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'Strong Academics' - Graduate SOP for Electrical Engineering


kadampoo 1 / 4  
Dec 15, 2011   #1
I was in 4th grade when I first looked through a kaleidoscope. Peering into the eye piece, I could see beautiful colours twirling inside the cylinder. The rich patterns enthralled me. It felt like magic in a tube. The kaleidoscope awakened a fascination for light in me. Little did I know that this childhood fascination would become my area of specialization. Pursuit of knowledge has always been the thrusting force behind all of my achievements. My decision to study beyond an undergraduate degree study springs from my ultimate objective of becoming a professor. I wish to pursue my Masters at XXX's Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate program with a specialisation in Applied Optics and Photonics because of the multitude of interesting research areas and quality of the academic program.

Academics have always been my strong-hold. From kindergarten to the tenth grade, I studied in XXXX graduating highest in my school. Inspired by how the advances in the field of communication had radically changed the modern world, I took up Electronics and Communication at XXX. During my undergraduate studies, I acquired a comprehensive knowledge of the diverse fields of electronics and its applications in communication. I was granted a 50% scholarship by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for all four years as I was among the top 11% of the girls.

Academic setbacks have always propelled me to work harder in order to achieve excellent results. In the third semester, I found the subject Electromagnetic Waves very tough and failed to grasp even the most basic concepts. I, consequently, did very poorly in this subject. I can never forget the disappointment after looking at my grade card. However, this did not discourage me. I started this subject from scratch in my free time and obtained a clear understanding of the basics. Subsequently, I studied more subjects related to fields such as Antennas and Microwaves. I received good grades in both the subjects. Thus, electromagnetic fields became my area of interest. But the subject that fascinated me the most was Optical Fibre Communication. This subject has given me a comprehensive qualitative understanding of optical principles backed with the mathematics to quantify this understanding. I was one of the top students in this course, and I can confidently assert that I have turned my weakness into strength.

I have always adopted an analytical approach in order to attain an in-depth understanding of the subject and its concepts. I believe this is very much essential to pursue a career in academia. I have actively participated in various technical workshops such as PCB Design, Line Follower Robot, etc. to reinforce the theoretical knowledge I gained. I interned at Honeywell Technology Solutions, Bangalore during my summer vacation. I worked on their security device Armor100 to localise it to Hindi. The objective of this project was to support Hindi interface to empower the Indian users to make full use of all the facilities offered by the device. The major components included Atmega32L microcontroller, a dot-matrix LCD and a matrix keypad. Interfacing was done through the SPI port. The keypad provided text entry in Hindi, and the LCD displayed Hindi content with good resolution. This was my first industry exposure, and the successful completion of the project was a matter of immense pride to me. As a part of the curriculum, I undertook a project on a metro rail prototype. The core of the project was an 8051 microcontroller with LCD and Buzzer interfacing. The objective of this project was to emulate a driverless metro train. I completed another project in Digital Image processing which required me to implement segmentation algorithms to make an automatic vehicle number plate recognition software. I am an avid reader of a number of technical journals like Journal of Optics and Optics Letters. These publications being a repository of knowledge stimulate me to be better qualified for research and also keep me informed about the recent breakthroughs.

I have constantly endeavoured to involve myself in extracurricular activities. I spend my weekends at college volunteering with Voluntary Service Organisation (VSO). The VSO group visit orphanages and teach them to work with arts and crafts, and to dance. We also conduct cleaning campaigns and visit paediatric ward in the reputed XXX and entertain the sick children. Spending time with these kids made me realize that any contribution, no matter how small, is always appreciated. During my vacation, I volunteered with Lions Club over the period of three years. I have helped them organise blood donation camps, free eye surgery camps and also helped in creating mass awareness regarding eye donation. Community Work has taught me to be grateful for the everyday things that I often take for granted, and to strive for the things that I believe in. The experience and reward I have attained through work with the underprivileged, and with children in my community will allow me to contribute to similar programs in the XXX community.

