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I Don't Have a Memorable Anecdote to Start My Graduate School SOP. What Do I Do?

If you don’t feel like you have a strong anecdote to start off your SOP, it’s okay. Don’t feel like you have to force one.

Because stories are memorable, and because stories help with organization and flow, anecdotes are the most common way to begin a graduate school SOP. However, they are by no means the only way to start.

Past academic and/or professional achievement, passion, and commitment to your field are the best predictors of graduate school success. To successfully complete a graduate-level program, you must be able to handle the academic rigor, and you must be able to push through failure or stagnation. Your ability to commit yourself to your work depends largely on your ability to undertake stressful and demanding situations — which is much easier to do when you are passionate about your program and project(s).

Use your SOP to demonstrate that spending the next 2-6 years on your work excites the hell out of you.

Now, if you don’t have an anecdote showing your passion for your field, it’s okay. Instead you should start with your long-term and short-term goals. This is, in my professional opinion, the best way to demonstrate passion for your field or projects. It shows that your graduate work is crucial for you — an important, self-motivating factor.

Check out this guided brainstorm — I’m sure it will help you hone in on the information you need to write your SOP.

And reach out to us for one-on-one assistance. We will help you write a killer SOP!



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