UG Students at US and Canada Talk About Writing SOP and LORfor University Admissions
Q. Who should a student ask for a letter of recommendation?
Iqra Khan: A letter of recommendation provides the admission officer with a comprehensive idea of the candidate. This document helps them form a favourable picture of yours based on your skills, experiences, knowledge and achievements. Most of the students have a misconception that the designation of the recommender adds value to your case. In reality, the letter of recommendation holds significance only if it is written by someone who knows you well and has worked with you on some projects. Students should ideally pick someone for whom they have worked for certain project.
Q. Which aspects should be highlighted in the statement of purpose?
Iqra Khan: In a statement of purpose, the student should highlight their purpose behind choosing a particular course. Apart from that, talk about your academic journey, projects, assignments, internships etc. any interesting thing you have done academically. Connect every point to your career goals, like how you are taking steps to reach your ultimate aim.
Talk about the country and university as well. What makes you want to pursue your higher education from that particular university and country? How will that help achieve your career goals? All these questions need to be addressed in a way which highlights your achievements.
Q. Which documents are required to apply to a foreign university?
Iqra Khan: Every university application should include a filled in application form (usually online), school transcripts, test scores, academic CV, statement of purpose, recommendation letters – one from a subject teacher and another from school counsellor, passport (as ID proof), a portfolio if you are applying for an art/design course.
Q. What was your approach to the statement of purpose and letters of recommendation during your application stage?
Vaibhav Chitkara: For an undergraduate application, a statement of purpose has lesser significance as it has for a post-graduate application. You need to talk about the things you have done in the field of academics and extra-curricular activities. Focus on clubs you joined, volunteering experience along with what you achieved in studies. Talk about your goals, what motivates you, and discuss these in relevance to the recent activities you have done. So, you need to really elaborate on what your academic interests are because, in the end, they are looking to get an idea about why you want to come to the country, that university and specifically that university.
For letter of recommendation, you don’t need to worry about them as students don’t write those. You need to get in touch with your teacher who knows what you have done academically and outside of the academics. S/he should be a good judge of your character and mention all that in the letter of recommendation.