I am greatly interested in the field of Near Field Optics and Nonlinear Optics. After completing my MS, I aim to continue my studies striving for a Doctoral degree as this will go a long way in preparing me to become a highly acclaimed professor. The cutting-edge research being undertaken in the research group Ultrafast and Nanoscale Optics Group under the guidance of Prof. XXX has fascinated me to a very great extent. This group best matches my research interests. XXX being among the best schools for Electrical Engineering would definitely provide me an academically stimulating environment along with top notch research facilities and infrastructure. Going through the graduate catalog for Masters in Electrical Engineering with a specialisation in Applied Optics and Photonics at XXX has left me impressed and substantiated my belief that your esteemed University is indeed the place to help me realize my goals. A career as an educator requires good communication skills, patience, the ability to think innovatively, hard work and strong motivation. I am confident that I possess these qualities, and that I will match the high standards set by XXX

dumi 1 / 6,928 1592  
Dec 15, 2011   #2
I was in the 4th grade when I first looked through a kaleidoscope. Peering into the eye piece, I could see beautiful colours twirling inside the cylinder. The rich patterns enthralled me. It felt like magic in a tube. The kaleidoscope awakened a fascination for the behaviour oflL ight (Capitalize light) in me. Little did I know that this childhood fascination would become my area of specialization. ----------- Very impressive entrance to your SOP. You've written it beautifully. I feel you should break here and go to your next para 'cause this one beautifully deals with how your love was formed for your area of specialization. So combining it with another idea may reduce its effect .

Pursuit of knowledge has always been the thrusting force behind all of my achievements. My decision to study beyond an undergraduate degree study springs from my ultimate objective of becoming a professor. I wish to pursue my Masters at XXX's Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate program with a specialisation in Applied Optics and Photonics because of the multitude of interesting research areas and quality of the academic program .----------- I feel this section should come much later in your SOP 'cause it deals with what you want to do in future and why you want to follow this course. I feel the arrangement would be better if you first talk about how your passion was formed, how you pursued your passion (supported with your acadamic achievements) and then where you want your passion to take you in future. .

Further I feel that you have been too descriptive with some of the sections of this essay and in my view, it is not really appropriate for a SOP. Anyways, .... your writing style is interesting and let me know if you need any help in improving this .
OP kadampoo 1 / 4  
Dec 15, 2011   #3
Thank you so much for your suggestions. I will surely move the later half of the 1st paragraph to the end. Which paragraphs do you think are very descriptive which may not be required for the SOP? I would require all your help in improving my SOP. I find it considerably weak.
dumi 1 / 6,928 1592  
Dec 17, 2011   #4
No dear... I dont say it's weak. Your writing skills are of high quality and therefore have a good potential to come out with a great SOP. Let's keep improving it;

I would suggest you to arrange your flow as I mentioned earlier: First how your passion developed, Second how you pursued it and Third what it do for you in the future. So keep the passion as your main theme and link everything into it. It would surely flow beautifully with a more emotional appealing to your SOP.

I think you've nicely tackled the first. To show them how you pursued your passion, I think you should combine your second, third, fourth and fifth paras together and present them in about three paras. I feel the second and third paras are pretty too descriptive and you should combine them together and make it one para. Try to drain the essence of them and put in words just as interesting as you did in your first para. Let me help you with this;


Academics have always been my strong-hold. From kindergarten to the tenth grade, I studied in XXXX graduating highest in my school. Inspired by how the advances in the field of communication had radically changed the modern world, I took up Electronics and Communication at XXX. During my undergraduate studies, I acquired a comprehensive knowledge of the diverse fields of electronics and its applications in communication. I was granted a 50% scholarship by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for all four years as I was among the top 11% of the girls.- ----------------------- You can easily get rid of the first three sentences which I have highlighted as they don't add much value to your SOP, in my opinion. The rest is ok... but i'd prefer if you could still trim it down a little bit. But don't forget to mention about the scholarship.

