This is my first shot at writing an SOP. I'm not sure if I hit all the necessary points or not, but hopefully someone can give me some insight or point me in the right direction.
Thanks a ton in advance!
If there is one thing I am certain, it is that I thrive while I am learning and being challenged. I discovered this about myself at a young age while in Boy Scouts. On one occasion, our camp counselor presented myself and a few of my friends with four logs, a pile of rope and a river bed. Our task was to cross the river, but we were required to do so while wearing our backpacks. The idea of living with a backpack filled with wet clothes for the rest of the week seemed less than pleasant. Hence, it would be an understatement to say that I was motivated to get this one right. But the fear of spending six days with river-soaked clothes was not what finally got my friends and I across the river safe and dry. I saw an opportunity to find a solution to what seemed an impossible problem, and through teamwork and innovative thinking, we all slept comfortably for the rest of our stay.
The challenge I faced then is the same challenge faced by many engineers today: solve "impossible" tasks using creative thinking and teamwork (and not end up neck deep). But as our world continues to evolve, so does the requirement for engineers to spread their knowledge and understanding to other areas of technology. This is why I feel well positioned for a future in engineering. In December of 2004, I graduated from [OTHER UNIVERSITY] with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Since then, I have been working as a software engineer, gathering skills in a variety of applications and putting my core problem-solving skills to great use. Although my recent professional experience has been outside of my formal education, it has opened my eyes to a new side of technology and given me new opportunities to grow as an engineer.
I am interested in extending my education in mechanical engineering for a few reasons. First, it is a natural extension of my undergraduate work, further building on a foundation already laid. Secondly, I have a natural passion for hands-on work and creating real, tangible systems. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than looking at a finished product and knowing it was I that helped create it. Lastly, I hope to find a purposeful way to pair my experience and education together. Everyday, more and more technology is developed that relies on a healthy balance between hardware and software. Examples of this can be seen in many places and even cover the spectrum from remotely controlled military drones to flatulence-sensitive office chairs that tweet their activity. The bottom line is this: communication is important and engineers are more powerful when they understand it's applications (humor not excluded).
[DESIRED UNIVERSITY] offers much reward to its students and I would be privileged to attend as a graduate student in your School of Engineering & Applied Science. Having previously spent time as a graduate student in your Computer Science department, I recognize the vast amount of resource and knowledge available to students of all backgrounds. The part-time option for graduate students is also very attractive as it allows me the flexibility needed to maintain my most important roles in life as a father and husband. Please consider me for enrollment to the Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering program. With this degree, I look forward to opening new doors and facing new challenges.
If there is one
thing fact of which I am certain, it is that I thrive while I am learning and being challenged. ---I made a small change to this sentence, but actually I still don't like it. Everyone thrives while being challenged. It is not very interesting!
I am interested in extending my education in mechanical engineering for a few reasons. ----Here is another uninteresting sentence. You need to begin each paragraph with a powerful sentence that expresses an awesome idea. :-)
Use a comma: The bottom line is this: communication is important, and engineers are ...
With this degree, I look forward to opening new doors and facing new challenges.----Nice! It is still vague, though. If you just write about challenges, it seems like you have no goals, no plan. I think you should write about particular kinds of challenges associated with your unique goals.