On November 30, 2023, the Department of English and Humanities at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), arranged an online workshop on “Writing Statements of Purpose.” The workshop was organized for the students of ENG 498, 499, and 413, who are in their final semester in Fall 2023. The workshop was facilitated by Associate Professor Dr. Sohana Manzoor to teach the students about the steps and elements of writing Statements of Purpose (SoPs), and how it is beneficial for students who wish to pursue higher education in national and international institutions. The workshop is part of a series of mandatory workshops designed to guide final term students in their pursuit of jobs and higher studies.
Dr. Manzoor began the workshop by talking about the crucial steps of the application process for higher studies, and how the SOP is a core element of it. She listed the requirements for graduate studies applications, which include transcripts, standardized tests (IELTS, TOEFL, GRE/GMAT), writing samples, statements of purpose, CVs, and recommendation letters. She discussed every element in detail, emphasizing how they each differ from each other, what importance they hold, and how each should be written or collected. She offered an overview of fellowships and scholarships, discussing the differences and advantages. Further explanations were focused on SoPs, where important points were discussed.
Dr. Manzoor, elaborated on browsing through university websites regarding programs, requirements, and funding opportunities, and to look for prospective supervisors before applying. She additionally gave a detailed insight into the components of writing an SoP, where she discussed every aspect with examples. She even mentioned the process and what the graduate committee looks for when assessing an SoP and application from a student. She emphasized on writing a concise SoP within 1-2 pages, single-spaced, by giving an introduction, summarizing student achievements, discussing the relevance of recent activities, and elaborating on academic plans. She suggested writing with brevity and to maintain approximately 500 to 800 words. She also showed two well-written SOPs as samples, pointing out the key features in every paragraph.
Lastly, Dr. Manzoor talked about staying motivated and not stopping the application process after rejection, for there can be several reasons for refusal and it is better to keep applying to other places. The workshop concluded with a question and answer session.
Report by Shanjida Nusrath Ali (201013093)