The Department of English and Humanities (DEH) at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh organized a workshop on “Writing Statements of Purpose” at its permanent campus on August 8, 2023. The workshop was attended by the students of the following courses, ENG 413, ENG 498, and ENG 499, and the students of the Masters program. The session was facilitated by Dr. Sohana Manzoor, Associate Professor, DEH, ULAB.
Ms. Nadia Rahman, Assistant Professor, DEH, ULAB, inaugurated the workshop. She then handed the floor over to Ms. Manzoor, who started the session by addressing the type of attitude students should maintain to pursue their higher education abroad and the purpose of the Statements of Purpose (SOP), stressing on its impact on a student’s chances of success in entering their desired institutions.
As the session progressed, Dr. Manzoor informed the participants about the required documents besides the SOP needed for applications for higher studies, such as transcripts, results of standardized tests like IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT, CVs, writing samples, recommendation letters, etc. She then elaborated on the importance of these documents in creating a positive impression on the Graduate Admissions Board.
Afterwards, the facilitator discussed her own experiences before and after going through the process, and addressed the myths that often arise as an individual prepares for this new overseas journey. Dr. Manzoor placed special focus on students' concerns about their academic results, emphasizing that a person's academic performance cannot influence the potential of the SOP. She commented that the quality of an SOP determines an applicant's likelihood of being accepted by the Graduate Board. Dr. Manzoor also noted that when writing their SOPs, individuals can choose between an "academic" or a "creative" structure. However, regardless of the style chosen, they should be attentive to the quality and quantity of information provided in the SOPs. This factor further defines the approach a candidate should take when composing it.
At the end of the session, Dr. Manzoor suggested creating and maintaining connections with their faculty members, as well as creating contacts with the directors of the concerned institutions. She suggested the latter so that students can inquire about any information related to the institution that may help them develop their SOPs. She also advised students to select their destinations before proceeding to choose the universities, and gain an understanding of the program they are interested in, as prior knowledge would help the students plan and structure the content in their SOPs accordingly. Dr. Manzoor emphasized handling their confidential documents discreetly in order to avoid possible mishaps. The session ended with a round of questions-and-answers, and some affirmations from Dr. Manzoor.
Report by Sumaiya Swati Udita (193013047)