection committee looking for when they read your letter of motivation? How should you make it more creative and interesting so that they are hooked on to every word? Should the letter be a personal account or from a more subjective point of view? How do you make it different from the millions of architects applying to the same university? And most importantly, how do you get selected? Don’t fret, the answers are here! Read the sample statement of purpose – the architect edition, below to clarify some of your doubts.
- THE PERSONAL TOUCH: The first paragraph of your SOP should be about how and why architecture (or your chosen field) appeals to you, what history do you have with it and your deepest appreciation for the work. Let the first paragraph speak of your love for the job, how it drives you and why you want to pursue it.
- WHY YOU: A lot of people feel strongly towards a certain profession. Then why should they chose you? Tell them! Talk about your qualities and how you have been preparing for this all your life. Connect your personal traits and caliber to your field and talk about how you incorporate your talents in your chosen stream.
- HERITAGE: The selection committee wants to know your thoughts on Architecture. Talk about your heritage. About a book you read which influenced you. A movie you saw, a quote which motivates you, a role model in your life, or a famous person you aspire to be like and why. However, do not recite the thoughts expressed by someone else. What is your opinion about the movie/book/place/quote? What effect did it have on you? Why is that important to YOU.
- EXPERIENCE: Just talking in thin air won’t land you anywhere. What progress have you personally made in your stream? Mention your accolades, your qualification, the internships you took, the job experience you gained and how it influenced you. Be specific. What was your role? What part did you play in a certain project? What did you learn from it? How do you aim to use this knowledge/experience?
- WHAT SETS YOU APART: Why do you want to do something, and why should they give you that opportunity? Describe your personal journey, your own accomplishments (apart from the job experience). Highlight the importance of going to a certain place to continue/start your education. You can study anywhere, then why did you chose that place? What did you do to pursue that dream? (Just applying to them isn’t enough)
- UNIVERSITY AND COURSE: All said and done, talk about the college you have chosen. Read and research their course material, what they are offering and why you want to be a part of their class. Put your own spin on the syllabus they offer and talk about why it attracts you. Mention what excites you about studying there and how you think it can add to your personal development and portfolio.
- SHORTCOMINGS: You obviously feel you need to improve, that is why you want to study further/start studying. Talk about what you feel you lack, without being negative and how you think the university will help you overcome your flaws.
- GOALS: What are your future plans? Who do you wish to be and how do you think your chosen university will help you become that person? End your Statement with a positive note and an insight to what you wish to make of your life. Any university wants to select motivated people, who set out to achieve something. Make them feel you are the perfect fit.
- THEME: Adopting a theme for your Statement is a great way to give it structure, make it more engaging and to not run out of words. For example, I have taken the theme of stories and connected Architecture and what I feel towards it through that theme. This highlights both my qualities, designer and writer. You can chose a theme which underlines you as a person.
- LESS OTHERS, MORE YOU: Quoting too many people, talking about too many things which are not related to you, drives away from the basic point – YOU. Every sentence in your statement should be a direct answer to the question, why did you chose us and why should we chose you. Also, putting way too many quotes and references will leave you less scope to talk about what’s important (if theres a word limit)
- WORDS: You might think that using heavy vocabulary and difficult language will make you look smarter. NO. The university has to go through dozens of applications. Making your statement a literature which is incomprehensible is just making their work difficult. Obviously, express yourself, but don’t use impossible words just for the heck of it.
- LENGTH: Keep it short and to the point.
- ORIGINALITY: DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Write your own content. Also following too many templates or textbook versions is going to make your statement very mundane and possibly something the university has already read a million times before.
- CHECK. CHECK. CHECK: Check for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, punctuation errors, word limit, content, plagiarism. Get it proofread if you are still unsure. Silly mistakes is something you can’t afford on such a big platform.
- BE HONEST: Don’t brag about something you have not done and make sure everything you have mentioned can be backed up by sufficient proof.
Jamila is one part artist, two parts foodie, and all parts traveler. She is a patron of good art and design and loves to immerse herself in books and music. Simplicity and minimalism is her motto as an architect. A writing enthusiast, she surrounds herself with all things creative. She actively shuns all “ists” and “isms” and firmly believes in a “no – label” world! She isn’t afraid to take risks, speak her mind, push forward and challenge preconceptions. She is currently pursuing Masters in Architecture at the University of Liechtenstein.