Academic setbacks have always propelled me to work harder in order to achieve excellent results. In the third semester, I found the subject Electromagnetic Waves very tough and failed to grasp even the most basic concepts. I, consequently, did very poorly in this subject. I can never forget the disappointment after looking at my grade card. However, this did not discourage me. I started this subject from scratch in my free time and obtained a clear understanding of the basics. Subsequently, I studied more subjects related to fields such as Antennas and Microwaves. I received good grades in both the subjects. Thus, electromagnetic fields became my area of interest. But the subject that fascinated me the most was Optical Fibre Communication. This subject has given me a comprehensive qualitative understanding of optical principles backed with the mathematics to quantify this understanding. I was one of the top students in this course, and I can confidently assert that I have turned my weakness into strength.--------------------in my view, the electromagnetic waves story is irrelevant. I know you brought it out to show that you would not be discouraged by setbacks and fight them out with hard work and commitment. But, it is not really necessary to say everything to them in such details here. You can briefly mention how you were able to turn your weak areas into high performing if you really wish.

I have always adopted an analytical approach in order to attain an in-depth understanding of the subject and its concepts. I believe this is very much essential to pursue a career in academia. I have actively participated in various technical workshops such as PCB Design, Line Follower Robot, etc. to reinforce the theoretical knowledge I gained. I interned at Honeywell Technology Solutions, Bangalore during my summer vacation. I worked on their security device Armor100 to localise it to Hindi. The objective of this project was to support Hindi interface to empower the Indian users to make full use of all the facilities offered by the device. The major components included Atmega32L microcontroller, a dot-matrix LCD and a matrix keypad. Interfacing was done through the SPI port. The keypad provided text entry in Hindi, and the LCD displayed Hindi content with good resolution. This was my first industry exposure, and the successful completion of the project was a matter of immense pride to me. As a part of the curriculum, I undertook a project on a metro rail prototype. The core of the project was an 8051 microcontroller with LCD and Buzzer interfacing. The objective of this project was to emulate a driverless metro train. I completed another project in Digital Image processing which required me to implement segmentation algorithms to make an automatic vehicle number plate recognition software. I am an avid reader of a number of technical journals like Journal of Optics and Optics Letters. These publications being a repository of knowledge stimulate me to be better qualified for research and also keep me informed about the recent breakthroughs. ------------------ I think you should leave this para intact. Everything said there seems important to me.

I have constantly endeavoured to involve myself in extracurricular activities. I spend my weekends at college volunteering with Voluntary Service Organisation (VSO). The VSO group visit orphanages and teach them to work with arts and crafts, and to dance. We also conduct cleaning campaigns and visit paediatric ward in the reputed XXX and entertain the sick children. Spending time with these kids made me realize that any contribution, no matter how small, is always appreciated. During my vacation, I volunteered with Lions Club over the period of three years. I have helped them organise blood donation camps, free eye surgery camps and also helped in creating mass awareness regarding eye donation. Community Work has taught me to be grateful for the everyday things that I often take for granted, and to strive for the things that I believe in. The experience and reward I have attained through work with the underprivileged, and with children in my community will allow me to contribute to similar programs in the XXX community.---------------- Wish you could say something at the beginning to link this exposure to theme "passion". Something like;

My serious involvement with extracurricular activities helped me build confidence to pursue my passion for ???????.... then support with what you did.
.

I must say, you display very high quality of English writing. If your flow is arranged with a little bit of trimming, this would be a great SOP. It's just not only your writing skills, you really possess lots of credentials to be a successful candidate for this course. Let me know if you need further feedback and I'm happy to help you with this SOP.

GOOD LUCK!!
OP kadampoo 1 / 4  
Dec 17, 2011   #5
You have been of immense help to me. All your comments have been very encouraging. Going to implement all your suggestions and post a new draft here :)
laalinibhogadi 1 / 7  
Dec 18, 2011   #6
The starting was a quite impressive one had it not been diluted with other ideas .the para [I have always adopted an analytical approach in order ...] is perfect and is quite inclusive.I think that you should lessen lines describing your setbacks as emphasis is needed but not detailing as it doesn't form the core of your sop.you have done simply super:)


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