When it comes to writing a statement of purpose, you have to be aware of the tense you are writing in. This type of writing is like storytelling but in a professional manner. You want to explain what you have achieved, who you are right now and what the future holds. This can make it confusing when you decide on which tense to use. It is important to remember that there does not need to be just one tense, but there still needs to be controlled.
There are a lot of rules with sop writing. When you do not follow the structure and the rules, you might be viewed as unprepared. This is not a good sign to the board of the institute you would like to be accepted at. The main idea behind tense control is to take the reader on a journey. With a statement of purpose, this simply means the journey your life has taken. Be aware of where you are on this journey while writing. This will make it easier to keep your tenses in order. Here are some other ways you can make sure you keep your tenses in control.
You are an author
At this moment, this is you telling your story and you want to make sure that it comes across that way. Think of yourself as an author and see this statement of purpose as the book you are working on. If an event has already happened, you cannot write it as if it is happening now. That would be confusing to the reader. When you are aware of this, it becomes much easier to take a step back and correct any errors.
Create a plan
If the idea of having to figure out the sop format for MBA and having to check for grammar mistakes is too much, create a plan. Think about all the achievements and failures you would like to write about in your sop. Break that list up into past, present and future events. Start with what has already happened and write it in the past tense. The same applies to the other tenses. It is so much easier to work off a list than to just wing the whole thing. It keeps you focused and allows you to switch at the right moment.
Say it out loud
Read your statement of purpose out loud, even if that means you look a little crazy for a while. When you read it out loud, you can actually hear how it sounds. This will give you the opportunity to check out for mistakes. Simply reading it silently won’t have the same effect. You can even do this with a friend present to help pick up for any tense jumping. It’s a great way to pick up some other little mistakes as well.
Put yourself in the reader’s shoes
If you were the reader, would this entire piece of writing make sense to you? When you write a sop for MBA admission there really cannot be any mistakes. The stakes are too high and the competition as well. First, you want to make sure that your statement of purpose is inspiring and explains who you are as a person. Then you want to make sure that you explained why you are a good fit for this program. Above that, you want to check all spelling and grammar factors. When you mix up your tenses without doing it well, you can actually confuse the reader. This is obviously a no. If you feel that some parts of your SOP is confusing, rewrite those sections.
An SOP is an important essay you will be required to write when applying to an educational institute. There cannot be any errors unless you did so intentionally for a dramatic effect. It’s probably safer to leave the drama for some other writing. At the end of the day, once you have done your best, you need to submit your documents and hopefully, everything will work out. Most schools are not only looking for the best applications, but for individuals who would do well with the culture and such. Do not overthink anything after you have submitted. You’ve done your best and that is all that matters.
Eva Read is a professional writer and a content manager. She find inspiration in music, yoga and books. Her life motto is “Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”