Abroad


How to write SOP and LR for Study abroad programmes

Dr.T.P.Sethumadhavan

Overseas education needs one year strategic planning and evaluation. Then only easy access to foreign universities will materialize. Minimum one-year preparatory time is needed for fulfilling the envisaged goals. In American, Canadian and European universities academic year will start from October onwards. Even though some of the universities admit students for the winter semester during February, Indian students prefer to join during the pleasant spring season.

Statement of Purpose (SOP)
Statement of purpose is one of the essential components of application procedure for getting admission in a foreign University. It basically consists of your personal details, factors that have defined your career path so far and what interests you professionally and what are your future plans.
A few important points that you must bear in mind while writing your SOP are:
It is suggested that SOP should reflect your confidence, motivation and ability to successfully pursue the intended course of study.
When a University/Institute asks you a particular question, you should not reply in a hurry but analyze the question carefully and reply to all aspects of the question.

Letters of recommendation (LR)
This forms one of the crucial parts of your admission procedure in a foreign university. Based on these, the university authorities are able to assess your credentials independently. Before approaching someone for a Recommendation Letter, ensure that the recommending person is one with high professional standing and by virtue of knowing both you and your career plans; can recommend your application. Moreover, your Recommendation letter must spell out the positive attributes in you.

  • If you have graduated from a deemed university, you should send official documents clarifying the status of the university to the foreign university where you apply.
  • Generally those passing their qualifying examination through distance education mode institutions are not considered at par with full-time programmes but recently some selected universities have began to accept students passing from distance education institutions.
  • If you have acquired a degree of a foreign university, in India, duly recognized by the United States accreditation board, it is considered at par with those offered to regular students in the US.
  • Universities in the US consider degrees accredited and recognized by the Indian government. Therefore, the fact should be made clear in your application.
  • In case, there has been a change in the name of the university from which you have passed your qualifying exam, you should submit necessary documents like a copy of the prospectus or a letter from the Registrar of the University or indicate a website with the changed name.

Calendar of activities
During September, the student has to decide the area in which he is interested to pursue the higher studies and collect information about the universities. Shortlist his choices. Register and apply for qualifying examination and admission requirements like TOEFL/IELTS, GRE/ GMAT, CGFNS, etc. Check the websites of the selected universities and download the application form during October. Collect detailed information including list of relevant deadlines.
During November after carefully reading the instructions, fill up the application form and send it via e-mail to the Professor of the concerned department. Application form must be complete in all aspects. It must be send along with structured curriculum vitae and Statement of purpose. Contact the universities for ensuring the receipt of the filled in application form during December. Collect details about the financial aids like Scholarships/Fellowships, etc during January and the deadlines are mostly 31st January. During February follow up the application and reply promptly. Never send a reply without considering the envisaged objectives. Sometimes you will get admission during February itself.
From March to June ensure whether the qualifying examination scores have reached the universities of your choice. Patiently wait for the admission decision from the respective universities. You can contact the Indian students of your university of choice and try to apply for residence near the campus. Admission offer will reach you during June- July months. During that period you can arrange the needed documents for visa interview and travel plans. Complete the visa formalities including interview during August it self. During September you can leave the country for foreign education.
 

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